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South Orange/Maplewood — Millburn / Short Hills Top Stories

Career Quarterback Aims to Help College Students and Grads

David Lackey

Sunday, February 23, 2014 • 2:09pm

MILLBURN, NJ – College students navigating the path to graduation and landing that first job are finding it more difficult than ever before.  Helping those students and recent graduates build a foundation and taking the right steps toward a successful career is the goal of a new local company, Career Quarterback. 

The company’s founders, Debra Horowitz of Short Hills and Sharon Cohen of West Orange, each have 20 years of recruiting and human resources experience.  The two had a long-distance professional relationship, having worked via telephone and email on recruiting employees for their respective companies.  Last year, the two met face to face by coincidence at a local coffee shop, and when they realized that they were both in transition, the idea of working together began to form.

“A lot of neighbors knew that I was a recruiter,” Horowitz said. “They had sons and daughters in college, and they asked if I might help them write their resumes and give them advice on how to get a job.  It made me realize there is a gap in the marketplace.  Then when I bumped into Sharon, she told me about her own children, and we saw that there is a need.”

Indeed, parents have learned the ropes about the steps their children need to take to get into the best college they can. Test preparation classes and tutors have become very popular in our area, and there are consultants that will help students craft their college application essays. Once they are in college, however, most students feel like they are on their own.

“Particularly at large universities, the career counseling departments fall short,” Cohen said. “There are thousands of graduates, and they cannot all get the personalized attention they need.”

“Parents are spending a lot of money on their children’s education, and when they graduate without jobs or a clear direction, they feel like they are not getting a good return on their investment,” Horowitz added.

This is where Career Quarterback can help. They advise seeking help as early as freshman year. Learning how to build and leverage the family’s network can help lead to good internships and jobs. Joining the right clubs can help build one’s resume and give a job candidate more to talk about in an interview.

“Everybody needs the same toolbox to get started,” Horowitz said. “We have a program that addresses that.” 

Starting early will give students more of an advantage, but Cohen points out that even graduates looking for that first job can do things that will give them a step up.

“Our program is about building confidence from the ground up,” Cohen said. They help craft resumes and coach clients on how to network and how to interview well. 

“We understand what companies are looking for, and by helping our clients, we take that stress off parents’ plates,” Horowitz said.  She compares it to hiring a math tutor when help is needed in that area.  A parent does not always have the expertise needed in every situation.

“In addition, these are life skills we are teaching,” Horowitz said.  “This is not something that is just going to help you get your first job, and then you’ll never use it again. These are skills you will you use throughout your career and in other aspects of your life. The art of learning how to network to get what you need or want, learning how to speak to people on the phone, to write a proper email, will give them the confidence to communicate and to be secure in themselves.”

Career Quarterback can be reached at (973) 464-8222 or online at www.careerquarterback.com

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