Blue shirts swarm the third floor of the university center, as the men and women of Career Services juggle multiple appointments for students who are searching for the best career option for their future. They show dedication to the students by providing internships, part-time and full-time position across the states, and around the world.
Resumes, cover letters and the perfect job, are all common thoughts inside students minds when they are preparing to take on the ever-impending job market. Deep breathing, confident thoughts and good questions are important when preparing for a job fairs and possible interviews. Teaching these skills requires patience and the willingness to improve every student possible and prepare them for their futures.
“We are always looking for new services,” said Leslie Mills, associate director for Career Services, “and also to take the resources we have now and make them more available to students and get them into student’s hands.”
The career counselors advise students on a daily basis on how to properly prepare themselves for the future they desire. Advisors have to have the ability to adapt to all kinds of personalities they encounter as well as to make appropriate and helpful decisions for the students This is just one of the skills that many of the advisors have inside this department.
“Resumes are the foundation for every student who wants a personalized occupation opportunity after their education, and resume building also happens to be career services most used service,” Mills said. “One widely used tool used is the career exploration assessment. Where students take a test to highlight their personal skills and qualities that they might not be aware of or underestimate about themselves.”
From freshman to graduates, the services provided the career counselors try to acclimate to suit each student wants and needs.
“If someone has a certain major, say business, we can assist on expanding that information (degree), and what they can use their degrees for,” Mills said. “Or if students are debating on changing their major, like changing it to engineering; we say ‘ok’ what are your options. We have a group of assessments called “choices 360” that we use with students, and basically use their interest and personality traits, and develops a profile for that student.”
Paying attention to detail is how the advisers help students assess where they are in terms of preparedness for possible future interviews. Career Services is able to observe and make professional decisions on what is best suited for each student.
Nancy Salinas, a senior career counselor for the College of Liberal Arts, spoke of an introverted geographic science major who had a resume that was lacking in certain areas and was being pressured by his family to quickly find a job after college.
“Blank stares were all that was given when someone recommended career services to the GIS student,” Salinas said.
Even though Salinas said he was intelligent and had a great GPA, his conversation skills to interview for the job he desired was not meeting the standards that the student desired.
“His resume had his name on it, and that was it,” Salinas said. “I asked him why get became interested in geographic science, and he couldn’t answer me, I told him this is what is really going to help me build your resume.”
Both Salinas and the student worked on eight individual mock interviews and improvement was made each time. Salinas could see his hard work paying off and felt he was ready to try going to a college fair where he could test his conversation skills and a possible informal interview.
He not only succeeded in engaging conversation, but acquired a real interview for his desired company. After his interview, he was invited to eat dinner with the president of the company and his other recruiters.
“The president of that company pulls out his resume, during the dinner and said, this is the best resume that I’ve seen in a long time coming from a student,” Salinas said. “The cover letter was so well written and the president of the company told him it’s exactly what he expected from a first-year professional, and he was very fitting for that job.”
The counselors cannot write out every resume single handedly, but they are able to help those students reevaluate what skills they already possess. They assist them by honing those skills and applying them to their resumes and help when they are ready to tackle interviews.
Recently Career Services hosted a graduate fair that held a variety of schools offering different programs like pre-med, business and even a specialized veterinary program. Students such as Nicole Olvera, a junior bio-medical sciences major, heard from one of her professors about the event.
“I was able to find more direct information here, online, like how grad school will be and what to expect,” Olvera said. “Just hearing it from somebody in person rather than online was nice, because they had the answers right away. I was a little hesitant at first, but I thought it would be a good idea, and it was, so I would definitely visit another one.”
Success stories grow every year and each counselor brings a different skill set that supports the particular field of education which they help the students. Career Services is able to give the like-minded career seeking student’s multiple events during each semester that create opportunity for individual students as Olvera to get a few steps closer to their future.
“I met with my counselor for my college last semester, and I’ll visit with them every semester after that,” Olvera said.
Hard work and dedication are what Career Services brings to the Island University and are the advisers are able to bring about significant change in student confidence during interviews and that confidence pushes them onto the professional path of their choosing.