Career Center offers resources for all
September 16, 2014
Whether a freshman, senior or a graduate, students of all levels can come to the Career Center for help and advice on a multitude of topics.
The Career Center is located on campus at 715 S. Wright St. in Champaign. Students can go to the Career Center to discuss their majors with counselors, get advisement for internship and job searches, receive more information about possible health professions and get an early start on graduate and professional school preparation.
Emily Wickstrom, assistant director for communications and marketing at the Career Center, said the Center especially encourages freshman who visit to begin getting experience outside of the classroom.
“We don’t want them to think of their careers yet,” Wickstrom said. “For most freshmen, that’s a little bit too intimidating.”
Instead, Wickstrom recommended that these freshmen do other activities to help provide a network. For example, they could volunteer, work, join a fraternity or sorority, or become a member of a registered student organization.
Wickstrom advised that with all of the new activities, creating a resume would also be a smart decision.
Students can also make half-hour appointments for career counseling to discuss topics like their interests and goals, as well as other issues about their major and potential career. The Career Center also offers 15-minute drop-in advising sessions, which do not require an appointment.
But once sophomore year comes around, their majors are usually a bigger concern than extracurricular activities, Wickstrom said. At this point, they begin to encourage students to take on a leadership role.
“They’re probably more solidifying their interests,” she said. “A lot of times, they’ll know more of what they don’t like based on their general (education requirements).”
It is during their junior years that students should start focusing on internships, according to Wickstrom.
When a student begins to focus on internships, Wickstrom said they can go to the Career Center for preparation help, like how to do resume and cover letter checks as well as how to perform in mock interviews.
Jorge Gallegos, senior in LAS, said he has gone to the Career Center since he was a freshman. Over the years, he has used the resume check and mock interview services.
“I felt like I’ve lost some opportunities in the past just because of my interviewing skills, unfortunately,” he said of his previous experiences with interviewing.
But Gallegos said the mock interviewers at the Career Center let him know what he needs to work on in a positive light.
By senior year, the Career Center offers students resources focused specifically on looking for a job.
For example, Wickstrom said students who have not yet found a job can go to the Career Center, and discuss what they can do to improve their chances and what to do if they realize they no longer want the job they originally planned on.
“People really have individual issues and they’re all at different points,” she said. “We see some freshmen who are ready to go and have a lot of professional experiences and have some goals in mind; then we see seniors who have no idea what they want to do, so it’s really a pretty wide spectrum.”
Although the Career Center is available to graduate students, Wickstrom said that one of the center’s main focuses is to prepare students for graduate school.
The Career Center offers graduate and professional school fairs, as well as workshops and advising for those looking to find a graduate school. The next Graduate and Professional School Fair is Oct. 1 at the ARC from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Another major service offered at the Career Center is advising on health professions, including everything from audiology to nursing. One option students in these professions have is access to a new certificate program. The certificate program helps those students “stay on track and become a competitive candidate to graduate and professional programs,” according to the Career Center’s website.
A career certificate program is being offered for international students, as well. This program is for students from different countries who want help getting a career in the U.S., Wickstrom said.
Zelda Gardner, senior assistant director of career counseling and campus outreach, said that the Career Center’s campus outreach is designed to make programs and workshops available for students to help “educate them on how to make decisions in regarding career interest … and how to create really strong application materials overall.”
Gardner said students may see professional staff presenting during class time, discussing topics like exploring careers, having professional etiquette, networking, and job searching and researching.
She also said she recommends students talk to others about career advice in addition to the Career Center staff including family, professors and advisors.
“I think that every single person you talk to, hopefully, is going to provide you with some information that might help you make a decision regarding your career that you can feel confident about; one that’s going to help you explore your options and help you gain more experience.”
Taylor can be reached at [email protected]