On July 15, 2021, the HireBig10+ Career Consortium recognized Janet Jones, director of industry & student connections within the Rutgers Office of Career Exploration and Success, as the David S. Bechtel Outstanding Career Services Professional of the Year. The prestigious award is not presented every year and is the highest honor an individual can receive within the Hire Big10+ career services network. It recognizes one experienced professional who contributed significantly to the field. The honoree must demonstrate an outstanding commitment to students' career success at the campus level and within the profession at the local, regional, or national level.
Janet has served in Career Exploration and Success for over thirty-five years and is involved in various local, regional, and national associations. She was instrumental in implementing the career community approach to career services, which helped diversify the opportunities available to Rutgers students. Other universities across the region continue to seek out Rutgers as a benchmarking site for excellence in employer relationship building.
At Rutgers, Janet's unit is responsible for strengthening, expanding, and diversifying relationships with organization recruiters to maximize career opportunities for Rutgers University-New Brunswick students and alumni. Her team is responsible for the more than 50,000 employment opportunities shared by employers each year and manages some of the largest recruiting events in the country.
"Working in employer relations can be a thankless job," says William Jones, executive director of Career Exploration and Success. "It's essentially a sales team that is constantly meeting the requests of hundreds of employer partners." MaryBeth Kimberlin, a coordinator for campus interviewing, wrote, "Janet promotes a work-life fit. Whether someone on our team has a life event, needed help with an elderly parent, required time to get through a death in the family, or even our health issues, she is always there to lend an ear and provide support."
William Jones shares, "recruiting partners speak highly of her, and she stays connected to students she has personally assisted over the years. Janet always finds time to acknowledge her team and share credit for the wins, so I am thrilled that the consortium chose to spotlight her many achievements and welcome her to an exclusive club of career services professionals."
Jones excels in managing employer relationships, programming, and industry development initiatives. Jones leads a team of nine professionals and various students who are thrilled to work with her every day and motivated by her leadership. "Janet has been my director for over 20 years, and I could not have asked for a better mentor or caring boss in work and life. Janet's positive leadership style empowers us all. We are fortunate to have her as our director because she treats everyone with dignity, respect, and integrity." says Kimberlin. Catarina Caulfield, an industry developer, who has worked under Jones' leadership for four years, believes Janet deserves this recognition because she provides the team personal and professional guidance and support, creates a culture of trust and transparency, and leads by example. "Janet knows that because of the support, trust, and transparency she gives us, we, in turn, will always do the best for her and our department."
Jones is recognized for her exceptional ability to foster, build, and maintain relationships professionally and personally with colleagues, employers, students, and the Rutgers community. Larissa Keller, associate director, recruiting programs, states, "She leads by example—her ability to make connections with everyone. Over the years, she has built strong relationships with campus partners of all types and folks like you from peer and peer-aspirational institutions. She kept in contact with former student workers and high-level faculty and staff even when there was no apparent immediate benefit to the relationship. Recruiters have moved from one organization to another, often managing to add Rutgers as a target school along the way. I feel that is mainly due to the positive impression she has helped make on our university." These relationships, her endeavors, and her can-do attitude continue to serve the Office of Career Exploration and Success, the Rutgers campus, employers, and organizations, and higher education colleagues around the nation.
The Office of Career Exploration and Success at Rutgers University-New Brunswick is honored to have two of their very own career service professionals earn this esteemed recognition. William Jones Jr, Executive Director for the department, received this award in 2018.