Career services prepares students for ‘real world’

By on April 16, 2003

As graduating seniors, entering freshmen and underclassmen can tell you college life is not always easy. Sure, we are here to get an education and to make friends, but we also have to ask ourselves questions such as, “What major do I want to go into,” “What are my interests” and “What do I want to do after I graduate?”

For some, these may be simple questions with simple solutions. But for those who are not so sure, Career Services is here to provide comfort, help, and preparation for figuring out these life-altering questions.

“Our main objective at Career Services is to help students and alumni gain self-awareness-to find out who they are,” said Pat Nielsen, director of Career Services. “Then, we can begin to explore careers and majors.”

The center, located in the former residential life building, has many methods for students to achieve this “self-awareness.” For example, aside from hosting a majors fair, career fair and offering one-on-one appointments, Career Services provides a career/interest inventory test, enabling students to answer questions that will specify their interests, and essentially provide insight into potential career paths.

“The test points you to areas that you are strongest in and areas that you are more prone to enjoying,” said freshman Sarah Fogelstrom, an undecided liberal arts major.

Along with aiding students in finding their appropriate majors, the Career Services staff is most commonly approached with concerns regarding finding a job and securing an internship, according to Nielsen.

“You tell me what you want to do, show me your experience, what you’ve done, and we’ll create a road map to get you there,” said Nielsen.

There are many services offered for students to get started on professional planning such as, mock interviews and hard copy job search/career library resources, which list employer contacts. Two other effective services include the job/internship e-mail distribution and the 48-hour resume critique.

If a student attends either a job information session (ranging from interviewing techniques, professional practices, career one-shot, etc.) or an internship information session, he or she is automatically added to an e-mail distribution list. This list enables staff members from Career Services to forward any pertinent information regarding job listings or internship opportunities to the student.

“The e-mail system is great because it comes right to you, and any student can get added to the distribution list,” said Nielsen. “Every job listing that comes in, we look at, and pass it on.”

The 48-hour resume critique is crucial when beginning the search for either an internship or job, according to Nielsen.

“Resumes should be checked to make sure they are as good as they can be. They should show evidence of knowledge of what you are studying,” said Nielsen. “Keep track of projects and experiences that you gain from your classes, and also get involved with campus, community, and leadership activities.”

Career Services staff members are in the process of broadening their program. They are working to create more networking opportunities between students and alumni, and students and professionals, according to Nielsen. They are also planning to develop relationships with employers from a larger geographic area.

“We want to expand as more and more students come to this school from different areas,” said Nielsen.

Career Services is also preparing to improve their marketing and public relations by using the Q.U. Daily e-mail system and by talking with faculty members to increase student awareness of the center.

The office is open from: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 8 a.m. through 4 p.m. during the summer and school breaks.

Students are also able to walk in without an appointment, and acquire career services from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday.

Ultimately, the aim of the Career Services staff is to facilitate life-affecting transitions and make differences in the lives of the students on and off campus.

“There’s nothing more rewarding to me than when a student comes back to me and there’s that sparkle in his or her eye about what they are doing,” said Nielsen. “If you can help somebody find that thing they love to do-it’s the coolest thing.”


About Marisa Koraus