Sophomore Bootcamp 2023: Fundamental Coaching for Getting That First Nice Job

Sophomore Bootcamp 2023: Fundamental Coaching for Getting That First Nice Job

Discovering a job—particularly that first one—is a job in itself, one which requires particular expertise. That is what Sophomore Bootcamp is all about.

For 3 days in January, the sophomore class—all 500 of them—returned to campus a bit of sooner than different college students to partake in Profession Exploration and Improvement’s (CXD) Sophomore Bootcamp. 

Supplied for your complete sophomore class, it’s the solely program of its measurement and scale with complete profession schooling constructed into the educational calendar proper together with first-year orientation, spring break, and Graduation.

Because the title suggests, it’s intense. From 9 to 5 every day, college students study, workshop, and drill the abilities they’ll have to enter the work power. They study to compose compelling résumés and canopy letters and interview engagingly.

Additionally they study to leverage the ability of the alumni community. CXD matches every sophomore with two alumni to begin connections, if solely in follow, towards networking conversations.

With the continued assist of CXD—and the alumni community—these sophomores emerge well-equipped to make use of what they’ve realized right here to land the type of internships and first-job experiences that can catapult them into profitable careers of significant work.

Job-Looking for Expertise: Gaining Competence, Confidence, and a Group

Bootcamp takes place at a essential juncture in a sophomore’s life, between the autumn and spring semesters, when many are fascinated about what to do throughout the upcoming summer time (some with anticipation, some with paralysis). 

Irrespective of the place college students are in that course of—from overwhelmed with no résumé to polished résumé in hand and a scheduled interview—the three-day profession coaching program is designed to supply each participant with a lift.

For Mira Pickus ’25, Bootcamp got here at an opportune second. She’s in the midst of making use of for summertime positions in analysis labs. “It is extremely useful to have dozens of insightful individuals studying and evaluating my résumé,” she mentioned. Résumé workshops and evaluations are constructed into Bootcamp’s schedule. “And it is also useful to know what to incorporate in cowl letters,” she added.  

Graham Harris ’25 mentioned Bootcamp had served as a little bit of a wake-up name. “It is a great way to seek out out what it’s worthwhile to work on,” he mentioned.

Bootcamp’s mission is to impart each tangible, sensible know-how in addition to to persuade college students their goals are in attain. “We hope each pupil leaves extra assured about what they will pursue,”mentioned Bethany Walsh, CXD’s senior affiliate director and advisor. “It is actually vital to us that each pupil is aware of leverage this wonderful Bowdoin schooling they’re getting in the best way they wish to.”

Bootcamp delivers on this promise by guiding college students by each step of the job-seeking course of, even referring to the nuances that include totally different industries, equivalent to finance, expertise, and federal authorities. 

“Bootcamp is centered round core expertise that you’re going to use time and again in your profession, it doesn’t matter what you pursue,” Walsh mentioned. “We educate you greatest practices and we offer you an opportunity to make use of it. You are going to sit down and make a résumé. You are going to draft a canopy letter. You are going to follow interview questions. We give college students an opportunity to follow this stuff in a very low-stakes atmosphere to allow them to really feel extra assured after they do the actual factor.”

Lori Hashashian ’25 mentioned she had discovered the expertise of Bootcamp midway by it to be “de-stressing.” “It’s hectic considering of jobs and careers and internships,” she mentioned. “Bootcamp does job of constructing all of it appear accessible.”

On day one among Bootcamp, after listening to a welcome speech from CXD government director Kristin Brennan, college students broke into their preassigned small groups—every led by a educated upperclass mentor. They dove into the first step: growing a private elevator pitch. These concise introductions, just some sentences lengthy, describe one’s pursuits and aspirations.

And, as college students go on to study, elevator pitches can type the premise of LinkedIn profiles, cowl letters, résumés, and opening solutions in a job interview. (All these expertise are lined in different classes.)

Earlier than launching the elevator pitch workshop along with her group of six sophomores, group chief Sophie Lisle ’23 took a second to induce all of them to take in all the teachings of Bootcamp. “I take advantage of all the abilities I realized each time I apply for a job,” she mentioned, which is usually as of late as she prepares to graduate in Might. “We’re all on this collectively.”

Certainly, all through Bootcamp, group leaders and profession advisors inspired sophomores to ask for assist—to hunt out the CXD workplace and arrange conferences with workers or peer mentors at any level, to go over functions or simply to ask questions.

“I hope, on the core, college students know there’s an workplace and an entire physique of alumni that actually care so much about them and are right here to assist,” Walsh mentioned. “There’s an entire neighborhood right here that may assist. I feel that is an important factor.”

