For students and alumni looking to interact via Yale’s online databases, an upgraded service from the Office of Career Strategy may provide expanded opportunities.
With the launch of the improved Yale Career Network in July, students and alumni gained the ability to connect throughout the entire University. OCS Director Jeanine Dames said the new YCN is the only alumni database available to Yale students that allows them to search for alumni across all Yale schools. Unlike the previous version of the database, which was hosted solely by the Association of Yale Alumni on a different software system, the new system allows users to incorporate social media into their accounts and integrate LinkedIn profiles. She added that the new system will be easier to navigate.
“A Yale College student can connect with a medical school alumnus, and a Yale Law student can connect with a Forestry alumna,” Dames said. “As [the YCN] grows, I believe it will become one of the best career resources available to Yale students and alumni.”
The previous system hosted approximately 15,000 alumni profiles, which were migrated into the new software this summer, Dames said. After those alumni were contacted and asked to update their information, the system went live to students mid-summer. Each student received an email informing them about the new system, and students in Yale College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences were automatically registered. Students in the professional schools must complete a brief registration process.
The new YCN, which is co-hosted by OCS and the AYA, already has registered alumni from each of the professional schools, said Robyn Acampora, director of Strategic Initiatives and Public Service Careers at OCS. The largest percentage of alumni in the database are from Yale College, followed by those coming from the Graduate School and the School of Management, she said.
Acting Executive Director of the AYA Jeanette Chavira ’89 said the vendor for the old YCN platform had not made any upgrades to the career module in some time, leaving the system outdated and difficult to manage. Now that the YCN has been moved onto Symplicity, the system has a more contemporary user interface and allows for greater flexibility in terms of architecture and design.
Chavira added that AYA’s focus since the launch has been on helping OCS ensure that existing users can easily access the new platform. Once all the “wrinkles” have been worked out over the coming months, AYA will begin targeting broader alumni groups, she said.
Dames said OCS specifically collaborated with the Yale athletic community and Dwight Hall to reach out to as many alumni communities as possible. Director of Athletics Development Alison Cole ’99 said her department planned on emailing all Yale athletic alumni immediately after Labor Day to encourage mentorship to current students.
Three of the four alumni interviewed had heard about the new YCN, though none had set up accounts or explored the site extensively. All four said they are impressed with OCS’ efforts to connect students with Yale graduates, particularly for career guidance.
“Networking with alumni is a huge benefit in a job search of figuring out what you want to do after graduation or beyond,” said Harry Mattison ’94, who said he used a “paper and telephone based” career network when he was a student.
Darcy Pollack ’87, who previously served on the AYA Board of Governors, said a centralized database that connects all Yale students and alumni would positively influence how those across the University interact with one another.
Elsie Yau ’17, who found her summer internship through Symplicity, added that OCS’ services have consistently helped her find summer housing and connect with alumni for post-graduation guidance.
But Joyce Guo ’17 said she does not think students are generally aware of new initiatives run by OCS, despite regular newsletters and campus-wide emails.
“I had no idea that they were rolling out a new version, and that was something I’d definitely want to know about, so I better start reading my emails,” Guo said.
Plans for the YCN upgrade began three years ago.