By Madison Montemayor
I have been working at Career Services since my first semester of college, when I came in looking for job search guidance. After crafting my resume from the given resources, I sat down with Jerry Houser and received more specialized advice and support than I could have possibly expected. Soon after, I applied for the front desk position, and I have been here ever since.
I know our office is a scary place for some people. I too still have no idea what I’d like to do after college, and sometimes avoid making appointments to talk about my future. However, I know by using these resources and talking to staff members, I am also more prepared for life post-Willamette. Preparing professional materials is not always fun or easy, but my resume and network is better for it. And now after working at Career Services for so long, I want to dispel a few rumors about our office and make sure other students still receive these important services.
Rumor #1: Career Services doesn’t have any staff .
Actually, we do have a staff. Yes, it is true we do not have a director or a full-time career counselor. However, we still have workers here who want to help you. Judy O’Neil comes twice a week from the MBA school to help students as a professional career counselor, and you can make an appointment with her by calling our office or coming in.
Plus, Career Services has 8 student staff members who are all trained in resume reviews, job search techniques, and more. We hold drop-in hours every Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, and we also run workshops throughout the year to help students make a plan for the future, network effectively, develop job materials and more. So please keep coming in; we are still here to help, and we want to make sure Willamette students succeed.
Rumor #2: They can’t give specialized advice or they only push resources.
It is true that sometimes we may not have the exact answer. But by and large, we definitely have some information on what you’re looking for, be it entry-level jobs or internships, application materials, professional grants, personal goal development and more.
Some of this support does come in the form of resources, be it websites to check out or handouts to complete. This is not because we don’t have the answers, but rather to make sure you all will be able to succeed after college. As liberal arts students, we have a natural curiosity to learn, and our office hopes this includes preparing for the job market after college. It is much more valuable for us to share with you five websites specific to your interest and a worksheet on developing your elevator pitch than to tell you who to apply to. We want you to be successful throughout your professional lives, and we think that starts by us showing you the how.
There are plenty of valid arguments behind these sentiments, and I’m not here to dispute those. If you had a bad experience with our office, I am really sorry. But, we cannot improve without feedback from students. I personally hadn’t heard these feelings until I asked if I could write this Op-Ed, which means I couldn’t do anything about them until now. So please tell us how we can better improve, be it through an email or the suggestion link in our weekly newsletter, Career Talk.
But there’s a more important way you can help us change. Willamette is currently working to hire a new Director of Career Services, and I know they will want to help students in anyway they can. Make sure to look out for our Candidate events in Career Talk and on Facebook to ask questions and make sure our next director serves Willamette.
And in the meantime, make sure to keep coming to Career Services. Our University will never prioritize Career Services (and therefore our student’s professional development) if not enough students are utilizing the available resources effectively. Angry about the disappearance of retreats? Having trouble making an appointment? Then please don’t give up on us, and instead make sure the administration knows our students need more.