A table and board filled with Career Services Center information on Wednesday, Oct. 16. // Photo by Ana Soltero
By Ana Soltero
Laughter, enthusiastic conversation and friendly greetings poured out of a tucked away corner in Old Main.
The Career Services Center held their open house on Wednesday, Oct. 16 for students to meet the staff and learn about the resources they offer to the Western community.
“It is really just a way to welcome the Western community to our space and [a way of] making sure that everyone on campus knows who we are,” Jenny Spurgin, assistant director and employer relations and outreach of the Career Services Center, said.
The center’s vision is to help create, “a world where everyone is empowered to achieve their career goals and live their best life,” according to their website.
Six separate stations were set-up: the LinkedIn photo booth, a tour of the Career Services Center interview rooms, a drop-in advising center, an introduction to Viking CareerLink, a tour of the career closet and drop-in presentations.
There were also info tables set up for the PeaceCorps, WHOLE, the Office of Sustainability, mending and sewing– related to the career closet– the Student Employment Center and MBA Services.
The open house is also a way of making sure students and faculty know where their new spaces, such as their interview rooms, and other resources are, Spurgin said.
“It was important for us to have the open house … so students could come and they could become familiar with [the Career Services Center],” Effie Eisses, director of the Career Services Center, said. “We have done a whole bunch of new initiatives that we want people to be aware of.”
One of the new initiatives is the career closet. The career closet consists of gently used professional clothing that students can take for free. The only requirement is that you have to make an appointment with them to let them know you are coming in.
“We do not want a student to ever say, ‘I’m not going to that interview because I don’t have the right clothes to wear,’” Eisses said.
The goal of the career closet is to provide free, professional attire for Western students and alumni for any professional event, Madeline Rosenvinge said. Rosenvinge was the career closet’s intern over the summer and is now a Master of Business Administration candidate.
“If there is a job fair, an interview or a presentation they need to give, students have a place to come and see what we have and not have to spend $300 on a new suit,” she said.
The Career Services Center also offers drop-in advising and help practicing for interviews.
“We only have three career counselors for our 16,000 students,” Eisses said. “We do not want to make students have to wait if they have an important job interview and they need their résumé to be looked at because it is due the next day. So, we implemented drop-in advising.”
The Career Services Center offers help preparing for an interview year-round by appointment. According to their website, the nature of an interview is simulated by a facilitator asking the individual a set of questions. The mock interview lasts about 20 to 30 minutes.
Viking CareerLink is another service provided by the Career Services Center.
“Viking CareerLink is like an online job board specifically for Western students. It’s kind of like Indeed or Craigslist,” Haley Goodwin, a peer advisor in the Career Services Center, said.
This job board houses opportunities not only for post-graduate jobs on there, but also for internships, she said.
The Career Services Center offered a LinkedIn photo booth during the open house, where a student could come in to have their LinkedIn profile picture professionally taken, and later meet with a career counselor to go over their profile. Although the photo booth was only for the open house, the Career Services Center offers year-round LinkedIn help to struggling students.
According to an article from 99firms.com about LinkedIn statistics, LinkedIn is used by 92% of Fortune 500 companies.
“If there is one message I want people to know, [it] is [that] we have a really awesome team of people who really care about student success and are dedicated to helping students achieve the outcome that they have for themselves,” Eisses said.