Heart of the Matter

Andy Chan's Blog for Parents, Mentors and Teachers

Debunking An OPCD Myth

A common misperception among students, parents and faculty is that the Office of Personal & Career Development primarily helps students interested in business or who study business as their major. Contrary to this myth, the OPCD supports students from all backgrounds and with diverse interests. We have a number of resources and initiatives dedicated to students who are especially interested in non-business and non-traditional career fields.

The first method in which we assist these students is by bringing a diverse group of organizations and employers to campus. A recent example is the CIA information session in which 145 students attended! In information sessions, representatives from the organization discuss the opportunities available, the daily work life, the desired skills and attributes for applicants, and logistical information about the application process. Representatives always remain after the formal presentation to engage with eager students who want to learn more about their experience and their organization. These information sessions are a valuable opportunity for students to interact with potential employers and learn more about an industry or organization without even leaving campus. Examples of other notable employers include Teach For America, Gallup Polling, City Year and the State Department.

The second initiative is a pilot program for seniors interested in non-profit careers. A number of seniors have joined Non-Profit Career Action groups in which they meet with a dedicated career counselor to help guide them in the job search process focused on non-profit careers. These groups meet three times in the fall semester to help students prepare for the search process. After each group meeting, they are given “homework” by their counselor such as conducting informational interviews or bolstering their LinkedIn profile. In the spring semester, these groups meet three more times to hold them accountable in executing their job search strategy. These groups help students secure non-profit careers which is often difficult because the non-profit sector does not have structured recruiting and hiring timelines and processes like those in large corporations.

The third resource the OPCD offers to students are Career Weeks. These weeks are focused on unique career fields and are intentionally timed throughout the year to correspond with the recruiting and hiring timelines of the relevant careers. For instance, from February 4-8, the OPCD will be sponsoring the Advertising/PR/Event Planning week, which is an area of significant student interest. During those five days, alumni panelists will discuss their experience, dynamics in their job, organization and industry, and important job search and career management advice. In addition, internship search strategy workshops will be held for students seeking to get their foot in the door in these competitive career fields. Finally, the week will culminate with a 25-student career trek to Woodbine advertising agency to experience get a hands-on view of life in advertising. Last year, several students who visited Woodbine were hired as summer interns!

Outside of these examples, OPCD has numerous other resources and programs to assist students interested in non-business and non-traditional careers, as well as graduate school options. Encourage your student to complete their DeaconSource profile and visit the OPCD regardless of his or her interests as we have the capabilities and resources to help your child navigate the path from college to career with clarity, competence, and confidence.

Category: Educational Events, OPCD Updates