SUNY Oswego earned a pair of top 10 rankings and additional recognition for outstanding career preparation of students in a recent national survey.

The inaugural “Career Readiness Leader and Innovator Awards” presented by SkillSurvey, the leading provider of talent intelligence and career readiness solutions, honored Oswego in the following categories: 

  • Career Readiness Leader: Top 10 Institution
  • Career Readiness Leader: Top 10 in Critical Thinking
  • Career Readiness Innovator:  Most Students leveraging Career Readiness Reports as LinkedIn certificates

Students at Oswego and other top performing institutions received the highest evaluator ratings from over 60,000 supervisors and over 20,000 employers following an internship, co-op or other work-related experience. 

The honors are significant because they measure the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ top workplace competencies -- or what employers are most looking for in new employees, explained Sheila Cooley, associate director of SUNY Oswego’s EXCEL: Experiential Courses and Engaged Learning office.

“This is what employers want the most, and this is what SUNY Oswego is giving them,” Cooley said. “It helps our students become really prepared for, and attractive to, the job market.”

Critical thinking currently is an especially in-demand skill that makes new employees very valuable from the start, so Cooley said this recognition really reflects well on SUNY Oswego, its faculty, supervisors and students. 

SkillSurvey also provided data that favorably compared Oswego students to peers nationally as well as to entry-level job candidates.

The evaluation feedback from students and site supervisors helps EXCEL, the student’s faculty sponsor and the institution evaluate career readiness and can help a student's successful transition from college to workplace,” Cooley said. “Students gain self awareness between how they rate themselves and how the evaluators rate them.”

SkillSurvey’s ability to collect and provide feedback helps students know what strengths to emphasize, with examples, in a job interview. Students also can post their skillsets into their LinkedIn presence, making them more marketable as well.

“I’m thrilled to work with people like Sheila who are committed to using hard data to help students succeed and grow in their career readiness,” said Susan Mockenhaupt, senior director of career readiness for SkillSurvey. Mockenhaupt added that Cooley has developed guidance materials that the company has shared to help other colleges.

Helping get hired

Corey Cesare, a May 2021 SUNY Oswego graduate now working as a content writer and YouTube host for Talent Recap, said the evaluations and work with EXCEL helped show an evolution between a 2019 internship with the Rochester Red Wings’ video production team and a spring  2021 internship with Immortal Cinema International.

“I thought it was really interesting to see how much I had improved number wise on the career readiness scale,” said Cesare, a double major in cinema and screen studies and in journalism. “Both of my internships were similar in the aspect of film but extremely different in relation to working for a broadcast company as opposed to a film company. If anything, this evaluation taught me that I could easily work either way of my film degree based on my experiences. I scored well each time I had this evaluation, but it was still great to see the improvement.”

Cesare posted the SkillSurvey senior-year evaluation to LinkedIn almost immediately, which made the profile and experiences stand out even more. 

The job with Talent Recap –- which includes appearing on a channel with nearly 9 million subscribers –- encompasses both Oswego degree programs, “so the evaluation definitely was taken into consideration when my company chose to hire me,” Cesare said. 

I had written for other websites before but hadn't necessarily interned for a website, so they were able to see my work through that,” Cesare explained. “When it came to film, I had interned, but had a pretty limited reel (especially considering my second internship was primarily script writing). … A large aspect of my job is writing scripts for our YouTube content, so seeing that on my evaluation, along with general things like attention to detail, leadership traits, and others, it definitely aided in them wanting to hire me.”