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HILLIS: Get ahead of the curve with Career Services

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Looking at the parade of well-dressed students journeying across SHAMU, sophomore-year Helen wondered why so many students needed to attend the career fair. As a student in the College of Arts & Sciences, I assumed the career fairs were only necessary for job-hunting seniors and overly-ambitious business students. No one had told me the importance of networking early on. Students in the College of Business Administration took LEAD courses on business etiquette, resume writing, networking and anything else required to land a job after graduation. I naively assumed that if I needed any of these things, the College of Arts & Sciences would have a similar process.

Reality hit a few weeks ago when I realized it was time to update my resume. With graduation on the horizon, suddenly all of the LEAD material my friends dreaded learning was important.

Regardless of discipline, everyone needs a resume and everyone needs to network. Even students in ROTC rely on interview skills for certain leadership positions. Pre-med students will have interviews, graduate school bound students will submit resumes. These are basic skills that are vital to postgraduate professional success. Unless you are a student in the College of Business Administration, Marquette has failed at emphasizing the importance of these skills.

Marquette should have a university-wide course requirement related to getting a job in each college’s discipline. Whether you’re a finance major with your sights set on an investment banking position or a physical therapy student pushing through the six-year program, at one point in time you will need to apply for a job. This means a resume, interview skills and valuable networking. There is no reason why only business students should focus on developing these abilities when everyone would benefit from them.

College students spend four years working hard and committing themselves to their studies. However, we can’t expect four years in a classroom to automatically equate to a job after graduation; there is more work involved.

Marquette’s Career Services Center should be the busiest place on campus. The CSC offers a multitude of services for students in all disciplines. Part of their mission is “to equip students with the capability and confidence to achieve professional success.” This comes in a variety of forms ranging from personality assessment tests to resume reviews. Because their services embody more than posting jobs and internships, the CSC’s holistic approach to postgraduate opportunities is valuable to all students.

Last year, only 1,593 students made appointments at the Career Services Center. That is not even the majority of the senior class, let alone a quarter of the undergraduate student body. A whopping 6,458 students remained idle and ignored the opportunities presented by the CSC, myself included. That’s not to say the CSC doesn’t make an effort to bring students in. However, I have made the sad observation that if something isn’t required, Marquette students are not likely to take advantage of it.

The fall career fairs take place Wednesday and Thursday. As frustrated as I am that this will be my first one, I will be there, resume in hand. I don’t feel as prepared as my peers in the College of Business Administration, but I recognize this experience is a necessity. If Marquette claims to prepare its students for the future, that’s not entirely true. Landing a job after graduation isn’t the most important part of the Marquette experience, but properly preparing students to do so should be a high priority. If we are expected to be men and women for others, the university should support us in every way to make that possible.

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