Job searching can be daunting for any college student, particularly a senior or graduate student seeking long-term employment. The Saint Rose Career Center works with students from the first semester they are on campus through to graduation and beyond – and has a strong record of success. Here, Michele Osborne, the center director for the past 14 years, explains how:
Osborne: The Career Center connects with more than 3,000 students and alumni each year through walk-ins and scheduled appointments, eCareerCenter, recruiting, classroom and group presentations and programming, and events like Career Carnival, Etiquette Dinner, Career Roundtables and EducationExpo.
On using the personal approach:
Osborne: It’s not so much about where the jobs are and helping students find them, it’s about helping them go through a career development process to figure out what they want out of a career, what their passions are and where they want to be geographically.
Then, depending on where the students are in their academic careers, whether first year, second year or so on, we may help them figure out what they want to major in, or what they want to do with that major, or how to get experience, and then, most importantly, how to become marketable and successful in that field.
On how much to worry about employment rates and other market forces:
Osborne: There are always going to be job markets that are more competitive than others and they change. The key is really making the student competitive in that particular field. It’s important for students to make career decisions based on what they are interested in and what they want to do rather than what is popular or where the jobs are at the moment. What the job market looks like today could change in a week or a month, or by the time students graduate. It’s really about picking a career they have the skills for and interest in and are going to be passionate about.
On how high to aim:
Osborne: Students should be as open as they can be about the jobs and the geographic region that they want. A student’s dream job, for example, could be writing for a top newspaper in a top city. It’s a great career goal to have, but there are most likely other steps he or she needs to take along the way. The more open they are geographically and field-wise, the easier it will be for them to find success.
Osborne: eCareerCenter helps students learn about jobs and internships. They often use the site for the first time for work-study positions or graduate assistantships. Everything is located online in one place and accessible through a personal computer.
We post between 3,000 and 4,000 positions each year through the system. The job postings come from employers with whom we have developed relationships. So when they are posting jobs with us, they are specifically saying they are interested in Saint Rose students and alumni. Also, the fact that these employers are posting at a college means they are going to be interested in current students or entry-level young professionals.
In most cases applicants can apply directly through the system, so it weeds out a lot of the paperwork. Students also have access to all of the Saint Rose employers, so even if the company is not currently posting jobs, students have the contact information.
On where to go:
Osborne: We have a wide variety of events throughout the year. In the beginning of the year we have a Career Carnival on the quad with games to get students more comfortable with our office. We have networking events. We have an Etiquette Dinner and an Education Job Fair in the spring. We have résumé critique weeks. We have information sessions where employers come in to do presentations for students. We do résumé collections because an employer may not be local or doesn’t have the opportunity to come to campus but still wants to have a relationship with the school. Résumé collections can then result in an on-campus or off-campus interview.
On recruiting programs:
Information tables are set up outside the Camelot Room three or four times a week. We have had a wide range of employers who come to campus and really want to talk to students. We have had businesses, not-for-profits and school districts. They (offer) internships, full-time employment and part-time employment and volunteer opportunities. Even if the employer isn’t necessarily who the student is looking for, it’s always beneficial to just talk to them.
On how to be a student and a job seeker:
Osborne: How a student balances his or her time between studies and a job search is very individualized.
I’ve seen students in the fall semester of their senior year who are actively getting their materials together, applying to positions and getting excited about the journey. Then there are students on the other side of the spectrum who are not ready for the process. Maybe they don’t want to apply while they are in school or they just couldn’t add that one other thing to the list. Some students are just focusing on getting through school, their part-time jobs and their internships. And that’s okay.
On after graduation:
As an office, we continue to assist and meet with alumni. So when a student graduates it’s not as if we are done and can no longer help them.
On how you know where Saint Rose students land:
Each year, the Career Center surveys graduates a year after graduation to collect employment and continuing education outcome information. The latest statistics show that 94 percent of students who have graduated from Saint Rose employed or furthering their education. The information about where they work and or attend graduate school can be found on the Career Center website at http://www.strose.edu/careercenter.