Rachel Lee talking with a man at the annual Winter Career Fair hosted by Career Services

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Job hunt


icon of a calendarJune 6, 2017

icon of a pencilBy Emell Derra Adolphus

Ready for the Workforce

A must stop on campus, Career Services prepares Oakland University students and alumni for lifelong career success

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Adam Sparkes

"Research shows that the more internships a student has, the more likely they will be able to quickly and easily secure full-time employment after graduation," regardless of major, explains Kelly Dorner, associate director at Career Services.

Inside the Career Services office, career consultants specialize in complementing academic experience with professional experience. Using a comprehensive list of services such as resume review, cover letter and networking tips, the office's number one priority is to increase career success among OU students and alumni. This process starts way before graduation, says Dorner.

"Students should come early and often. This is not an office they should plan to visit only once throughout their academic career," she says. "With that in mind, we are here to help students master the art of professional networking and to teach professional skills many people may not know how to do."

Most importantly, the Career Services' methods are successful, Dorner says. "And I feel like that can be demonstrated in many different ways. But one of the ways that we've really tried to demonstrate the (Career Services) impact is through our success stories on our website."

In order to improve its services and have accountability, Career Services closely monitors OU students' post-graduation success, explains Wayne Thibodeau, director at Career Services.

“This past fall semester, over 1,600 employers posted more than 3,700 jobs and more than 750 internship opportunities (to Handshake).”

Wayne Thibodeau

Director

Career Services

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Adam Sparkes

"For example, our most recent results from the First Destination Survey Report for the 2015-2016 graduating class indicate 83 percent of those employed accepted jobs before graduation and 97 percent accepted employment within six months," he says. One of Career Services' most effective tools is the recently launched Handshake (Oakland.JoinHandshake.com), an interactive resource interface that allows OU students and alumni to browse and apply for job openings, internships and other professional development opportunities.

"This past fall semester, over 1,600 employers posted more than 3,700 jobs and more than 750 internship opportunities (to Handshake)," says Thibodeau, explaining that one of the office's recent initiatives has been to increase visibility among employers and students. "We are expanding beyond North Foundation Hall to have services and staff co-located in different (University) buildings full time."

Career consultants are building a career community in high traffic locations across the campus by facilitating career related programs and employer meet-ups to learn about industry needs, says Thibodeau.

Guests walking around and vendors at tables at the Winter Career Fair hosted by Career Services on Jan. 25, 2017

Winter Career Fair hosted by Career Services on Jan. 25, 2017. Photo by Adam Sparkes.

Man and woman looking over a document at the 2017 Winter Career Fair hosted by Career Services on Jan. 25, 2017

2017 Winter Career Fair hosted by Career Services on Jan. 25, 2017. Photo by Adam Sparkes.

Person holding a black Oakland University portfolio at the Winter Career Fair, hosted by Oakland University's Career Services

Each year, the Winter Career Fair, hosted by Oakland University's Career Services office, attracts more than 1,000 students and alumni. Photo by Adam Sparkes.

Two women having a discussion at the Winter Career Fair hosted by Career Services on Jan. 25, 2017.

Winter Career Fair hosted by Career Services on Jan. 25, 2017. Photo by Adam Sparkes.

Students and alumni talking with employers at the Winter Career Fair hosted by Career Services on Jan. 25, 2017

Student and alumni came out to the Winter Career Fair hosted by Career Services on Jan. 25, 2017 to meet employers. Photo by Adam Sparkes.

Two men having a discussion at the Winter Career Fair hosted by Career Services

It's never too early or too late to come to the Winter Career Fair hosted by Career Services. Photo by Adam Sparkes.

"Our Career Ambassador Program offers a triage approach for trained students to meet with peers, putting them at ease to begin career development discussions," he says. "They go across the campus and promote careers and make students feel comfortable about the subject of careers."

Another part of Career Services' outreach is its yearly events, such as internship mixers and networking meet-ups. The Winter Career Fair, held January 25, 2017, attracted nearly 1,000 students and more than 200 employees. Career Services also hosts smaller niche events that focus on a particular major or school on campus.

"We also bring employers out to meet with students to help with some branding of their organizations on campus," says Dorner. "Quite a bit of that goes on in the School of Business Administration and the School of Engineering and Computer Science to market their organizations."

When you're a freshman, Career Services may sound premature. But Dorner says it's never too early to start cultivating a career.

"I would rather students experience talking with a professional when they are casually searching for career opportunities," she says. "That way when they are ready to look for a job, they already know what to expect."

Having great grades is always good, says Dorner. Yet, "Grades are no longer enough," she says. "You have to have some experience."

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