e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry


The goal of both faculty and the Career Services Office staff is student career success. By working together, we can ensure a seamless transition from SUNY-ESF student to influential member of the work force.

Our department supplements and supports your efforts and offers other specific services to students and alumni in direct support of their employment and career development goals.


  • Key Office Services
  • How You Can Help Us
  • Faculty View of Handshake
  • Ethical and Legal Standards in Hiring
  • Tips for Writing Letters of Recommendation

Some of Our Key Office Services for Students/Alumni

We help your students find the right fit—We help student access information related to their career path and develop essential job-search skills. We are a student's best resource for job outlook, company profiles, salary, and employment trend information.

We know employers who want to know you—At the Career Services Office, we work directly with employers, who often ask for the contact information of faculty members who could help them to target students in a particular major or discipline. Ideally, employers would like to develop mutually beneficial relationships with faculty, and can provide many forms of support. We can facilitate that connection. We also have resources to help faculty understand their ethical responsibilities toward students. Because of the influence you have with both students seeking jobs and employers seeking new talent, NACE has created this Guide to Ethical Hiring and Legal Standards (http://www.naceweb.org/legal/faculty_guide/) to assist you. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the leading source of information on the employment of the college educated and an organization to which a great number of academic and hiring organizations belong, provides a set of ethical standards for guiding the job-search process.

We develop job opportunities—Our staff works with employers to develop relationships that result in hiring our current students, graduating students, and alumni. These job opportunities are available to students and alumni online through a password-protected searchable database called Handshake. Faculty can request an account and see those opportunities.

Our career fair attract many recruiters to one event—Our career fair provide excellent opportunities for your students to meet representatives from the companies in their industries of choice and establish a network of contacts. We will help your students research the employers beforehand and provide tips so they are prepared to effectively engage recruiters. We host one major career fair – a spring fair open to all students and alumni (link to career fair page). Employers use our fairs to speak with candidates for internships, part-time and full-time opportunities and connect with faculty.

We connect with students and alumni—We work closely with the Alumni Office to assist students in interacting with alumni. In addition, our recently developed program ESF Connections is a database that also allows Career Services Staff to connect students with alumni in their field. For more information, visit the ESF Connections page (link to ESF Connections).

We help students master the job interview—Students are welcome to visit the Career Services Office for information, advice, and tips on all types of interviews they may encounter. In addition, we have a new resource, Big Interview, where students can record their interviews and send to others for feedback.

We'll bring the information to your class—We specialize in conducting presentations to the classes you teach and the student organizations you advise about a host of career-related topics, such as resume writing, job-search strategies, and interviewing skills. We also can help out in a pinch: If you need to, or are considering canceling a class, just contact us and we can schedule a presentation instead.

We assist in identifying quality internship opportunities—Experiential education is such an important part of your students' overall educational experience. Just ask any employer. Through our network of employers, we can help your students identify internship opportunities that will best serve them in their academic and professional pursuits.

We communicate with students—Through targeted e-mails and newsletters, visiting classrooms and club meetings, and meeting with individual students on an appointment basis. Students can simply stop by/call our office (or 110 Bray) to set this up or schedule appointments 24 hours a day via Handshake. While we do not have set walk-in hours, our Career Advisor is happy to assist students who drop-by if schedules permit.

We offer career advising—Our career advisors are here to support student and alumni academic and professional success. Regardless of major, they can provide students/alumni with information on what it takes to succeed in their chosen career. Whether students are seeking to change your major, or to pick a minor or concentration, they are available to assist. For more information visit the student/alumni career advising pages of our site (link to Career Advising).

We provide graduate school advisement— Beginning Fall 2016, we will host a Graduate and Professional School Fair (link to page) on campus every fall semester. We also have a Graduate and Professional School Series consisting of topics such as Conquering the Personal Statement, Dos and Don’ts of Applying to Graduate School, etc.

We work closely with other SUNY-ESF offices/departments—Being part of the Division of Student Affairs, our office naturally has very close and positive working relationships with other key ESF units including the Counseling Center, International Student Services, Study Abroad, Housing, Honors Program, Student Leadership and Activities, and Community Service. We also interact closely with the Development Office and Alumni Relations.

We collect data—Salary data (along with names of employing organizations) is gathered from graduating students and well as our 5 year out alumni. We make this grouped data available through our web site to prospective students, current students and alumni. Employers also have access and often consider this data before extending job offers to graduating students.

