Perspective: Career services and the students

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Matthias Andrews is a junior math major.

The new Career Services seems to have acquired a bold new strategy in addition to their red-stapler stencils and new offices in Augustine. Two weeks ago, I received an email from their office which stated that it is a university requirement that all seniors by credit hour draft a resume to send them within a week. It’s not very clear to me what it means to be a “university requirement,” nor what would happen to me if I didn’t get it in by the due date. Would I not be allowed to graduate? Will I be sucked behind a desk in Carpenter soon after May 2013? In addition, when you are the kind of student that I am – and you know you are – extra homework is particularly odious, especially homework that isn’t really necessary until I actually enter my senior year next fall.  So why be so pushy now and impose these unnecessary deadlines?
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David Hannegan graduated in the Class of 2011 with a degree in Business.

My first experience with Career Services was in the fall of 2008 when I stopped by their Carpenter office to set up an appointment.  Three weeks and a pile of paperwork later, I finally was able to meet with the counselor for a short and impersonal meeting which proved unhelpful.  After this experience, I discarded Career Services as a place to get real professional help.

Upon hearing the news of a new director (Julie Janik) in spring of 2011, however, I decided to give them another chance.  I sent Ms. Janik an e-mail and had an appointment the very next day.  She gave me a quick resume workshop, made a detailed plan for the next steps in my job search and scheduled a follow-up appointment for the following week so we could touch base on my progress.
As well as Ms. Janik, the other staff have also been both helpful and professional.  Over the past few months, the office has both called and e-mailed me every other week to see how my job search is going.  Moreover, counseling appointments have been very easy to line up and the various officers have even offered to contact companies to recommend several of my friends to employers.  With this new professional and proactive approach, the new staff in Career Services has certainly transformed this service from an inefficient and at times incompetent service to a valuable asset in finding a job.
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Inez Garza graduated in the Class of 2011 with a degree in Biology.

My first experience with Career Services came in the spring semester of my senior year. Hearing that the office staff had recently been changed up, I set up an appointment right away with one of the new staff members, Julie Janik.  Just a few minutes into our meeting, I was already feeling more confident about my professional plans.  Ms. Janik was very positive and helped me tweak my resume down to the smallest detail, making it more presentable and ensuring that it highlighted my skills.

As well as fine-tuning resumes, the new staff in Career Services have also proved very helpful in assisting students in job searches.  Anytime I found a job listing I was interested in, I would send Ms. Janik a copy of the job description, and she would help me gear my resume toward that specific position.

Furthermore, Ms. Janik has taken the time during these past months to call me every other week to see how the job search is going.  After one of these conversations, Ms. Janik managed to find a University of Dallas alumnus who was working at the hospital where I was applying and get him to write me a letter of recommendation, which later led to an interview.  Without a doubt, the new Career Services at UD has been a remarkable aid in my job search for which I am very thankful.
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Louis Hannegan is the Commentary Editor and a junior politics major.

Career Services has made a conspicuous and creative effort to make its services known.  This energetic approach has produced a mixed reaction:  Some complain about the new demands on seniors while others poke fun at the talking stapler, cliché titles and shameless use of cookies as an incentive for attendance.  Though perhaps guilty of all of these charges, this boldly proactive approach is just what University of Dallas students need.

As students of the great books, we tend to absorb ourselves in reading and discussing the timeless ideas these volumes contain, and we lose sight of the professional world outside this intellectual bubble.  From this angle, the thought of “professional development” often seems like a rude interruption of our intellectual musings and conversation.

Our challenge to engage in life beyond UD has acquired even more significance in the current economic conditions.  Given the unemployment rate, even entry-level jobs have become highly competitive.  Where students would have previously been competing against other students they now often face experienced professionals. To beat this level of competition, students will need that much more motivation to plan ahead and put in the necessary time and effort.

Though perhaps a little demanding and cliché at times, the more energetic Career Services is the perfect remedy to this challenge.  Aware of both our tendency to prefer the intellectual to the professional and the current state of our economy, the new staff has come out to engage us rather than waiting for us to find them.  From cold calling alumni to see how the job search is going, to placing creative advertisements throughout campus, to requiring seniors to submit a resume, the new staff is pushing even the most unmotivated student to think about his professional plans.

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