“The issue facing a lot of recent graduates, especially
in communications, is the field has a need for a much
stronger internship background,” Alumni Sharing
Knowledge (ASK) mentor Sean
Koppelman ’90 said.
Koppelman, a communications major, is now the president
of his own company called the Talent Magnet, a recruiting
firm that places people in a variety of different careers
Working in the recruiting business has Koppelman reviewing
hundreds of résumés each week, many missing
the exact criteria that employers want to see.
According to Koppelman, internships are the first thing
that employers look for on a résumé. Because
of that, he feels that they are an area that the college
could afford to strengthen by securing them with more
prestigious and distinguished companies.
“If you’re going to do an internship, it
should be related to your major,” he said. “If
not, it should give you some basic, core competencies.”
Internships provide an invaluable opportunity for students
to develop a relationship with a professional in their
field, he added.
In order to help students understand what employers
in the real world were looking for, Koppelman decided
to become a mentor in the ASK program on campus.
He stumbled upon ASK while looking at the Oswego Web
site. He signed up, and shortly after was getting responses
Koppelman has been a mentor in the program for almost
three years now, and he has worked with nearly a dozen
students. As a mentor, he has helped students conduct
job searches, with résumé construction,
and with interview preparation.
“The ASK program allows students to make a distinction
between what they learned in school and what is applicable
in real life to employers,” Koppelman said.
Although he doesn’t conduct the mock interviews
himself, Koppelman puts the students in contact with
others in their chosen field.
So far, he has placed two Oswego students with jobs
right after graduation.
“I’m involved in the recruitment industry
for two reasons, the financial impact, and changing
someone’s life,” Koppelman said. “I
wish there had been a program like this when I was in
college and I had met somebody to give me the lowdown.”
According to Koppelman, public relations seems to be
the most popular discipline within the communications
program at Oswego.
For Debbie Grunbaum ’05,
a public relations major, getting a job in her field
right out of college wasn’t just luck. She made
contact with professionals in the field, passed out
copies of her résumé, and made it a point
to follow up with employers.
Debbie Grunbaum '05
(left) and Joan
Grunbaum met Oswego graduate and professional Joan
Cear ’80 during a New York Women in Communications
conference in November 2005. The two instantly hit it
off and had something in common to talk about, Oswego.
As the conversation continued Grunbaum had the opportunity
to talk with Cear about her upcoming December graduation
and her experience and goals in the PR field.
Cear offered to take a copy of her résumé
to file at her agency and Grunbaum took a business card
and sent a follow-up e-mail.
In January 2006, one month after her graduation, Grunbaum
was contacted by G.S. Schwartz & Co., and offered
the position as assistant account executive.
“I am favorably inclined to people who do follow-up,”
Grunbaum also made an impression with her topic of conversation.
“Find a common bond,” Cear said. “It
will show us, the employers, that you have done research
and that you are serious about the job.”
As managing director of G.S. Schwartz & Co., a PR
firm, Cear sees her share of résumés each
week from people looking for internships, entry-level
positions or just help with connections.
Like Koppelman, she agrees that many graduates aren’t
doing all that they could to make their résumés
more positive. Her advice: Add extra-curricular activities,
travel and find a way to quantify your accomplishments.
“Make the insignificant things seem significant,”
On the other hand, Koppelman takes a slightly different
approach to making a résumé that employers
will want to see. Be concise, use a bullet format with
titles and points of responsibility, he said.
He advises students to use things that paint a picture.
Eliminate experience that is irrelevant and highlight
any experience in an office environment, or anything
that is considered transferable.
“Objectives are unnecessary,” he said. “The
objective for any new graduate is to land a job.”
As for landing her first job right out of college, Grunbaum
is very pleased.
“It’s cool,” she said. “It’s
what I wanted to do. I wanted to come down to New York
City and get some experience, to learn from PR people
and learn in a real office. Day to day I’m learning,
so it’s really where I wanted to be.”
Grunbaum has worked so hard since starting her job a
year ago that she has already been promoted within the
“I was surprised at the amount of responsibility,”
Grunbaum said about her job. “But I work hard
and get more responsibility. I am happy with the opportunities
and things that I have been able to be responsible for.
Grunbaum’s job is to help clients from a variety
of industries like toys, technology, foods, or non-profits,
gain publicity. For example, in order for her client
to launch a new toy, she must be in touch with the toy
trade media, write press releases, contact daytime shows,
set up demonstrations, and send photographs and product
information to stores, dealers and the media.
“If you are highly accomplished, I know where
you went to school, and you do well in the interview,
then good,” Cear said. “If you don’t
do well in the interview, I don’t care where you
went to school.”
For more information on how
to become an ASK mentor contact Associate Alumni Director
’98 at firstname.lastname@example.org,
or 315-312-2258 or visit www.oswegoalumni.oswego.edu/ask.
— Emily King ’05
To February 2007 E-Newsletter