Career Services has sought to better equip students through its Career Exploration Series, where several new industry panels are given throughout the semester.
“It’s good for students to hear the positive aspects as well as the challenges that are a part of different careers,” Associate Director of Career Services Jennifer Smith said.
The series was jump-started by Smith, with the panels hosted by alumni professionals from industries such as communication.
According to Smith, students were able to benefit from this program because it allowed them to learn from panelists about both the positive and challenging aspects of different careers.By asking questions about their current job and career path, students were also able to ask about helpful tips within their field.
The ultimate goal of Career Services is to help students prepare and stand out while pursuing their careers. Taking the time to network and learn from others is crucial to student success, according to Smith.
As senior Lydia Vi prepares to graduate, the advice offered by panelists helped her gain insight into the job-search process.
“It was helpful to hear from those individuals and their different perspectives and how they evolved through their experiences,” Vi said.
With the end of the industry panels, Career Services is preparing to gear up for their next new initiative. They will be introducing a job shadowing program to allow students the opportunity to observe an employee performing their daily work routine as they normally would at their job, Smith explained.
“It allows you to explore specific careers and to get a realistic picture of the tasks performed for that job…[it] is a great way to gain experience, network, and ask questions,” Smith said.
With the semester more than halfway through, it is important to utilize the available resources for students to seek summer employment and do not know where to start, according to Smith.
“Handshake has a multitude of resources to assist you…[it] is a great place to start when looking for a job,” Smith said.
Smith has three tips for students to always remember. These are to take initiative and utilize Handshake as a resource, learn your strengths and know how to best communicate them in both interviews and written form, and take initiative and be strategic in building relationships and gaining experience. Platforms like LinkedIn and networking with professionals and alumni to conduct informational interviews are just a few key concepts, Smith said.
“Make sure to present yourself in a positive manner with integrity at all times. Some estimate that upwards of 85 percent of open positions are filled by networking. Who you know does matter, so get to know people,” she said.
With new initiatives and improvements in place, the Career Services Department’s staff has also made the addition of alumna Debby Dodd, who graduated from Vanguard in 2000.
“Her experience and commitment to the mission of VU make her a great addition to our team,” Smith said.