Beyond business: The Career Center should provide resources for all career areas

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April 23, 2012

10:21 PM

Students at the College of William and Mary seem to be inundated constantly with emails from the Sherman and Gloria H. Cohen Career Center about finding a career in either marketing or consulting. While we are thankful that the Career Center is working so diligently to ensure that all students have job opportunities after graduation, it sometimes seems as if we’re left thirsty for more options.

It is common knowledge that there are more career opportunities in a field such as marketing where large firms have specific hiring plans than in an area like museum work where funding for new employees is extremely inconsistent. Even then, however, there are still job openings in these smaller fields, and the Career Center needs to promote these options. We believe that the Career Center is trying to build better programming for all career areas; however, the Career Center needs to take a look at little ways it can make students more aware of all of the career opportunities available to them.

The Career Center relies on sponsors to provide money for funding, and these sponsors generally include large, wealthy corporations. The Career Center has a duty to its sponsors because their funding keeps it functioning; however, there are many small and cost-effective changes that the Career Center can implement to help all students find jobs, whether they are majoring in marketing or classical studies.

One simple improvement would be a more thorough list of job opportunities and internships on the Career Center’s website, including opportunities in all fields. It is embarrassing that students have to search for these opportunities on other universities’ websites considering that we have such a well-funded Career Center at the College. While students would still be responsible for investigating the positions and the employers for themselves, they would at least have a foot in the door in knowing that positions exist.

After compiling a list of these opportunities, the Career Center should make sure to advertise them and keep the list updated so that it is useful to students. The only emails students receive from the Career Center seem to herald openings in only a couple of areas, and students quickly become disheartened and cease to read the emails altogether. Because the smaller fields are the ones where the job opportunities are less stable, students need to be especially aware of these positions in order to be able to apply.

The Career Center has been trying to expand to be more useful to other majors by hosting events geared toward theater, publishing and science, and we applaud it for its efforts. Before emphasizing these large-scale active programs, the Career Center needs to take a step back and look at the little and affordable things it can do to help the most students.

In order to be an effective resource for students at the College, the Career Center needs to try to benefit the most students in the most efficient ways. After all, students graduating from the College should not have to settle in order to have a career.

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  • http://twitter.com/petitcafenoir91 petitcafenoir

    Really? I’ve used the Cohen Career Center a bunch of times and I’ve never been interested in marketing, business, consulting, etc. I’ve found all sorts of teaching, summer camp, non-profit, and other opportunities on their job and internship listing on TribeCareers. And through their Local Internship Program, I easily found internships with the Muscarelle Museum, a Colonial Williamsburg wig shop, a wedding planner, and much more that has nothing to do with consulting.

    • http://twitter.com/wallywhiskey Wally Lawrence

      My lifelong dream. Colonial Williamsburg Wig Shop attendant. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/OA6T4BPUFSXXBVDVQRV2I3N2V4 Tracey

    If you actually GO to the career center, you will find the most helpful people that can find you work or internships in ANY field. I know the tribe careers site does seem a little business-heavy, but I encourage everyone to GO and see for themselves!

    • http://twitter.com/wallywhiskey Wally Lawrence

      See, that is a little true, but at the same time whenever I went, I learned nothing that wasn’t already available online, and the items online were much more informative.

      If you want common platitudes and generic advice, by all mean go to the Career Center. If you want interesting job listing and useful job postings, just go on some other University’s website. 

      • Lauren Jones

        It seems like you had rather a negative experience with the Career Center, but I’m glad to hear that an outgoing senior can find a job today, haha.

        Anyway, my point is that establishing a relationship with a career counselor is extremely beneficial to personal and career development. I have been talking to and building a rapport with the same counselor for a year now. She has been helpful as I created my first resume, struggled to choose a major, and applied for my first job. She gave me the skills and confidence I needed to go out and find my own internship — without the help of any college’s career website I might add. I’m not saying that the Career Center will do everything for you, and their online resources are supposed to overlap with what they tell you in initial meetings, so that you can have a place to start from in these early consultations. Still, the Career Center is definitely a fantastic resource at this College as long as you’re willing to meet them halfway.

      • Lauren Jones

        It seems like you had rather a negative experience with the Career Center, but I’m glad to hear that an outgoing senior can find a job today, haha.

        Anyway, my point is that establishing a relationship with a career counselor is extremely beneficial to personal and career development. I have been talking to and building a rapport with the same counselor for a year now. She has been helpful as I created my first resume, struggled to choose a major, and applied for my first job. She gave me the skills and confidence I needed to go out and find my own internship — without the help of any college’s career website I might add. I’m not saying that the Career Center will do everything for you, and their online resources are supposed to overlap with what they tell you in initial meetings, so that you can have a place to start from in these early consultations. Still, the Career Center is definitely a fantastic resource at this College as long as you’re willing to meet them halfway.