The Energy of the Community

The power of the alumni community is to not be underestimated, mentioned CXD government director Kristin Brennan. “At this yr’s Bootcamp we had almost 500 alumni supply their companies, enabling college students to participate in some 1,000 calls to assist them hone their networking expertise.”

The Bowdoin alumni community is greater than it’s ever been and simply retains rising, added Brennan. “In case you do a seek for Bowdoin graduates on Linkedin, for instance, about 18,000 names come up. There are additionally 8,700 members of the Bowdoin Profession Advisory Community (or BCAN), on LinkedIn, which connects college students with alumni, pals, and household of Bowdoin, so there was no problem discovering keen individuals for Bootcamp this yr, and we’re grateful for that.”

The occasion really kicked off every week earlier than the official begin date, when college students, having accomplished a survey about their pursuits, have been paired with appropriate graduates. “We’d have an alum who works in media but additionally has a background in nonprofits and a pupil who shares these pursuits. We introduce them they usually do the remainder,” Brennan mentioned.

Bowdoin’s New Networking Checklist

Bowdoin alumni who’re curious about serving to college students community of their area or who’re keen to help with follow interviews can add their title to the Bowdoin Networking Checklist. This record is on the market solely to college students, who can search by trade, class yr, and extracurricular curiosity to seek out connections.

For Shayla Pham ’25, who’s contemplating majoring in economics and environmental research, these calls have been her first introduction to the ability of the alumni community. “I spoke with two alumni who have been fairly far aside in age—one graduated within the Seventies and the opposite in 2012—which actually confirmed me how expansive the community is.”

Mia Schiff ’25, a potential biology main and pc science minor, is within the public well being and analysis sectors. “I discovered an attention-grabbing small firm the place I wished to intern and situated an alumna who works there. I reached out, and he or she couldn’t have been nicer. We had a forty-minute Zoom name and now she’s giving me a referral. It isn’t like I knew her in any respect—the connection was simply the Bowdoin household!”

“My alumni contact is basically nice,” mentioned Mira Pickus ’25, speaking about Philip Boulter ‘62. “I made a brand new greatest buddy! He’s had an inspirational profession in well being care, he’s actually type, and he invited me to name him if I ever had a query.”

“Bowdoin is a very spectacularly wonderful place due to the alumni.”

—Bethany Walsh, CXD senior affiliate director and advisor

“Nearly each job I’ve had since Faculty has been linked to a Bowdoin connection in a technique or one other,” mentioned Joseph Adu ‘07, who has spent most of his profession constructing expertise startups and is now head of engineering at SpectrumAi, a Boston-area tech agency. “Now I’m on my sixth job, and I really feel like I’m paying it ahead,” mentioned Adu, one among a handful of Bowdoin graduates to talk in an alumni panel at Pickard Theater on January nineteenth. “I wish to share what I’ve realized.”

When college students are first launched to the thought of networking, one of many issues that Brennan and her colleagues at CXD must do is reframe the idea. “If you ask a pupil what networking is, you get a blended bag of responses, some optimistic, some impartial, and a few anxiety-provoking,” she mentioned. “Typically it causes college students to wrestle with the privilege, the guilt, of belonging to a neighborhood like Bowdoin. However, it’s vital to do not forget that individuals rent individuals and other people join with individuals—it is a very human endeavor. So, a part of the problem is determining a means for the scholars to community that feels genuine to them and to know they’ll get to pay it ahead sooner or later, too.”

It is a level echoed by Genevieve Leslie ’07, affiliate director of growth at The Nature Conservancy, who was manning a sales space on the Profession Carnival in Lancaster Lounge. “I’ve used the Bowdoin connection many instances, and the factor to recollect is that whereas it doesn’t safe you a job, it may very well be the one factor that makes somebody take a second from their busy schedule to select up the telephone or open an e-mail.”

Profession Knowledge from Consultants

Making Profession Selections

A liberal arts schooling is supposed to arrange you to face the mental problem of just about any profession, however how do you go about deciding which one is for you? How do you steadiness job satisfaction—and heeding your ethical compass—with the necessity to earn wage and supply for a household as you become older? When you’ve got a profession in thoughts, how do you go about getting related expertise?

A student ponders which career values he prizes most.

Sophomores participated in self-reflection workouts to mull over what careers make most sense to them primarily based on their pursuits, values, and aspirations.

“There’s this large menu of issues you’ll be able to pursue, and it’s worthwhile to make good decisions for your self,” Walsh mentioned. “Loads of college students include kind of a restricted thought of what is on the market. And for lots of our college students at the present time, they will be touchdown jobs that did not exist after they began faculty!”

