Students should take control of their careers

Shauntel Hall

For the past year that I have worked as an intern for the Office of Career Services I have noticed a problem. Students are unaware of the purpose of Career Services and don’t utilize them until the last minute: senior year.

This isn’t unusual behavior for college students. We have a habit of putting things off until the last minute. However, when it comes to securing jobs or careers, maybe it’s time to be a bit more proactive.

Whether it is inside or outside of the classroom, I consistently hear individuals from my department (communication arts) criticize Career Services. The most common complaint is that they don’t bring enough employers on campus that relate to their fields.

I think that before students place the blame on Career Services in this regard, they should consider the demand of their majors in the job market.

According to Heather Scarboro, coordinator of Career Programs and Events for Career Services, students see a lot of technology or logistics companies because “they hire in such mass that it makes sense for them to actively recruit on college campuses and specifically at career fairs.”

It’s no secret that industries that fall underneath the umbrella of communication arts are competitive jobs. Most companies actively receive tons of applicants year-round, so there really is no need to travel to recruit talent on college campuses.

When it comes to getting jobs, students who desire employment in the creative field tend to have to work a little harder than other majors because of competition and the current job market.

Students who never utilize the help of Career Services or procrastinate until their senior year fail to realize that they are robbing themselves of professional development skills that they need in order to be competitive candidates when searching for jobs.

As a student in the communication arts department, I have found that participating in things such as Resume Boot Camp, Mock Interview Day, and even attending various career fairs add to your professional development.

While some of the career fairs may not include companies that students ideally would want to work for in the future, this could be used as an opportunity to practice their elevator pitches and networking skills so that they are prepared to interact with the employers that they do wish to work for in the future.

I understand that as a freshman you’re probably not thinking about jobs just yet, but your sophomore and junior years are times that you should acquaint yourself with Career Services in order to learn how to build and perfect a resume, learn about potential opportunities in your field, and attend different events.

These are small steps to take to ensure that during senior year you are prepared with the skills it takes to interview properly, interact with recruiters and approach the job search process with confidence, rather than doing this all at once and freaking out because of the stress of it all.

As students who are soon to be professionals, it is time that we take some accountability in securing our professional careers. Don’t sit around, wait and complain when you can be proactive and begin taking responsibility for what occurs in your future.