This fall, the Office of Alumnae Engagement and Career Planning & Resources will partner for the return of Career Conversations, a webinar series designed to provide alums with professional career guidance. This session’s programming, which begins October 22 and runs through November 18, will offer alumnae tactical resources, skills, and strategies for navigating career transition in a new virtual normal, including a two-part session on interviewing. Session registration is now open.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Alumnae Engagement had planned to create additional programming to provide career support to alums. Then, pandemic-fueled economic uncertainty accelerated the process. “These sessions would be applicable outside of the pandemic, but they’re even more applicable within it,” said Jess Butler ’09, director of alumnae engagement.
The first Career Conversations series, which launched in the spring, featured four sessions, all of which were led by counselors from Career Journeys, the partner company with whom Scripps works to provide the Bridge Program for alumnae. Half of the programming focused on emotional intelligence and the psychological effects of navigating career issues during the pandemic, while the other half focused on concrete, tactical career strategies, such as résumé review. It was a successful debut: All four sessions reached registration capacity, with many participants attending the entire series.
The fall series will be comprised of five sessions, all of which will focus on more practical career advice, such as maximizing one’s LinkedIn profile, online networking, and practicing for interviews. Three of the five sessions will be led by Scripps staff and alumnae, including Butler, venture capitalist Sarah Hodges ’03, and CP&R Associate Director Valinda Lee.
“Through feedback on the first series, we learned that participants were most responsive to the tactical sessions, so we really focused on interviews for this series,” Butler said. The last three sessions will focus on interview preparation, personal branding, and interview practice, so that participants will have the chance to incorporate their personal brand into their interview practice. There will be ten slots available for active interview participation with live feedback, with unlimited spots available for anyone who wants to observe the process, although facilitators are requiring participants to enroll in the interview preparation session as a prerequisite for the interview practice session.
“We hope the flow of the series will be helpful in this climate, where people are navigating change, job transition, and even loss of employment,” said CP&R Director Rachael Acello. “Scripps alumnae have fantastic experience, but interviewing is a skill and it takes practice to tell those stories well. The interactive format of the interviewing workshop will enable many people to glean from the practice of our volunteers.”
All five sessions will be recorded and posted in Olive Grove, the College’s new networking platform for Scripps students, alumnae, and families. The goals for Olive Grove and Career Conversations overlap, Butler noted: to reach a broader Scripps audience and to add value to students’ and alumnae’s experience with the College. To this end, Olive Grove includes an alumnae referral platform for alum-to-alum recruiting, with a forthcoming feature where parents and alumnae can post paid, short-term, project-based work opportunities for current students.
“It was very important to us that Olive Grove should be about making connections beyond alumnae networking,” Butler said. “It has a lot of potential to build the Scripps community online, especially when we can’t build community on campus.”
The Office of Alumnae Engagement plans to continue the Career Conversations program in a webinar format, even after the Scripps community returns to campus. Butler envisions packaging sessions together in fall and spring series, adding more alumnae facilitators as the program becomes established.
“Despite how small the Scripps community is, it’s really powerful,” Butler said. “The strength of our community connections is incredible, especially the way that community members will go out of their way to support each other, and it’s been great to see that developing online as we reach people we wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach with on-campus events.”