University’s career center provides professional necessities
January 30, 2017
We enter college with one end-goal in mind: having a career. The University’s Career Center is here to guide students to taking the proper steps toward their dream job.
The Career Center is located at 715 S. Wright St. and has year-round events to assist students.
The services the center provides include career and major exploration, assistance and advice on getting a job or internship, help with applying to graduate and professional schools, developing professional profiles, mock interviews and more.
Sparkle Sanders is the assistant director of marketing, communications and event planning for the Career Center.
“If you have already figured out a career or academic path that you are going into, one way to solidify it is to gain more experience in the area,” Sanders said. The center has a variety of programs and services focused on professional experience development, such as job shadowing and career fairs.
Sanders encourages students to use the services the center offers and simultaneously work at an internship, volunteer or find a part-time job to familiarize themselves with their career fields.
Ivana Chkoumbova, junior in ACES, explained that after her visit to the Career Center, she felt more confident about what she needed to do to achieve her goal: attending medical school after graduation.
“They gave me a very comprehensive document that lists all of the courses that I need in order to apply for medical school,” Chkoumbova said. “Even though I was familiar with the courses beforehand, I still felt better after my visit.”
The Career Center can also help University students who are struggling to decide on a major. Sanders recommends setting up an appointment with a career coach to explore the professional possibilities.
If a student prefers researching on his own, the official website of Career Center has information on different majors and the careers they can lead to.
The Career Center emphasizes the importance of reaching a balance between two elements: academic performance and extracurricular involvement.
“When you are looking for a job or an internship, employers are looking for a variety of things,” Sanders said. “Among them include your GPA and your coursework, but they also look for things that demonstrated you as a well-rounded individual who has a variety of experience.”
In order to gain extra-curricular experience, students are encouraged to participate in Registered Student Organizations. They can participate in research or volunteer work, among other experiences.
Sanders explained that the Career Center helps connect students with different organizations and lead them to opportunities.
Experience in extracurricular activities, internships and part-time jobs helps students acquire transferrable skills, which Sanders emphasized the importance of.
“Grades, involvement and internship experience are all extremely important, but another component of standing out as a candidate is what we call transferable skills,” Sanders said. “These are things like leadership skills, communication skills, presentation skills, inter-personal skills and management skills.”
The center offers different workshops and programs with a focus on honing some of these transferable skills.
There are also small actions students can take to gradually build a professional network, which is also fundamental, according to Sanders.
This includes making a professional profile on LinkedIn, as well as the University’s iLink, which the Career Center can provide assistance with.
Networking can also include things as simple as engaging in more conversations with professors and other faculty staff, according to Sanders.
“These are people who you can continue to lean on to help you discover and develop your professional competence, they can also connect you to the other professionals and opportunities,” he said.
The Career Center also developed a program, Career Certificate International Students, to specifically cater to the needs of international students.
By participating in Career Certificate International Students, international students can learn about interviewing skills, job searching skills and networking skills.
“This is particularly valuable for students who want to stay in the U. S. and be competitive in getting a job or internship,” Sanders said.
No matter the need or situation, the Career Center can help steer students toward achieving their dreams.