Photo: Madeline Wilbanks, The West Georgian

Career Services Give Students a Jumpstart

Seniors graduating in spring of 2021 have a little less than three months before graduation hits on May 12. Many seniors, while taking classes, have focused on preparing themselves for the workforce by searching for jobs, preparing their resume, filling out applications and preparing their reference letters. UWG Career Services is one of the many useful tools that students at UWG can utilize to help prepare them for the workforce and obtain internships.

“At career services we help students all the way from their freshman year, where it is beginning to look at career major exploration,” said Assistant Director of Student Employment, Kara Clark. “So if they are not 100% sure what major they want to do, we help direct them into that exploration piece. Then going up through your sophomore, junior year really looking at internships—building that resume up so that when you get close to graduation you have that experience on your resume to help you find that career after graduation.”

One of the main focuses of Career Services is to encourage students to gain experience while they are in college, and allow for help and guidance when looking for opportunities to earn experience. This is especially important for students who are nearing graduation.

“It’s very important,” said Clark. “A lot of students think just because they get their degree that they’re set for their future. But actually, it’s what you do leading up to graduation that is more important than what happens after. So that is building up that experience and knowing that you are indeed in the right major for what career you are wanting in the future.

“The biggest challenge is not having the experience for what employers are looking out for in the world,” continued Clark. “A lot of students think that since they are graduating with a management degree, that they are going to be able to go and be this automatic manager. Where they had zero experience in leadership or anything like that. We make sure that they are building up that experience prior to graduation.”

Although Career Services is provided at UWG to help them throughout their college career. Many students are unaware of just how beneficial it can be. Clark says that students who utilize their services have a higher rate of finding a job after graduation compared to those who do not.

“When you graduate we ask you to fill out what’s called a first destination survey,” said Clark. “That first destination survey is asking questions of ‘Do you have a job plan after graduation?, Do you have a job that you are going straight into after graduation? If you do, where is it? Is it full-time? What is your estimated salary that you will be making?.’ We actually see a pretty good high return rate of the students that use our services, and are able to fill that out. They are not just going blindly, searching for a job after graduation, a lot of them have secure jobs prior to graduation.”

Career Services also offers students the opportunity to be connected with employers for a chance at an internship. Career Services has connections within the community to allow students easy access to internships and skill building opportunities both on and off campus.

“We actually have what’s called an exponential learning specialist in our department,” said Clark. “Students can set up an appointment with them and they actually can walk you through different internship opportunities that we have available from our partners around the community. That department specialist sees about four or five appointments a day regarding internship searches.

“Even if your program does not require an internship, taking that step out and getting that internship is important,” continued Clark. “It’s getting involved in clubs and organizations on campus. If you are holding a leadership position in an organization that is showing leadership skills. It’s getting those soft and transferable skills that you can only get when you get experience.”

Clark encourages students to still take advantage of career services even if they are about to graduate. Especially when it comes to gaining feedback on resumes, job searching and interview practice.

“Our career coach, Ian Houston is amazing,” said Clark. “So even if you feel like you’re a little behind the eight ball he can at least kinda help you get going in the right direction. It’s always better late than never.”

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