Joyce Cohen, a 1967 Keuka College graduate, didn’t deliver the typical, run-of-the mill commencement speech at her alma mater today (Sunday, May 27).
Indeed, members of the Class of 2012 should have taken notes because Cohen offered sound, practical advice that could help them land their first job after graduation or their dream job later on.
After reflecting fondly on her undergraduate years at Keuka, the Huntington, Conn., resident offered practical job search tips developed during her career as a leading figure in the field of career development and life planning.
She told the Class of 2012 to tap into social media because “more than 60 percent of companies are reaching you this way and the percentage continues to grow. Get yourselves on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. You will broaden your network around the country and the globe, and you’ll learn about your profession.”
However, while extolling the value of social media, she did offer a warning.
“Be careful there are no compromising pictures of you, especially on Facebook,” advised Cohen, founder and president of Unconventional Wisdom LL, a life-planning consulting agency. “Get rid of them before potential employers begin searching for your name.”
An experienced consultant, workshop facilitator, life coach, outplacement counselor, and creator of updated credentials Cohen is also a fan of traditional job search techniques.
“Pound the pavement and knock on doors,” she advised, “and use your discretionary time to take classes and search for volunteer opportunities. Stay involved in your community. What you know and who you know are important. Even more critical is who knows you.
“Build genuine relationships,” she added. “Above all, care about people and build trust that lasts. No one cares how much you know unless they know how much you care.”
Cohen also told the graduates not to let “nervousness or self-doubt stop you.
“Find your inner voice that will support you to reach beyond your comfort zone,” she said. “Take your nervousness with you and do it anyway. Remember those butterflies. Just make them fly in formation.”
She also advocated lifelong learning and perseverance.
“Take advantage of affordable offerings at libraries, community colleges, and online webinars,” she advised. “Abraham Lincoln lost eight elections, had two failed businesses and one nervous breakdown before he was elected president of the United States in 1860. Your road may not be easy, but reflecting on the perseverance of America’s 16th president may help put it in perspective.
“And remember: big shots are nothing more than little shots who keep shooting.”
Another Keuka College graduate, Barbara Miller from the Class of 1967, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. The Mystic, Conn. resident was presented for the degree by Barbara Allardice, a 1961 graduate and member of the Board of Trustees.
Allardice said Miller “served with distinction during a 20-year career as a U.S. Navy nurse, tending to wounded Marines in Japan at the start of the Vietnam War and caring for the crew of the U.S. Navy intelligence ship Pueblo that was held captive for 11 months by North Korea.”
Miller retired in 1982 as a full commander and then began a second career in nursing education. She served as volunteer director of the Naval Submarine Base New London’s Retired Activities Office in Groton and in 2008 she became the first woman inducted into the Connecticut Veterans’ Hall of Fame. She is a recipient of the Community Service Award from the Melzingah Chapter (Beacon, N.Y.) of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Also at commencement:
• Retiring faculty members Neil Siebenhar (associate professor of management and chair of the Division of Business and Management) John Piczak (professor of political science), and Peter Talty (recently promoted to professor emeritus of occupational therapy by the Board of Trustees).
• Professor of Psychology Drew Arnold received the 2012 Professor of the Year award.
“His commitment to service is a distinguishing feature of his faculty performance, with more than 30 years of exemplary engagement in the shared governance of the College,” said College President Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera.
“He is actively engaged in research, currently focusing on college-age students with developmental disabilities, an aspect of his work with the DRIVE (diversity, responsibility, inclusion, vision, experiential learning) students. It was largely through his efforts and commitment that the DRIVE program was developed and implemented so successfully on campus, providing a unique opportunity for the College to underscore its mission as an institution that values leadership, personal responsibility, and diversity.”
• DRIVE students Maggie Coff, Matthew Dunham, David Hull, Helen Hymel, Nina Loan, Michael Oliver, and Jessica Pulver each received an Award of Higher Education.