Career Summit Prepares Students to Launch Big

‘Invest in yourself and begin now’ was the overarching message reiterated at the 2023 Career Summit. The event was sponsored by the Benedictine College Office of Alumni Relations & Career Services, which brought together outstanding alumni and students to provide numerous professional development opportunities. Students of every major and all class years listened to both young and seasoned alumni across various industries discuss valuable internship and job search experiences and opportunities.

Very well attended, there were over 140 students and 36 alumni representing 17 organizations registered for the Summit.

Helping put students in key career positions is a priority of the college’s Transforming Culture in America strategic plan.

“Transforming Culture in America will require leaders in the workplace and public life who inspire others to be committed to living the Gospel,” says the strategic plan’s “Profession” priority. “Benedictine College intends to advance its mission in every walk of life by providing internships, service and experiential learning opportunities, and career preparation based on its distinctive, mission-focused education, to place students in key positions when they graduate,” it continues.

Jennifer Dittemore, Director of Career Services, says the college takes that challenge very seriously, and has taken strong practical steps to make it happen.

“The Career Services Summit provides opportunities for students to learn best practices for networking, interviewing, and finding quality internships and jobs from Benedictine alumni,” she said. “Students are exposed to snapshots of the professional journeys many alums have traveled in their efforts to transform culture. In addition, networking opportunities facilitate mentorship between experienced alumni and current Ravens.”

The Summit schedule opened with a warm welcome from Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis who provided an informative overview of how Benedictine is transforming culture in America. The keynote speaker, John Monroe ’15, shared his hard-working educational and professional journey that eventually prepared him for his current position as Vice President of Government Affairs and Partner at 1861 Consulting.

“Meet alumni at every event you can attend, and practice getting comfortable meeting new people,” he said.

The college’s Transforming Culture in America plan’s stated goal is to “Advance the mission of Benedictine College by preparing our alumni for positions of influence in their careers, neighborhoods, families, and churches, where they can model community, faith, and scholarship.”

To make that happen, two members of the Student Alumni Board moderated a dynamic young alumni panel, which addressed questions from the Ravens about the concerns and processes relating to preparation for internships and work. Two alumni who work in human resources spoke about savvy skills for professional development, which included resume tips, how to be prepared for an interview, how to follow up after an interview, and what to do about social media.

“Do your homework,” recommended Monica Nelson ’18. “Know the ‘why’ to the company culture you want to work with before you interview.”

“Be that person who sends a hand-written thank you note after a meeting or interview,” said Cori Drouhard ’18, G ’20. “Find the people you want to connect with in the field and the location you want to work. Imagine if you can ask three people who know your interviewer to recommend  you, how much more you will stand out in the pile of many resumes.”

To that end, the Career Summit ended with a professional networking event that included refreshments and free professional headshots for use on LinkedIn, email, and career search activities.