Business B2B ID: Colleen DelVecchio
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NAME: Colleen DelVecchio
JOB TITLE, COMPANY: Associate director of alumnae engagement, Smith College, Northampton
WHAT YOU DO: I work with Smith College alumnae on their professional development and career choices. Half my time is spent working with alumnae who are looking to make a radical career change. I help them figure out new career paths, decide on an entrepreneurship venture, go back to work after time off, work on an encore career or simply figure out what type of job they will find fulfilling and love. The other half of my time is spent delivering workshops and webinars to Smith alumnae around the world.
EXPERIENCE: I have been in the career development field since 1992, and at Smith College in this role since 2010. My bachelor’s degree is in psychology, and, during my undergraduate years, I was extremely lucky to work with a sports psychologist who had a specialty area of working with professional athletes with career-ending injuries. That led me to a desire to help people find a career that they will love. I am currently working on my master’s in nonprofit management at Bay Path College.
THE MARKET: The good news is that the unemployment rate for Massachusetts in June is 7 percent and for the entire country is 7.6 percent (Bureau of Labor Statistics). The good news for college graduates is that the unemployment rate for college graduates with a bachelor’s degree is only 4.5 percent and that drops to 3.5 percent with a master’s degree (http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm). There are jobs out there now, but the rules have changed about how you find them. If the last time you looked for a job was 10, 15 or 20 years ago, then you need to update your job search skills and materials.
HOW YOU REACH OUT TO IT: Smith alumnae from around the world reach out to me for help. I have been lucky that I do not need to market my services, as so many people need what I have to offer.
KEY TO SUCCESS: There are a few keys to success for me. First is to stay abreast of the jobs market and how companies want to hear from job-seekers. This changes constantly, so keeping in touch with hiring managers in all fields is key for me. Second is to help job-seekers know and articulate what their skills, strengths and talents are. So many people have a hard time talking about their skills, and, if you cannot sell yourself on an interview, someone else will get the job. Third, I truly believe that there is a job for everyone and that we all need to find a job that we love. Life is too short to spend 40-plus hours a week doing something that does not make you happy.
CHALLENGES: Searching for a job is a hard process and takes time. It can also be a very emotional journey for many people. So one of my biggest challenges is getting job-seekers to see that the process is valuable and to have hope that the right job will eventually come along.
WHAT OTHERS COULD LEARN FROM YOU: How to find a career that you love and can be successful in.
TOP GOALS FOR 2013: For 2013 I want to put together more resources for women who are returning to the workforce after taking a break to raise their children as well as resources for women who want to be entrepreneurs.
ADVICE FOR OTHERS SEEKING BUSINESS SUCCESS: Do what you love. Do not settle for a life where you work 40-plus hours a week at something you are miserable doing. And if you cannot do what you really love for work because you need more money than it pays, or need health insurance, or there are no jobs in that field, figure out how to be happy at the job you have and incorporate what you love doing into it.
PARTING THOUGHT: Believe that you deserve to be happy at work!
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