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Career Center, Advisory Council Add New Services
The additions to the GW Career Center and Career Services Advisory Council are part of the university’s enhancement initiative.
September 24, 2012
The George Washington University Career Center and the Career Services Advisory Council came out of a busy summer offering a slew of new programs, workshops and services for the GW community as part of an ongoing enhancement initiative.
“The GW Career Center is going to continue with the core services that we’ve always provided around skill building, like resumes, cover letters, job searching strategies and interview preparation,” said Robert Snyder, executive director of university initiatives and interim executive director of the GW Career Center. “Those are basic career skills that all students should have. But this fall we’ve also added a whole new series of workshops and services.”
A number of new workshops are now available for students. One is StrengthsQuest, which has been available to School of Business students for several years but is now open to all undergraduate students through monthly workshops offered by the center and is also being specifically used with freshmen who are student-athletes, in the Guide to Personal Success program and in the University Honors Program. The tool measures students’ strengths in 34 “theme” areas, allowing them to use the results to guide decisions in their academics and careers.
Other new workshops offered to students by the center this fall include ones on framing leadership experience for potential employers, building professional etiquette, creating a personal brand and managing a professional social media presence on sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Also new this fall is the launch of the GW Career Success Plan for undergraduate students. The plan outlines eight core competencies and related learning outcomes students should strive to meet during their first and second and third and fourth years. Progress can be tracked online in GWork.
New virtual services are also being made available for George Washington students, many made possible through the shared resources initiative of the advisory council. Using InterviewStream, students can participate in a mock interview in the comfort of their residence hall room or other remote locations. The program asks questions tailored to a specific field and offers advice on how to answer them. Students can upload their interview and analyze it with career services staff.
Also available is Leadership Directories, a database of key contacts at virtually any organization across the country. Undergraduate students now also have the opportunity to use Focus 2, which surveys their strengths and connects them to academic and occupational opportunities. Many of the resources are available to students via GWork, where they can also now sign up and confirm an appointment with the center electronically.
“This is all an effort to make career services at GW more accessible to students and other constituencies, make it easier for them to connect to the various career centers and drive them into the centers for personal attention,” Mr. Snyder said.
Moving forward, the center and council will continue to stay busy. The center is transitioning to a new staffing model, emphasizing assessment and professional skill development, industry/discipline specialized services, employer development and interdisciplinary career services. And the university is wrapping up a national search for the new assistant provost for university career services, who will oversee the center and coordinate among the school-based centers as chair of the council. The university expects to announce the new hire in October.
The council is also working on a number of other initiatives, including a new web portal that creates a single entry point for anyone interested in career services at the university.
The council is also exploring the possibility of offering funding on a competitive basis to students who are undertaking internships that are necessarily unpaid. The fund is in its initial planning stages.
In the immediate future, students can mark their calendars for upcoming fall career fairs. The Fall Career and Internship Fair takes place Oct. 2 at the Charles E. Smith Center from 1 to 5 p.m. and features employers from diverse fields such as engineering, business, government and nonprofits. And the Communications Expo is slated for Oct. 18 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Marvin Center ballrooms. Information on the science and engineering and entrepreneurship expos, both slated for the spring semester, will be available soon.
“My best advice to students attending these upcoming fairs would be to start early,” Mr. Snyder said. “I don’t mean get there right when the doors open. I mean go as a freshman, go as a sophomore. Just walk around and see the organizations that are there. Go explore before it’s really time to think about this seriously.”