To assist with intentional decision-making, CXD weaves into Bootcamp many alternatives for sophomores to start tapping into the numerous alternatives open to them—from funded internships to certification programs to jobs.

A number of Bootcamp classes are additionally designed to encourage college students to mirror on their private pursuits and values, after which to make connections between these and their aspirations and potential careers. “Profession consciousness begins with actually realizing your self,” Walsh mentioned. “We spend quite a lot of time serving to college students establish what expertise they have already got or expertise they wish to develop. After which we discover what that tells them concerning the issues they wish to do after Bowdoin.” 

Brennan mentioned taking the primary steps towards discovering a profession can contain quite a lot of soul-searching for college kids. “Oftentimes they’ve chosen Bowdoin as a result of the dedication to the frequent good resonates for them they usually wish to change the world for the higher. However, on the similar time they’re wrestling with how they is perhaps compensated in several careers, and maintain themselves and their households, now or later.” 

A method the Bootcamp tries to assist, she explains, is by providing a session on private finance, “as a result of how a lot you’re going to make—and the way a lot it prices to assist your self, and the essential ideas of investing—don’t should be a thriller.”

Selecting a summer time internship or selecting that first job out of faculty—these really feel like momentous selections, and college students put quite a lot of stress on themselves to get them proper, Walsh mentioned. “So a part of what we attempt to do is give college students the competence to make these selections with extra self-knowledge. And we remind them that they’ve an extended profession trajectory. So getting that one explicit job shouldn’t be an important factor. It is actually about you determining what sort of life do you wish to reside?”

College students thought of which values have been most vital to them of their future careers.


Whether or not they’re at the moment making use of to full-time jobs or rising of their present roles, Bowdoin college students previous and current continuously point out that Sophomore Bootcamp helped them take their subsequent step.

“I actually loved [Bootcamp] as a result of I began fascinated about the place I wished to work,” mentioned Devin Torres ’21, who attended the profession pilot program in 2019 earlier than serving as a program chief the following two years. “I by no means had somebody to assist information me to consider that extra critically, so it was actually enjoyable, and likewise very useful.”

“I feel Sophomore Bootcamp gave me each the abilities and the push to begin interacting with the job market,” mentioned Annabel Winterberg ’21, who additionally attended the pilot program and at the moment works as a growth assistant for the Harvard College School of Arts and Sciences. “That is why I began making use of to internships, which then helped me get my first job. All of those experiences finally helped me find yourself the place I’m now.”

Though Sophomore Bootcamp is open to your complete sophomore class, alumni recall that this system felt private and individualized.

“Anybody may help you together with your résumé, cowl letter, and internship search, however I really feel like the purpose of Sophomore Bootcamp was to do far more than that,” Torres mentioned. “It was the power to consider your self holistically.”

College students like Tianyi Xu ’23 mentioned the chance to have informational interviews with alumni in his potential trade was particularly useful.

“I used to be shocked by how structured all the things was, particularly with how the careers of the people who I obtained related with have been so near my private pursuits,” mentioned Xu. “Down the road, as a senior, I notice that these are actually good individuals to have in your community.”

A number of upperclass college students agreed that interacting with the alumni community was some of the highly effective points of this system.

“The alumni I met gave insightful suggestions and genuinely cared about serving to me with my career-seeking course of,” mentioned Karis Treadwell ’23.

“[The alumni] have been all actually heat. All of them, with out exception, informed me, ‘Must you want something sooner or later, right here’s my WhatsApp and LinkedIn,’” Xu added. “These sorts of issues actually make it really feel like you’ll be able to rely on them and that you simply’re not imposing.”

Winterberg believed that she witnessed the payoff of the Faculty’s tight-knit alumni community when she secured her first postgraduate place.

“My first job proper out of faculty, I ended up working at a small museum in Harmony, Massachusetts,” Winterberg mentioned. “The director of that museum was wonderful to work with, and he occurred to be a Bowdoin alum. [The alumni network] is how I discovered it within the first place.”

For Torres, each attending Sophomore Bootcamp and dealing for it later revealed his skilled passions and helped lead him to his present place on the Data Is Energy Program (KIPP) Basis.

“I’m now really a school advisor, and I work with quite a lot of sophomore college students at numerous schools in upstate New York,” mentioned Torres. “Sophomore Bootcamp helped me determine what I used to be curious about: serving to and speaking with individuals. Having the chance to find that was actually useful in making the choice to change into a school advisor.”