Career Services Kickoff sparks Bobcats to take charge, face future
By Catherine Harper
A recent study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that employers plan to hire 9.5 percent more recent graduates in 2011-12 than in 2010-11. By utilizing Texas State’s Career Services, Bobcats can get a leg up on the competition with a loaded reserve of resources and opportunities.
On Wednesday, Feb. 1, Career Services invites students to meet with employers and learn more about upcoming events at the Career Services Kickoff from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the LBJ Amphitheater. With music, giveaways, and information about job fairs and services — as well as employers discussing job and internship opportunities with students — Bobcats can learn the steps to climb ahead toward their dream career.
Career advisor Allison Birk sat down with us for a Q&A about the Career Services Kickoff, career preparation and more:
TXST: What opportunities will be available at the Kickoff tomorrow?
AB: We have four employers that will be present, including Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Kohl’s, Jason’s Deli and TTI. We’ll be providing sodas, waters and koozies. The employers will be there because they have some type of job opportunity, whether it’s a part-time job, internship or maybe even a full-time position. They’re from an array of industries, so any student’s bases could be covered.
TXST: What should students expect to do at the Kickoff?
AB: We don’t expect students to dress up and it’s not an intimidating thing, they can just come and chit-chat with employers. They could meet with any type of employer and be able to just talk about where they want to go in the future and possibly line something up. It’s a very mini-job fair, but it will be good for students to talk about jobs in an informal way.
TXST: Who can use Career Services?
AB: All of our events are open to everybody. We do have a number of niche fairs such as a Mass Comm Fair, a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Job Fair and many others, but they’re certainly open for all students and even alumni to attend. What’s great about Texas State is that we allow alumni to use our services free of charge. We’re here for students, and if students don’t take advantage of us while they’re enrolled here, they can still come back and we’re happy to help.
TXST: Why should students use Career Services?
AB: It’s really about the students just being prepared for their job search. We typically see seniors coming in about mid- to late April; they’re pulling their hair out and they’re stressed because they don’t know what they should do. We’re here to ease a lot of that stress. Moreover, we prepare students gradually over the different years that they’re here, so that hopefully when they graduate they will already have a job secured or be well on their way to securing full time employment.
TXST: How do resources such as interviewing, résumé help and job shadowing guide students on the right path for their careers?
AB: Your résumé is your selling point to your employer. We want students to have the most awesome résumé that they can have to secure a job. The job search is stressful and daunting and nobody wants to do it, so when we help students prepare we hope they won’t have to go on so many job interviews, that we can help them lock in the job. We give students different ways to have their résumé looked over: they can submit it online to be critiqued in a 48-hour period or they can come in and meet with a counselor. They can come in for a mock interview with a counselor, which could either be staged to suit a specific job interview or actually be with an employer in our offices, or they can take part in a job shadowing opportunity that we set up. Our goal is to assist students at any part of their job search process. We’re here to help at any time.
TXST: What is the best time to start discovering career options, even if a student isn’t graduating soon?
AB: People develop at different paces, and it’s always good to plan ahead. That doesn’t mean if a student doesn’t plan ahead, there’s no hope for them, because there’s always hope. You have to look at it on the flip side. For example, some students can’t fit an internship into their schedule because they’re working almost full-time to help them get through school. We can help these students articulate this work on their résumé so that — even though they didn’t have something like a public relations internship — the skills they’re using in their job are shown as very parallel to the industry that they’re about to join. It’s always ideal to start early and not procrastinate. However — just like cramming for a test — students do it sometimes. So if they don’t come see us until their spring semester of their senior year, no big deal; we’ll go with it and help them out.
TXST: When is the best time to start applying for jobs and internships?
AB: It really depends on the industry. For jobs, if you’re graduating in May, I would suggest to start after spring break just to get into the groove of looking at different employers. If you start too early, you might stress yourself out since you’re still juggling school and tests. But for all students who come see us early, we can help them pinpoint the specific industry they’re trying to go into and what might be the best time for that particular student to start applying in their industry.
TXST: Why should students attend the Kickoff on Wednesday, Feb. 1?
AB: The Kickoff gets students in touch with Career Services. Some students don’t know there’s a fifth floor in the LBJ Student Center [where Career Services is located]. We’re just trying to get our name out there and also bring employers to students. It’s really just a meet-and-greet with fun activities, so it’s not so intimidating for students to come talk to a campus office. Some students are hesitant about coming to Career Services and don’t want to ask us what we do because it seems too formal. We’ll be out there drinking Diet Cokes in jeans and T-shirts, so it’s very accessible to students. They can see a list of our events for the entire semester, including next week’s Summer Job Fair, and talk to employers. We want to encourage students to take part in more of our events for their future.
To learn more about Career Services, visit their website or e-mail CareerServices@txstate.edu.