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Students size up 'U' career center services

BY MICHAEL KAN
Daily Staff Reporter
Published March 4, 2004

For some students, a visit to the Career Center marks the first
step of the job search process.

Beth Dykstra
Career Center librarian Leigh Formicola gives LSA freshman Rick Bastien advice on summer internships. (TREVOR CAMPBELL/Daily)

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Yet some students have left the center frustrated that their
services aren’t helping them find employment and question
whether the University has been investing enough energy in
assisting students with their job searches. Moreover, some students
have noticed what they say is a one-sided slant in career programs
at the University, with the greatest chance of hiring occurring
more in the Business School’s career programs than the main
University Career Center.

LSA junior Mark Corban wanted to get a head start on his job
search by picking up an internship this summer. Corban said the
Career Center helped him polish his resumé and interviewing
skills in order to help him on his search. But he still
hasn’t found an internship yet and says the University
isn’t going far enough to help LSA students.

Although he recognizes that no one can do his job-searching for
him, Corban said he was hoping the Career Center could find him an
internship as easily as business students attain theirs.

“Overall, I think this school in general (could do
more),” he said. “I know for instance in the Business
School there are kids who get internships. In LSA, it’s
basically all up to you to get an internship.”

But career advisors from both the Business School and the Career
Center say students under pressure to find employment need to know
that none of the programs is meant to guarantee jobs for students,
but instead to give them the skills needed to successfully carry
out their job search. Furthermore, career advisors say all the
career programs use similar resources, and none of the programs has
an advantage over the other.

Corban also said that the Business School have its own career
development program. He added he feels that those programs seem
more effective at getting jobs for students than the
University’s Career Center.

These frustrations with the Career Center come at a time when
the tough job market makes it increasingly difficult to find a
career position. With job growth lagging and competition for jobs
as fierce as ever, LSA students say that the Career Center has only
offered limited assistance and suspect the Business School
effortlessly connects its students with jobs.

Lynne Sebille-White, assistant director of recruitment services
at the University Career Center, said besides career counseling the
center is primarily meant to assist students by educating them in
marketing themselves to employers.

Al Cotrone, director of the Business School’s Career
Development, says that none of the career programs at the
University do “placement” or assign students to
positions at a company. “We don’t have 500 different
internships and say, ‘This Econ major is going to work at
this firm this summer?’ ”

Instead of placement, both career advisors said the University
not only instructs students in the skills necessary to find a job,
but also tried to connect students with employers interested in
hiring University students through job fairs, on-campus interviews
and online job postings.

Sebille-White said that both career programs use these resources
and methods to make these connections and have similar contacts
with employers, so neither program has an edge.

Cotrone said the Business School handles students in the same
way. He added it’s a complete misconception that the Business
School secures future job positions for its students.

“Career services offices very rarely will be involved in
placing or matching students and companies. Accordingly, I
don’t think I would portray what we do here as finding jobs
for students or giving out jobs to students. Rather, we actively
prepare students to capitalize on the resources available as they
conduct their job searches, just the same as the Career
Center.”

Sebille-White said although the University career programs have
many resources, getting a job requires student participation. She
added that students can’t expect a quick and easy way to find
a job. For most students, the job search will take six to nine
months, Sebille-White said.

Misconceptions about the Business School’s career
development programs may arise partially because Business School
students begin their job search earlier than LSA students, Cotrone
said. “The timing of the process has moved earlier in the
cycle here at the Business School, so that the on-campus portion of
the search is largely completed by December of a student’s
senior year. To (LSA) students, where the process may take place a
bit later, this can also appear easier,” he said.