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Career Services plots the course to grads’ futures

9-7 Career Fair (Mujtaba Al Rashed)-28.jpg
Students and employers attend the Career Fair at Weber State University in Sept 2016. Weber State University's Career Services, who organizes Career Fair, helps students seeking employment or graduate school programs. (Mujtaba Al Rashed / The Signpost)

“Make the Connection” is the tagline for Weber State University’s Careers Services Center, a campus resource dedicated to help students find access to employment and graduate school.

Winn Stanger, Ph.D., director of Career Services, invites students to take advantage of the support the office offers.

“Career Services is one of the most important ways for students to prepare for the workforce,” Stanger said.

Stanger said their mission is to help students answer three simple questions: Who you are, where do you want to go and how do you get there?

Different personality and skill assessments are offered at Career Services ranging from no cost to $15, according to junior Kyle Hole, a student employee at Career Services.

Hole said these assessments are helpful in discovering personal traits, preferences and skills that mesh well with certain industries, careers and graduate school programs.

“We recommend these assessments for any students who don’t know what they want to study or for students who are just curious,” Hole said. “They give you a good direction where to go.”

And that leads to the second mission of Career Services: helping students know where to go.

After you find out what kinds of industries are a good match for you, Stanger suggests researching specific companies.

Instead of shooting in the dark and going on websites, Career Services invites students to meet with career counselors.

“Counselors talk to employers all the time. It’s good to know a counselor, so you can get the latest information about companies,” Hole said.

Career Counselor Jacob Wilkey offered advice for students seeking to meet employers.

“Go to career fairs,” he said. “These are a great way to meet employers…. Sometimes employers will even set up interviews the same day as the fair.”

Stanger said making connections — through career fairs, for example — is one of the most powerful influences in who hires you.

“It comes down to what you know, who you know and who knows you,” Stanger said.

Person-organization fit is important. Research the culture and values of a company and see how those align with your goals and standards, Stanger advised.

Once you discover companies you are interested in applying for, Career Services is able to help you get ready to apply for the job.

“You want to be as prepared as possible,” Wilkey said.

One way to be prepared is mock interviews. During these interviews, Career Services employees will practice interpersonal and communication skills that will help you land the job.

“The more intelligently you can talk about a company, the more they will want you,” Stanger said.

Another preparation Wilkey suggests is getting your resume reviewed and revamped by Career Services staff.

“Every resume shouldn’t be the same. When students apply for a job, they should tailor their experience, education and skills to whatever job they are applying for,” Wilkey said.

Perhaps the most crucial aspect to obtaining a job is an internship.

“Internships should be a part of every student’s educational experience,” Stanger said.

He then provided statistics, saying that 89 percent of companies will hire an applicant who has had an internship somewhere before hiring an applicant with the same qualifications but no internship experience.

Stanger added that 70 percent of companies hire interns who worked for them.

“Education plus experience equals success,” Stanger said.

Career Services has the resources to put students in touch with both of those keys to success.

“If you haven’t been to the Career Service — come in,” Hole said. “We have great advice on how to find careers and connections with employers who are looking for graduates.”

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