Year after year, Binghamton University is ranked among the top universities for career placement and development. Binghamton graduates earn starting salaries more than $8,000 above the national average, find jobs at higher rates and are accepted into top graduate programs. This spring, space at the Job and Internship Fair sold out quickly as organizations raced for the opportunity to recruit Binghamton students.
“This speaks to the high caliber of our students and programs, but also to the tireless efforts of the career centers across campus,” said Kelli Smith, assistant vice president for student success.
Smith provides senior leadership for the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development. She also sits on the board of directors for the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), which “empowers and connects the community of professionals who support, develop and employ the college-educated workforce.” Last year she co-chaired a national task force on the Strategic Position of Career Services.
The Fleishman Career Center employs a dynamic network of opportunities and connections to support the career and personal growth of all Binghamton University students. Previously recognized as a National Career Development Association (NCDA) Exemplary Career Center, the center regularly receives international recognition for developing innovative and effective programs and techniques.
“These accolades underscore that our students have a world-class resource on campus to help them through every step of the job search process,” Smith said.
Identifying interests and career opportunities
Senior Maya Homa has made use of the Fleishman Career Center from the very beginning of her job search. She knew that she could apply for many different jobs with her psychology major, but having more options made narrowing down the job search that much more difficult. Homa met with Jordan Smith, a senior career consultant at the Fleishman Career Center, several times to establish a solid starting point. Jordan Smith uses assessments and other methods to connect students’ strengths and interests to potential careers.
He recommended the Focus 2 assessment to Homa, and with his help, she connected her passion for mental health, previous experiences and academic major to careers in mental health education. Homa has since worked on her résumé, cover letter and LinkedIn profile to establish herself as a strong candidate in this field and has several interviews lined up for full-time positions.
“I’ve used all of the Fleishman Career Center’s resources,” she said. “They have given me so much confidence in my career path focus and job outlook.”
Similarly, Kyla Anderson ’22 used the Fleishman Career Center’s resources to find a field that matched her personal interests. Passionate about giving back to her community, she considered pursuing a career in law or public interest. She enrolled in the Jewish Foundation for Education of Women (JFEW) Global Affairs program managed by the Fleishman Career Center and talked with career consultant Jessica Lane-Rwabukwisi about her interests. Lane-Rwabukwisi suggested she join the Government, Policy and Law career cluster operated by the Fleishman Career Center as well as a listserv that exposed her to political careers and opportunities in Washington, D.C. Anderson then received weekly content and job postings related to her career interests. Fast forward to a few years later, and she now works as a staff assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Anderson’s career success was the result of hard work and taking full advantage of the resources offered to her. Fleishman staff also checked in with her regularly to make sure she had sufficient support every step of the way.
“I had the career consultants look over my resume so many times,” she recalled. “And I also used Big Interview to help her prepare for all of my interviews.”
Big Interview, an online interview practice software that contains sample questions and an AI feedback tool, is one of the many digital resources the Fleishman Center sponsors. The Fleishman Career Center website provides students with access to a full library of resources that can support them through every aspect of the job search. Practicing industry-specific questions through Big Interview helped Anderson prepare for the grueling government interview process.
Individualized career support
The individualized support offered by the career consultants is often cited as the most helpful service that the Fleishman Career Center offers. Even when students arrive knowing exactly what opportunities they want to pursue, the job search process can seem long and daunting. Career consultants use their knowledge to support students.
“Having someone to talk to about your job search makes everything make more sense,” said Danielle Monteferrante ’22, who is currently pursuing her Master of Public Administration. “The career consultants help you get started and break everything down into smaller, more manageable pieces.”
Monteferrante has frequented the Fleishman Career Center since she began her job search, making several appointments and utilizing online resources such as the Career Guide, résumé templates and cover letter examples. She developed a job search strategy that includes regularly scheduled meetings with a career consultant to help her set goals and give her the push she needs to hit them. She also gets advice to help her take her applications to the next level, like how to tailor her cover letters to each job description.
Brielle Neumann ’22 credits the Fleishman Career Center with helping her land her current position as an associate district manager at ADP, a global provider of cloud-based human capital management solutions. She used the career center for just about everything in her job search, from learning how to use the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) to narrow down her search, to submitting the best possible applications to every position she applied to, to navigating the job offer negotiation process.
“The Fleishman Career Center staff taught me so much about job offer negotiations,” she said. “They taught me what phrases to say, how to show the employer that you have done your research and how to communicate that you know what you deserve.”
Neumann said she picked up so much information from the career center that her friends now come to her when they need career advice.
Alumni can also use the career center to its full capacity, including scheduling appointments with career consultants, for up to six months after their graduation. This policy allows seniors who are still searching for a job at graduation to continue to receive support and career resources to help them be successful.
“Our students are top-notch and a joy to help. I could not be prouder of the team members and work of the Fleishman Career Center,” Kelli Smith said. “The staff is wholly committed to supporting our students at whatever developmental stage they are in to empower them; tap their curiosity; help them take informed, actionable steps to clarify their purpose; and connect them to dedicated alumni and professionals who can help them realize their career goals and dreams.”
Foundational career education for continuing success
Once students are hired into their first jobs, their career development is far from over. The Fleishman Career Center’s model is to provide a strong foundation that students can continue to build upon and that will help them keep advancing in their professional lives.
Josh Goldberg ’18 has climbed professionally since his time as a Binghamton University student and currently works as a senior business intelligence analyst at Twill, a company that creates digital platforms for therapy and mental and physical health care delivery. However, still early in his career, he plans to eventually shift in a direction that will combine his passions for sports and analytics. Goldberg is confident he can create that path for himself and credits the Fleishman Career Center with introducing him to strategic concepts on how to map out his career.
“Consultants helped me with my career focus and encouraged me to think of my career as steps in a process,” he said. “They taught me to make every decision by thinking about where I want to be at my peak and then working backward.”
Since graduating, he now has a long list of career best practices to help him be successful and progress toward where he wants to go. He is tracking his projects, documenting details about all the work he does, focusing on his professional development and growth, and building strong professional relationships.
“The hidden job market is huge. Professional relationships are pivotal, and everyone should always be looking for referrals when they can,” he said.
Anderson can attest to this as well. “If you want to stay on Capitol Hill, you need to be networking,” she remarked. “It can be nerve-wracking, but you need to learn everything you can and get advice from others.”
Anderson learned about the value of networking from the career center where staff members taught her networking basics and gave her the confidence and opportunity to start building her network. Now she keeps a spreadsheet to organize her contacts, track conversations and manage follow-ups.
The Fleishman Career Center also partners with other campus offices to develop programming and resources to make Binghamton students more career-ready. The CONNECT program, for example, is a collaboration with the Alumni Association that takes students to destination cities across the United States and connects them with notable employers, professionals and Binghamton alumni in the area. Students learn more about career paths at organizations of interest and connect directly with professionals. This year, students traveled to New York City, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Silicon Valley.
Kelli Smith is passionate about the function of the career center to connect students with career opportunities, but also to develop innovative and strategic ways to teach them career-ready skills and prepare them for the working world.
“I regularly interact with leaders in this space from around the globe, and it is rare that an innovation is shared and we have not already been doing at Binghamton — sometimes for years. We are fortunate Binghamton has invested in career services so that we can be so cutting-edge.”