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Career Center focuses on future

Searching for professional employment after graduation can often be a daunting and intimidating task.

The Career Center works to better prepare students for the job-search process.

Daniel Van Hoose, Assistant Director for the Career Center, said the center uses feedback from professional employers to better teach students how to handle the sometimes difficult job search process. This includes teaching students how to prepare a resume that will catch an employer’s eye and helping students to develop skills that will help them give a good, solid interview.”We provide direct student services for students seeking employment,” he said. “We are 100 percent successful in job search coaching.”

Van Hoose said the Career Center aids students in the search for employment. It provides students with several services that help them develop their resume and interview skills as well as find both full-time and part-time work. These resources are available to students from the moment they begin their freshman year at USF up until six months after graduation, he said.

Van Hoose said the goal of the center is to teach students from different majors how best to find the job they desire.”A lot of students have the misconception that we’re an employment agency,” he said. “We act as job search coaches.”

Van Hoose said students are aided in employer research and are provided with individual coaching.

“Students bring all kinds of career goals to us and we work with what they need,” he said.

The coaching techniques involved in helping students reach their goals include tips to better prepare a resume as well as practice interview sessions, Van Hoose said. In these practice interview sessions, a student participates in a 10 to 15 minute taped interview session. After the taping session the student analyzes his or her performance with a counselor, he said.

“Most students would benefit a great deal from going to the interview workshops,” he said.

In addition to coaching students in finding a desirable job, staff of the Career Center refer resumes to employers and help students find jobs which best meet their needs. The staff does this by entering resumes into their database and finding comparisons between what students want and what potential employers are seeking.

“We will refer those resumes to employers that look like a potential match,” he said.

Van Hoose said students sometimes have misconceptions as to the professional job search process. He said students sometimes believe that finding a professional degree job is like finding a part-time job they may have had during college.”Professional employers have higher standards,” he said.

Van Hoose said a successful job search often requires between four and six interviews to reach between two and three second interviews. This process can take between two and nine months, he said.

Van Hoose said students should begin preparing their job search three semesters before graduation.

“(Students) need a full semester of just preparing to do a job search,” he said. “Spread over a semester, you don’t have to be in panic mode.”

Van Hoose said 20 to 40 hours of work is needed to compile a solid one-page resume. A good resume includes good grades and experience, he said.

“It’s no longer just a degree. It’s no longer just experience. It’s both,” he said.

According to Van Hoose, many of the employees at the Career Center have experience as career specialists. They have the unique experience of seeing job recruiting from both the side of the employer and the side of the job-seeking student.

Katy Schroeder, Special Events Coordinator for the Career Center, is one such employee who has previous experience in human resources. She works on the Employer Relations Team, which helps bring potential employers to campus. She said the Career Center provides between three and five job fairs yearly on campus with many different employers.

“We have some employers we have worked with for years,” she said.

Schroeder said the job fairs have between 160 and 210 companies represented. She said the goal of her team is to discover which majors are not represented and find a way to serve those students.

“It is important to find students needs and meet those needs,” she said.

Schroeder said the career center is in the process of surveying employers. Many employers, she said, believe work experience to be important in the hiring process.

“A number of employers actually hire from interns,” she said.Schroeder said another common thing heard from employers is that students could be better prepared for their interviews and could also work harder on presentation. Employers suggest students be versed on fashion and etiquette and do research on the company before the interview, she said.

“Doing as much up-front preparation as possible is important,” she said. “The more they practice the more prepared they’d be for what (employers) throw at them.”

Schroeder said the Career Center works hard to have employers come on campus for interviews and for career fairs.

In addition to these services, the Career Center operates a Web site which provides a job-search link on which employers post listings for full-time, part-time and intern listings. Also online is a resume referral system, which electronically transfers students’ resumes to potential employers.

The Career Center provides students with individual advising and job search workshops. These are meant to help students hone their skills and effectively find employment. Schroeder said the Career Center is always working to provide better service to the students.

“We’re always changing and always growing,” she said. “It’s a great place to work.”