How You Can Help Us

It is important for all faculty and staff at SUNY-ESF to support the institute’s goal of career education for a lifetime. You can do so by helping us with the following:

  • In addition to your advice and insight, direct students (and alumni) with questions about internship or job search services to our office for additional resources.
  • Forward to us job leads (careers@esf.edu) so that we can give students or alumni equal access to job openings. Here is a link to information for employers. (employer homepage link)
  • Help us publicize programming and services.
  • Invite us to participate in appropriate department and college programs, meetings, and events where our perspectives and experiences can be helpful to and supportive of your efforts.
  • Help us gather data on the most recent graduating class on behalf of the college. (link to first destination survey)

Faculty View of Handshake

Handshake is the part of our site where we post job (part-time, full-time, internships) listings, career fair details and more. SUNY-ESF students and alumni have full access to this system, and you may be interested in accessing some of the same features that your students do -- with a Faculty Account.

Advice about Ethical and Legal Standards in Student Hiring

The success of students in obtaining employment is important to a number of parties on the college campus. In addition to the students themselves, these parties include the professionals who work in the Career Services Office and in admissions, development, and alumni relations offices, and you, the faculty.

Often you play a direct role in the employment process for new graduates. Usually, your role and that of the Career Services Office are complementary. Occasionally, however, helping students in their job searches can result in unanticipated illegal or unethical actions.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), to which a great number of academic and hiring institutions belong, provides a set of ethical standards for guiding the job-search process. Entitled Guide to Ethical Hiring and Legal Standards, these standards are based on notions of fairness, truthfulness, non-injury, confidentiality, and lawfulness. In its foreword, the Principles document notes that colleges and employers share the common goal of "achieving the best match between the individual student and the employing organization."

Three basic precepts serve as the foundation of this goal, namely:

  • Maintaining an open and free selection of employment opportunities in an atmosphere conducive to objective thought, where job candidates can choose optimum long-term uses of their talents that are consistent with personal objectives and all relevant facts;
  • Maintaining a recruiting process that is fair and equitable to candidates and employing organizations;
  • Supporting informed and responsible decision making by candidates.

Because of the role you play in the hiring process, and the influence you have with both students seeking jobs and employers seeking new talent, NACE (National Association or Colleges and Employers) has created guidelines to assist you.

Tips for Writing Letters of Recommendations

  • Prior to providing a reference, obtain consent from the person about whom the reference will be given. If you are unaware that the job applicant has named you as a reference, ask the prospective employer for verification that the individual has given consent for the reference. Such verification could include a copy of the student's signed application listing you as a reference, your name listed as a reference on the student's resume, or verbal confirmation by the student to you.
  • Discuss the type of reference that you will provide with the person who asks you to be a reference. If you cannot provide a good reference, be honest with the individual. Don't promise a "glowing reference" and then provide merely a "glimmer."
  • Follow your organization's policy regarding providing a reference. If references are handled in a centralized fashion, advise the prospective employer that even though you may be named as a reference, your organization's policy prohibits you from providing the reference. Direct the employer to the appropriate person in the organization.
  • If "to whom it may concern" reference letters are requested, document that this is the type of reference requested and that the student or job applicant takes responsibility for disseminating the letters to the proper persons.
  • Respond to the specific inquiry about the student or job applicant. Direct the response to the particular person who requested the information.
  • Relate references to the specific position for which the person applied and to the work that the applicant will perform.
  • Informal lunch discussions or "off the record" telephone conversations with prospective employers regarding a person's performance should be avoided. There is no such thing as "off the record."
  • Information given should be factual, based upon personal knowledge/ observation of the person through direct contact with the person or obtained from the person's personnel record or student record.
  • Avoid giving personal opinions or feelings. If you make subjective statements or give opinions because they are requested, clearly identify them as opinions and not as fact. If you give an opinion explain the incident or circumstances on which you base the opinion.
  • Don't guess or speculate-if someone asks you questions regarding personal characteristics about which you have no knowledge, state that you have no knowledge.
  • State in a reference letter, "This information is confidential, should be treated as such, and is provided at the request of (name of student or applicant), who has asked me to serve as a reference." Statements such as these give justification for the communication and leave no doubt that the information was not given to hurt a person's reputation.
  • Do not include information that might indicate an individual's race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, citizenship status, sex (unless by the individual's name it is obvious), or marital status. Do not base an opinion of performance on stereotypes about an individuals, for instance "for a woman, she excels in math."
  • Document all information you release.