Career Center provides services to all students

By Meghan O'Kelly

On a campus the size of the University, finding something thousands students have in common may come as a challenge.

However, more than 15,000 students participated in the 364 group events sponsored by the Career Center last school year, including workshops, career fairs and presentations. Students made nearly 11,500 individual contacts, such as counseling appointments, e-mail advising and phone advising.

Since the early 1950s, the Career Center has offered career services to students who are thinking about their futures. Gail Rooney, director of the Career Center, said that her message to students is that it is never too early to pay a visit the Career Center, located at 715 S. Wright St., Champaign.

“I think the biggest misconception is that ‘I don’t go to the Career Center until I am a senior,'” she said. “What I would like is that every freshman has their resume done and critiqued as a freshman.”

Career Center services, free of charge to students, range from career and major exploration to a variety of workshops and presentations available by request. The Career Center also offers services at 27 other campus locations, including La Casa Cultural Latina, the Undergraduate Library and the Illini Union.

Rooney said students can call to make an appointment with a career consultant or stop in and speak with the consultant on call.

Vijay Kalagara, graduate student, is a consultant. He helps students by directing them to online resources and deciding what steps to take next. Most students that drop in are on a job or internship search or deciding on a major, he said.

“I think (the Career Center) is a one-stop place where you can find information about anything,” he said. “I think if students think about it in advance and use the resources at the right time, they can find job placement before they graduate.”

Rooney said the Career Center’s most popular services are resume and cover letter critiques, which are done by an outreach team of trained sophomores, juniors and seniors. One of the exceptional services is a mock interview, where students bring their resume, job description, graduate school or medical school application and are video recorded while being interviewed by a graduate student. Afterwards, the video is reviewed and the student receives a copy of the DVD to take home.

“We want to teach you these skills because individuals are going to change jobs or careers seven times during their lifetime, and we want to teach you how to do it,” she said.

Anjali Sharma, sophomore in LAS, used the Career Center to research medical school requirements to plan what courses she needs to take.

“I don’t know what I want to do with my life, and it’s about time I figure it out,” she said.

The Career Center administration said that its resources are for students of all ages and help explore and identify skills, interests and values.

“It helps students figure out who they are and who they want to be when they leave this place,” said Damian Lay, assistant director of the Career Center.