Shannon Shannon accepted a temporary role at Hamilton College in 2005 with no intention of working in higher education. In just one week, she fell in love with the environment. Shortly after, she was recommended for an office coordinator position in the career center. Now, four roles and 18 years later, Shannon serves as the Associate Director of Advancement Promotions at Hamilton. About halfway through her tenure on campus, she realized her passion and knack for marketing, which inspired her to go back to school to earn her associate's degree. This dedication to curiosity and lifelong learning, along with her solution-focused approach to promotions, have paved the way for her success.
Tell us more about your role in the career center.
As the Associate Director of Advancement Promotions, I lead my team like a mini marketing agency with 5–8 content and promotions interns who help me with posters, flyers, targeted promotions, social media, and data. Additionally, I administer internship funding which has grown exponentially since I took charge of the program in 2007. It has been described as a "side hustle," but really the work of helping students participate in something they might not otherwise be able to is incredibly fulfilling.
What is an example of an impactful initiative you’ve implemented at your institution?
With the help of a generous parent, we launched a new program providing additional funding to qualifying students on financial aid who are working in unpaid or minimally paid career experiences. Many of them can’t afford these experiences with just our regular internship funding, so this supplemental program ensures they can cover their cost of living expenses and have additional means at the end of the summer to alleviate financial burdens.
What is one of your favorite career events your team facilitates for students?
Our LinkedIn photo booth! Students qualify for a free LinkedIn headshot taken by a student photographer after participating in two qualifying engagements with the career center. It’s one of our most popular incentives.
What’s a challenge your students consistently face when it comes to professional development?
There are so many resources and places to gain access to opportunities, and students often become overwhelmed and then either rely on someone to tell them what to do or avoid the process entirely. But watching students develop from that exploration phase to finding the industry or opportunity that pushes them into something they love is gratifying and we’re fortunate to be part of that process.
How does Handshake help make your team more successful?
Handshake is built for connection and configured so all of its users—students, career services, and employers—can maximize its use. One way we do this is by using the target email function religiously and layering in an intricate labeling system to help track student engagement and reduce as much email fatigue as possible.
As the Handshake super user in our office, seeing the organization evolve since our implementation in 2017 has been pretty amazing, and it complements our goals of providing greater access to information and opportunities to our students (plus, the reps and support have always been top notch!).