New Career Services Director Emphasizes Job Readiness

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In today’s market, the average tenure in a job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is 18 months, while the average tenure in any one organization is three years.

That is why, according to Annette McLaughlin, newly appointed director of Fordham’s Office of Career Services, career preparedness is critical for today’s college students, and can start as early as freshman year.

“Preparation for the workplace changed significantly after the 2008 financial crisis,” said McLaughlin, who took over the role in July after serving as interim director since February. “The global workforce needs to understand they are going to work for 20-plus employers over the course of their careers, and they’ll be changing roles on an ongoing basis.”

McLaughlin brings an appreciation for both business and arts and sciences. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in health from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill with an emphasis on nutrition, and an MBA in Personnel and Employee Relations from Georgia State University’s Mack Robinson School of Business. She began her management career at Spherion, a global recruiting and consulting firm, where she rose to director of Global Accounts and Training and Development and partnership director for the Goldman Sachs account. She later worked as vice president of Talent-Coaching and Outplacement for The Response Companies recruitment firm.

Since February, McLaughlin has taken up several new initiatives:

  • increasing student engagement, with emphasis on reaching students beginning their freshman year;
  • expanding employer relations initiatives by increasing relationships with targeted employers in high demand fields;
  • reviewing industry trends and aligning programming to meet future world of work demands, particularly working with deans, faculty, and staff;
  • achieving a 95 to 100 percent knowledge rate of graduate outcomes, with an emphasis to create as many opportunities for our students

No stranger to the University, McLaughlin’s relationship with Fordham goes back a decade. She served as Fordham’s alumni career coach from 2008 to 2011, and has been a career adviser at the Gabelli School of Business since 2010.

“I see Fordham’s Career Services as the center of collaboration,” she said. “Our first line is students, but we have active partnerships with the alumni community, the Fordham Parent’s Leadership Council, the deans and faculty, and the marketplace, where we’re talking to employers daily.”

Today’s college graduates entering the job market need to be tech-savvy, have a global perspective, and possess skills needed for the growth industries—science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM), said McLaughlin.

“You have to add in the arts because the new world of work requires core competencies to be successful: communication, collaboration, problem solving, critical thinking, flexibility, and technology skills—all of which are the framework of our career planning model, Fordham Futures.”

For these reasons, McLaughlin said, a Fordham education serves job seekers well because these competencies are the foundation of a liberal arts education. Her office is working with deans and faculty to strategically align its efforts with the academic curriculum.

“A liberal arts background is so important, and too often it is missing from other schools and other graduates,” she said. “A Fordham education provides students the tools to articulate their value in the workplace and their career goals. Every organization is looking for candidates who can answer the question why they want to work for them.”

In addition, a Fordham degree brings the Fordham network. “Our alumni are uniquely generous with their time and talent, and [are] devoted to our students’ career success,” she said. “The Fordham brand is powerful.”

McLaughlin heads a department that serves more than 10,000 students and alumni annually. Fordham students have been hired by NBC Universal, Goldman Sachs, Teach for America, the Big 4 accounting firms, and many other industry leaders.

“We are excited to continue to serve the students, alumni and employers, and develop our services to meet the constantly changing needs.”

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