Margie Cherry is available to assist Lafayette alums find their true calling
By Jill Spotz
Did you know that Lafayette is one of the few colleges that offers alumni complimentary career services for the life of their career? Meet Margie Cherry, a counselor in the Gateway Career Center dedicated solely to the career needs of alumni. Cherry has helped Lafayette alumni across class years, from recent graduates to mid- and late-career professionals, looking to find better employment or switch careers, with services including job search strategies, networking, and résumé and LinkedIn advice. In fact, Cherry assists 200-400 alumni and recent graduates each year!
Cherry began her position at Lafayette in 2011 after working in higher education at another institution. Prior to that position, she worked in corporate outplacement where she realized her true calling. She also experienced a nonlinear career journey as a former illustrator and graphic designer for 20 years. Cherry understands, firsthand, the anxiety and stress that could potentially accompany a career change and is equipped to help alumni navigate that journey.
“When I listen to somebody’s career story, and I hear that they’re not happy in what they’re doing, my natural inclination is to help them find their way,” Cherry explains. “I look for their true genius and help them determine where the match for that is out in the world of work. Where can they bring their signature strengths and their interests into play in a position that will allow them to live the life they want?”
Cherry asserts that everyone has signature strengths, and her job is to help Lafayette alumni identify those strengths and express them in a way that is attractive to potential employers. This can be on a resume, on their LinkedIn profile, or as an answer to an interview question or networking conversation.
Cherry adds, “I work with alumni to make a plan for their job search or help them explore options for a new career path. Making a plan is the foundation of their search, but I tell them they have to be open to other possibilities along the way, like taking a side road instead of the highway if the highway isn’t taking them where they need to go. Luck can also be a factor, but they have to be dressed and ready to open the door when opportunity knocks! Being dressed and ready means having taken action on your plan, even if it changes along the way.”
As an alum, I’m grateful for the Gateway Career Center’s continued guidance. Shoutout
to Margie in Alumni Career Services for looking over my grad school application materials, providing valuable feedback, and most of all, believing in me.
— Adina Shrestha ’22, translational coordinator/research data specialist, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Alumni career services are typically fee-based and/or outsourced to contractors rather than coordinated directly by institutions of higher learning. This is not the case for Lafayette College. In fact, Cherry can rattle off the names of MANY alumni whom she has helped from reviewing their personal statements for graduate school, to résumé assistance, career coaching, and more.
Take for example, the resume. The No. 1 entryway to a new job, a well-crafted resume is single handedly one of the most important factors in obtaining a job. Cherry explains that most resumes are a list of historic jobs and responsibilities. But one of the important aspects often left out of a good resume are the transferable skills.
“What are the transferable skills for their future career and how do we message that, because to me, it’s all about the message,” Cherry says. “You have to make your case, and you have to figure out how to message it, how to express it so somebody else clearly understands you’re capable of doing that.”
Cherry offers career-focused presentations in conjunction with Alumni Engagement as well, short career tip videos that she routinely posts in Gateway Career Center’s LinkedIn group, on the Gateway Career Center website, and on GatewayLink.
I cannot emphasize enough how grateful I am to have lifetime access to career services at Lafayette. Getting feedback on my resume and cover letters was invaluable in attaining my top match in doctoral internships. Thank you to Lafayette’s Alumni Career Services for all their guidance.
— Louise Olson ’19, University at Albany, SUNY, instructor/doctoral student
Whether you are looking to change jobs, explore new career options, need a resume review or alumni connections, know that Lafayette is here for you for the life of your career. If you are in need of career-related services, schedule an appointment for an individual career coaching session. Appointments are available in person, by phone, Zoom, or GoogleMeet.
The full list of services available include: