Career Services assists with off-term and post-grad planning

by Heather Szilagyi | 8/12/13 10:00pm

The question of what to do on a leave term plagues every Dartmouth student, months before they leave the comfort of a three-class term and routine homework schedule for 10 weeks in the real world. For these anxious students, Career Services provides resources and counseling about off-term internships and post-graduation opportunities.

The goal of Career Services is to support students' success in employment, fellowships or graduate schools, director Roger Woolsey said.

Upon arriving on campus, freshmen can familiarize themselves with resources listed on the Career Services website, meet with a counselor and draft their first resume.

The office hopes to have a Dartmouth-specific resume guide available to students when the Class of 2017 arrives.

"Resumes will be developed according to industry standards and critiqued by faculty and by alumni to make sure that they're the best resume we can produce," Woolsey said.

Career Services continues to work with students beyond freshman year, offering workshops on resume and cover letter writing as well as interviewing skills and creating a LinkedIn profile.

Dartmouth alumni are a key component of the operation, providing mentorship, advice and resources beyond standard job skills.

"Alumni are probably about 90 percent of the operation," Woolsey said. "We really look to our alumni for support in professional development."

Woolsey said he hopes that LinkedIn will become a useful tool in connecting students and alumni for internship and employment opportunities.

Woolsey, who previously served as career center director at Colby College, took up his position at Dartmouth on June 1 alongside Leslie Kingsley, the new assistant director for internships and employer relations.

Woolsey said his vision is to create an "ecosystem" around professional development, which includes life skills like communication and self-assessment. This would involve faculty, parents, alumni and campus organizations in the professional development process.

Woolsey hopes to change the name of Career Services to the "Center for Professional Development" to reflect this desired atmosphere.

"We want to change the name to encompass the idea that we're more than just a service, we're a center for the community and that we work beyond our office," he said.

Career Services will complement the goal of professional development in part through new initiatives, including "immersion trips," in which students can explore specific career fields in cities around the country.

Woolsey said the office is planning to launch two trips this December, one focused on legal services in the Boston area and the other on entertainment in New York City.

The professional accelerator program, slated to launch next summer, will provide freshmen with opportunities to attend a professional development workshop before they arrive on campus.

Woolsey said Career Services is undergoing a "rebranding campaign" with the goal of increasing accessibility to students.

"The career development office at Dartmouth is our students' office," he said. "We're in the business of making sure that we are supportive of our students, that we are in the developmental process in the next four years to develop them for post-graduate success."

Students have often criticized Career Services for focusing on finance and consulting careers, often excluding other fields.

Woolsey said that this is a "perceptual error," as Dartmouth students have excelled in all industries and are more involved in education than in the financial sector.

Financial, consulting and banking industries have the funds to recruit students from top colleges and universities, and experience turnover as graduates leave to pursue advanced degrees.

David Chiang '15 said the office helped him obtain work during his sophomore winter. He was impressed with the alumni network and found an internship with an alumnus at a Chicago trading firm after shadowing him for a day.

"They gave me some resources, so I don't think they held my hand through it," he said. "They just gave me the tools that I needed."

He said Career Services could improve its visibility on campus.

Libby Fairless '15 said she has never used Career Services.

"It seems very focused on finance," she said. "It seems like every email I get from them is Here are these corporate and consulting internships,' and I'm not interested in any of that because I'm pre-med."

Woolsey said the office will strive to make all students aware that they have full access to resources, no matter their desired career field.

Immersion trips, for example, are specifically intended for non-finance and non-consulting careers.

Woolsey said he hopes to ensure that no student feels pressured into joining a specific industry.

"I want students to realize it's okay to come to this office and be an individual," he said. "What this office wants to do is celebrate your uniqueness."

Advertise your student group in The Dartmouth for free!