Is the Career Center Helpful?

posted in: April 2013, Opinion | 0
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By Mara Bernstein

As seniors are quickly preparing to graduate, the time has come for them to decide what they are going to do after May.

While this can be daunting for most students, the university’s Career Center is here to help.

“We try to help seniors find what they want to do after graduation in multiple ways. Through individual career assistance appointments, programs such as career fairs, career panels and workshops, class presentations and even career field trips to places such as the U.S. Secret Service, Wolf Trap and the Smithsonian,” said Kate Juhl, the program director at the Career Center.

You do not have to be a senior to utilize the Career Center. Everyone uses the center— from freshmen to alumni who graduated 20 years ago, Juhl said.

“This school has prepared me for the future by allowing me to take on two internships at different physical therapy clinics in the area,” said senior kinesiology major Dan Soler, who is going to Drexel University’s physical therapy school in the fall.

However, some students, like Soler, seem to figure out their post-graduation plans without any assistance from the Career Center.

“I’ve found that journalism is such a specific field that the Career Center didn’t have anything for me,” said senior journalism major Sarah Albert.

Both Soler and Albert said that just being at this university alone helped them get where they wanted to be.

“Coming from Merrill [School of Journalism] at the University of Maryland is a really respected program, which helped me get internships, and all of that has led me to a job,” Albert said.

Internships helped Solar gain insight into what he wanted to do with his future. “The classes I have taken in the kinesiology program have also prepared me well for many things I will see in PT school,” Soler said.

While Soler and Albert didn’t use the Career Center, many students do, according to Juhl.

“We really try to reach out to younger students to get them engaged with our center earlier in their academic careers,” Juhl said. “There are so many good opportunities you will miss if you wait until your senior year to connect with us. Even seniors who do not come into our center for help often take advantage of some of our online tools, which include our very large job and internship posting database, Careers4Terps.”

Careers4Terps allows students to participate in on-campus interview programs, create and upload profiles available to employers through Resume Books, and learn about upcoming career news and fairs.

The Career Center advises students to keep their profiles complete and current after registering on Careers4Terps. They recommend updating and searching through job and internship posts regularly. Students can set up a search agent that sends recently posted jobs and internships directly to their email.

After finding an applicable job or internship posting, the Career Center recommends students make an appointment at the Career Center so a staff member can go over their resume and the related documents before posting directly to the Career4Terps website.

“Research by NACE [the National Association of Colleges and Employers] has shown that students who utilize their career centers are more successful in securing internships and opportunities post-graduation,” Juhl said.

Kyle Clark, a senior economics major, wants to be an entrepreneur one day, and went to the Career Center to look for internships.

“It helped me narrow down possibilities, now I know what I don’t want to do,” Clark said.

The Career Center can be very helpful for many students on campus, but it still isn’t utilized as often as it could be.

Lexi Neaman is a senior communications major. Although she did not use the Career Center, she said since her major was so specific it led her to applications, and she will be working at a PR firm after graduation.

“The only time I went in to make an appointment to talk to someone about internships, they asked me if I had seen the website,” said sophomore sociology major Lauren Morton. “They said once I had looked at the website I should come back.”

According to Morton, students don’t go to the Career Center because if you don’t know what you’re looking for, they don’t always make an appointment with you.

While the Career Center is one resource for students who need guidance, it’s equally important to seek guidance within each individual school and major.

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