        • http://twitter.com/wallywhiskey Wally Lawrence

          No, it’s not. 

          I had a friend who asked the career center to help him make his resume. Smart kid, super qualified. Anyway, after the meeting where he designs his resume with the Career Center,  he sends it off to a friend working at the firm he wants to work at. The guy at the firm? He said it was laughable. That he’s seen better resumes written in Comic Sans. That it was Paperclip-in-Microsoft-Word level tripe. And I couldn’t agree more. He eventually googled some, and wrote a sick resume that landed him a good job there. 

          My point is that establishing a relationship with a career counselor is a waste of time, more productively spent watching the grass on the Sunken Garden grow, or perhaps watching Morton sink. I know a dozen people who found their jobs looking on other schools’ career websites. The College’s *database* is mostly spam, many recruiters, and half the logins on whatever we’re calling “Experience” these days no longer work. 

          The career center sells a college fundamentally inconsistent with what is sold on entrance; Upon admission we’re told that a liberal arts education is crucial to well rounded members of society. Upon exit, we’re told “Screw that, I hope you took some consulting. No? Well let me tell you about Teach for America!”

          The career center should be an embarrassment, and yet nobody seems to care that the Cohen Center for Lost and Hopeless Causes is fundamentally unable to sell students from a liberal arts college to the employers. I know no one who can attribute their job to the diligent work of the Career center. It could be the recession, but I really think that the only difference between the basement bargain bin Career Center of 2008 and the one now is the shiny new building. 

  • Lauren Jones

    According to this
    article, the only evidence you have supporting your claim that the Career
    Center “only offer marketing and consulting internships” is the mass emails you have been reading
    (or ignoring, as you wrote) and a cursory search of the Career Center page,
    presumably on the College’s website.

    However, if you had actually taken the time to do anything other than passively
    skim your email and complain that “there are no opportunities for people
    who aren’t business majors!!” you might have found that your claims are
    completely untrue and based on an attitude of pure laziness.

    I am a rising junior at
    the College who secured her first summer job with the help of the Career
    Center’s many services and offerings, AND
    has just secured an internship for the upcoming summer AS WELL AS a returning
    position on the summer job I had last year! It’s true that it took a lot of effort on my end to
    secure all of these positions, but the Career Center was absolutely
    instrumental in my continued and growing success.

    First of all, your article made no mention of its author or any other editors
    going to an ACTUAL APPOINTMENT at the Career Center. Without going and
    communicating with an actual person there, how can you say that they can’t help
    you market your theater
    major, create a career
    as a museum curator, or consider potential
    applications for your classical studies minor? The answer is that you CAN’T.

    This article does not mention a single program that the Career has conducted
    that any of its writers or contributors attended. I have been to at least one
    Career Center program per month for the past year and I have benefited from all
    of them in some way. To name a few, I have attended the following programs:


    Psychology Major Career Panel

    — What To Do with a Science Major event

    — Spring 2012 Career Fair — which included people from JLAB, the
    “dreaded” consulting firms, and many other local businesses in the
    Williamsburg and surrounding areas…but you would have had to actually attend
    the event to know that, not just check your email and complain from behind your
    computer.


    Compass Program (for freshman and sophomore) programming – namely the MACE
    (Majors and Career Exploration) program

    — Majors, Milk, & Cookies

    Your writer did not comment on the shortcomings or benefits of attending any of
    the numerous, varied, and specialized programs that the Career Center has
    offered in the past two years that I have been a student here, presumably
    because they have simply read and ignored the emails and ads for them. I hope that any student who reads this article will go to the Career Center and explore their varied and helpful services for themselves instead of adopting the whiny, inactive attitudes of the authors of this article.

    • http://twitter.com/wallywhiskey Wally Lawrence

      Are they paying you or something? 

  • http://twitter.com/wallywhiskey Wally Lawrence

    What is comes down to is that W&M’s career center is completely unaware of the school which it serves. You can’t sell this school as a Liberal Arts College and then have a career center that is intent on pumping out accountants and consultants. It’s inane. The career fairs were abysmal, and really convey that the Career Center has an immense problem with understanding its product. 

    Somewhere, there is a mediocre Business School wondering why its career center is suggesting lit mags, government careers, and foreign service positions to its consulting majors. 

    Edit: I’m a Senior with a job after college. The Career Center was ludicrously useless during the process.

  • Pingback: An Open Letter to William and Mary, and its Career Center « From the Desk of Mark T. Hrisho()