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Career Development Center – Here to Help You

As Career Fest 2013 continues throughout the waning days of October, I felt it was important to get a better grasp on exactly what the program was all about. Who is in charge of it? What services are offered? Most importantly for students – why should you care?

The Career Development Center, located on the 11th floor of 73 Tremont, exists merely for the purpose to try and help us students succeed as we graduate and enter the real big scary world of real big scary jobs. If you have questions about your major, inquiries about a possible minor, or want some tips on the best way to bolster your résumé in hopes of landing that dream job, your best resource is the Career Development Center.

I had the chance to sit down with Paul Tanklefsky, Director of the Career Development Center, to talk about the most exciting and potentially beneficial events of Career Fest, and about the center in general. So, what is the purpose of Career Fest?

“Ultimately what we’re trying to do is put the campus spotlight on careers over these ten days – specifically the career aspirations of our students – that’s one. Secondly, we want to reinforce that the Career Development Center is the go-to place for our students as they think about choosing their majors, the career aspirations they have, getting the internships that will give them the leverage and launch for their careers, and post-grad – finding employment opportunities, ect.”

The major/minor expo will be help on the 9th floor of 73 Tremont.

The major/minor expo will be held on the 9th floor of 73 Tremont.

The first big upcoming event in Career Fest is the Majors/Minors Expo, happening on Thursday, October 24th on the 9th floor of 73 Tremont. What can students take from such an expo? What’s the purpose?

“The goal was – under one roof, in one setting, one day – provide opportunities for our students, especially freshmen and sophomores, to meet with faculty as well as upper class students in some of the areas that they have interest in,” said Tanklefsky.

The major/minors expo is certainly one place where any student who is unsure of their current area of study could learn some valuable information. However, these programs can only help out students if they take it upon themselves to show up to them and participate.

“I think it does help in that way especially for students that really choose to engage. It really shouldn’t be a transactional event where a student comes, they show up, they look at a couple of brochures on the tables and then they leave.”

“Students really have to be willing to take that simple step of approaching a faculty member in an academic department and saying, ‘I’m a freshman/sophomore, thinking about government as a major. Could you give me a sense of different disciplines and where graduates are going?’ and have that dialogue,” explained Tanklefsky.

If students are completely lost when it comes to what they want to do in life, the expo is a good place to start trying to find your way in a relaxed and structured setting.

“In addition, the Career Development Center is there, and we’re prepared to talk with students that initially don’t show up and have no clue of where to start. And in a two-minute, three-minute conversation with them we can get a baseline of where they’re at and make suggestions.”

Another unique event happening during is a session called “Professional Dining Etiquette,” also located on the 9th floor of 73, taking place at 5:15 p.m. on Friday. The session is aimed at helping prevent you from looking silly and unprofessional in one of the more deceptively pressure-filled aspects of trying to get a job or working towards a career.

“Once again what we want to make sure is that students are prepared if they were to have a lunch meeting with an employer or a dinner after a session; that they’re just kind of mindful of the dos and don’ts of dining with an employer,” says Tanklefsky.

“So…if one’s 21-years of age, when the waiter or waitress comes and says, ‘Would you like a drink?” do you take the cue from the employer or do you simply say, ‘Sure, I’ll have a glass of wine.’ So they go over some of those kind of particulars and just the nuances of not making that dramatic faux pas that says to an employer, ‘Gee is this really the right candidate for us?’”

The Conversations with Young Alumni event will give students the chance to talk to graduates who have moved on from college to successful careers, and ask them how they did it.

The Conversations with Young Alumni event will give students the chance to talk to graduates who have moved on from college to successful careers, and ask them how they did it.

The third event that the Career Development Center was particular excited about in their lineup of events is the “Conversations with Young Alumni” meet-and-greet happening Tuesday, October 29th from 6 – 7 p.m. on the 9th floor of 73.

Paul Tanklefsky heralds the program as a, “Great opportunity for all undergrads to connect, both freshmen through seniors, to connect fairly recent alumni representing lots of different disciplines both from the Business school and the Liberal Arts college. Once again for the purpose of conversation.”

The allure of using recently graduated alumni makes sense. Students are much more likely to listen to someone talking about the difficulties and tricks to finding good work out of college who recently graduated, as opposed to someone who graduated before the Internet had taken off yet, and Tanklefsky agrees.

“We’re aware of one of the ways to really reach our current students is with young alumni, who are not that far removed from where a freshman, sophomore, junior, senior is today. So the ability of both of those parties to relate to one another and for a student to realize, ‘Aha! They were in my shoes just two years ago, look what they’ve done with their career. If they can do it, I can do it.’”

Overall, the Career Development Center can help students along their paths to hopeful long-term career success, but the student must start walking first. No student should bank on a dream job falling into their lap, and good preparation before graduation is the key. Tanklefsky echoes this sentiment.

“There’s a lot of students that have figured it out; which is study something that I have an interest – if not a passion – for, get some relevant experience before I graduate here, and leverage that into the workplace upon graduation.”

The Career Development Center is available at these events and in their office on the 11th floor of 73. Their open office hours are Monday through Friday from 1 – 2 p.m. and you can schedule an appointment any time Monday through Friday between 8:45 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.

You can visit the previous article about Career Fest to see a full list of events for the remainder of the schedule.

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