Career center offers help for students on all levels

By Erica Yuenger

Whether you are looking for internships, need interviewing and resume-writing tips, or just simply do not know what you want to do with your life, the Career Center can help.

With 11 career counselors and approximately 25 student outreach team members, the center’s staff is well-trained and well-equipped to assist University students in choosing majors, planning careers, conducting interviews and writing polished resumes.

Damian Lay, assistant director of marketing at the Career Center, 715 S. Wright St., said the center is helpful at all stages of career development.

“It really is for everyone, whether you are trying to decide on a major all the way until you are ready to look for a job,” Lay said.

Students can benefit from the Career Center services through scheduling an advising appointment, using walk-in advising, or by contacting the center by phone or e-mail. In the last school year, the Center also started virtual advising, where students can post questions on the Career Center Web site’s message board.

Last year, 11,415 students took advantage of Career Center service opportunities, compared to 10,314 the year before. Of these students, 6,363 had in-person advising appointments last year.

“More students are realizing the advantage of starting early,” Lay said. “The career path starts early; it doesn’t start when you are a junior or a senior. The earlier you start, the better the place you are in when you are ready to look for a job.”

The Career Center also hosts several career fairs and special events throughout the year, such as the upcoming 2008 Nonprofit and Government Career Fair in early March.

In addition to these special events, the Career Center also holds workshops, such as how to make a good first impression on potential employers and how to negotiate salaries.

Students can request a workshop by the student outreach team, where a team of trained students will present one of the workshop presentations at a campus location of the requestor’s choice.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers awarded the Career Center the 2007 Excellence in Educational Programming Award for its online program called Exploring Pathways in Career Success. The tools allow students to take an interest inventory, build a dream resume and explore career options.

“We started it because we wanted to have a resource for students that would be available to them 24 hours a day,” Lay said. “They can get career counseling advice as they go through this interactive online program.”

Supriya Sekar, junior in Applied Health Sciences, came to the Career Center after her friend recommended their resume critique service to her.

“She said they were really helpful and helped her put together a really good resume,” Sekar said. “I am hoping they will do the same for me and help make it as concise and effective as possible.”

The Career Center is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. To set up an advising appointment, students can call 217-333-7154. To request a workshop or access other available services, students can go to their Web site, www.careercenter.uiuc.edu.