Career Consultation Day Provides Advice and Inspiration

Sophomore Sarah Gabrielli Learns More About Career Options

Wednesday, February 17th was Marist's Career Consultation Day for any student who signed up for an appointment with a potential employer. Representatives from twenty different companies spent the afternoon in work rooms in the library, where they met with interested students, including myself.

I signed up for a half hour time slot as soon as I heard about the opportunity to meet, and get advice from these professionals. The companies ranged from IBM to Target to the New York State Unified Court. Since I recently declared a Paralegal studies certificate, I made a reservation with the consultant from the Unified Court.

Most students attend this event for advice on their resumes and the careers that will work for them after graduation. In preparation, we simply had to print out a resume, and dress appropriately for the event. Dressed in my high heeled black boots and turtleneck sweater, I was a bit more casual than the suits that sat beside me in the waiting room. However, I had no reason to feel uncomfortable once Captain Alvin Benson, who goes by Al, called me warmly by name and welcomed me into the office. I could tell that he was genuinely there to help me.

Al Benson is a graduate of Columbia University and now works for the Dutchess County Courts. He has participated in career fairs at Marist for the past several years but got involved in this year’s career consultation day because it seemed new and different.

He started out by asking me about my interests. I explained my studies in journalism and law and interest in research. I wanted to figure out where I could professionally fit into the legal system, and he went on to help me understand my options. In response, he offered me information sheets, describing different roles in the courtroom, their duties, salary, benefits and training, which I got to take home for future reference.

He went on to explain how far my degree would take me and the difference between private and public employment. These are all things I definitely need to know as I plan for my future, even if my career path takes me outside of the New York State Unified Court System.  

Only after I had a newfound knowledge of the court system, did Captain Benson look down at my resume. He offered improvements and disclosed some of his own valuable insight into the application process.

“I personally don’t care where you worked or what you did,” he explains, “I want to know what you can do for me.” Benson probes, “what skill sets do you bring to the table that are unique enough for me to say, ‘wow, I can’t turn this lady away.’”

He also likes to see some unique things on a resume that may spark questions during the interview. If the resume already contains all that he needs to know, the applicant themselves will be forgettable.

The great thing about career consultations is that the professionals help students build a resume that is specific to their company. So, with Captain Benson’s advice, I feel I can confidently send my resume to the New York State Unified Courts.

At the end of the half hour, I had a chance to ask Al about his experience working with college students as a career consultant. “I hope to help them understand the process of going out for the first time to start a career,” he says. On a more personal level, “to help them feel a little more confident in themselves and what they have done.”

Luckily, Benson thinks that Marist has made the job pretty easy for him. He explained that the seniors he had talked to appeared “polished, refined, and ready for work.” He says that, in other words, “Marist did a good job of preparing these people to go out into the world.”

Though I am only a Sophomore, I walked out of career consultation day feeling a little more ready to take on the real world. I now have a polished resume, a list of careers to consider, and a better idea of real-world professionals, like Captain Al Benson.

 

Written by Sarah Gabrielli '18

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