Sim Covington: Helping others find their paths

He provides all aspects of career services to a variety of undergraduate and graduate students, as well as alumni seeking professional career or graduate school opportunities. And in just five years, Director of Career Services Dr. Sim J. Covington Jr. has made an incredible difference in the future of many students who pass through his doors at the Career Services Office of SUNY Poly.

It’s there that students find assistance and guidance in career counseling, resume and cover letter creation, employment search strategies, skills assessment, networking strategies, relocation assistance, and access to numerous experiential learning opportunities.

“Given my thirteen-plus years of progressive responsibility in the SUNY system, the scope and depth of my administrative duties allow me to help students in a variety of ways through my work related to career counseling, strategic planning, budget management, supervision of personnel, program assessment, metrics and outcomes, employer and alumni relations, internship coordination, campus events, career services presentations, knowledge of workforce trends, incorporation of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and Strong Interest Inventory assessment tools (which measures career and leisure interests to aid people in making educational and career decisions), on-campus recruiting, management of the Purple Briefcase database system, teaching First Year Seminar, and marketing of services.”

Sim’s capstone events include an annual business etiquette luncheon as well as organizing the largest career and graduate school fair in the Mohawk Valley for the past four years in a row. He also continues his professional development with affiliations and memberships in the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE), the National Career Development Association (NCDA), SUNY Career Development Organization (SUNY CDO), the Mohawk Valley Society for Human Resource Management (MVSHRM), and the Central New York Recruiting Consortium (CNYRC). Covington was also the 2014 SUNY CDO Conference Chair in Lake George.

He also sits on the Board of Directors for several local organizations, including being the Diversity Chair for Mohawk Valley Society for Human Resource Management (MVSHRM).

But despite all his involvement, he still finds the greatest joy in seeing a student he’s helped reach his or her dreams.

“The most rewarding part of what I do is the success of my students as well as collaboration with faculty, staff, and employers. I love hearing, ‘Mr. Covington, I got the job or internship!’  I also have the opportunity to be a Club Advisor for the Black, Latino, Asian Student Union (BLASU) and the Pool Players Club, as well as serving on the campus intercollegiate athletic board.”

With all this in mind, it comes as no surprise that On Point for College, which, since 1999, has helped more than 7,800 first-generation youth get into college, stay there, and succeed afterward, chose Sim as the recipient of their 2017 College Campus Angel Award.

“Sim really cares about each and every student,” said Kevin Marken, Director of the Utica Office for On Point for College. “He is always willing to go the extra mile to help students with Career Services needs, but he also helps connect them to college access and success services. Sim is a wonderful role model for students and always makes time to ensure their college and career services. He perfectly embodies the spirit of On Point for College.”

Originally from Brooklyn, Covington relocated upstate for his post-secondary training. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling, Certificate of Advanced Study in School Counseling, and Master of Science in Educational Administration & Policy Studies – Higher Leadership, all from the University at Albany. In August 2017, he earned his MBA at SUNY Poly and just one month later, in September 2017, earned his doctoral degree in Higher Education Administration at Northeastern University.

“My career has been amplified by my ability to successfully balance educational attainment, professional development and professional experience. Furthermore, in regards to my leadership development, I have completed my Certification in Leadership at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in July 2015, my Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF) training in June 2015,  my Executive Leadership Certificate from Cornell University in August 2014, and my Business Management certificate from Rutgers. In all, I believe my educational training and applied experience provide a solid foundation for service to the SUNY Poly student body.”

And it’s not just the lessons from his vast education that he brings with him every time he sits down with students looking for help as they set out to forge their career paths. For Covington, it’s also about taking lessons from his own life—the most important of which, he says, is to never stop learning.

“Since my time here, I have had the privilege of balancing my professional responsibilities with my own professional development. A proud graduate of the Dale Carnegie Institute, I regularly encourage students to keep developing personally and professionally. In my first year on the SUNY Poly campus, I was voted Vice-Chair of the Staff Assembly. In addition to my function in career services, this position provides access to institutional governance within higher education,” Covington says. “A college degree is imperative for the job search today. Possessing industry-based knowledge and innovative approaches to the field of career services is imperative to meet the needs of today’s ever-changing society. Given the diversity of today’s workplace as well as the globalization of the job market, tapping into diversity and inclusion becomes very important for today’s job seeker.”

In terms of that development, he notes that having a bachelor’s degree opens the door to opportunity and advanced degrees increase one’s skillset and marketability. He also believes that regardless of the industry, continued training contributes to access for new professional opportunities and upward mobility.

As a student affairs professional, the primary reason for his career is a passion for assisting students in building their professional foundation. And while doing that at SUNY Poly, Sim has found the opportunity to also develop his own professional skill set, reporting to the Vice President for Student Affairs and finding endless opportunity for continued growth.

“Whether working with students, faculty, staff, alumni, or employers, everyone has a story. I consider myself a dedicated professional who encourages people to reach their full potential by way of positive motivation and reality-based incentives in a non-judgmental atmosphere. My open mind and humility has served me well professionally and personally. I encourage others to appreciate others from a holistic perspective as this may contribute to a more empathetic society.”