By Ashley Tarckini
Are you unsure of what you’d like to study in college? Are you insecure with the major you have chosen? Are you approaching graduation and not sure what careers are out there for you? Fitchburg State University’s Career Center is here to help.
Based on a 12 month average between April 2013 and March 2014, the Economic Policy Institute reported that 8.5 percent of college graduates between the ages of 21 and 24 were unemployed. The other problem that college graduates are facing is being “underemployed” in which they are too educated and overqualified for their job.
The Career Center is here to make sure you do not fall within those categories. Erin Kelleher has been the director of Career Services for almost 10 years, and her main goal is to help every student that steps foot in her office. Kelleher cannot stress enough that, “Students should come in to the Career Center their freshman year. I want freshman to be comfortable and confident with their choice of major.”
When asked how she helps freshman students who don’t know what they want to study, Kelleher said “Self-assessments and self-directed searches are very important for students to do because it will highlight their likes and dislikes.”
These self-assessments will show Kelleher and the student what the students’ interests are and help decided on a major based off those findings. Kelleher will sometimes go into freshman classes and talk to the students about Career Services, encouraging them to make an appointment with her. The Career Center works very closely with the Academic Advising Center, focusing on students who have not yet declared a major. The two offices are both in the Hammond Building on the 3rd floor, which makes it convenient for the directors to keep in touch with students about their success here at FSU.
However, the Career Center is not only for freshman. Kelleher says, “It is very important to individualize each session based on the needs of the student and to have an open dialogue going to ensure I have helped them.”
They offer many services and approach every aspect of getting into the career you want to be in; resume and cover letter workshops, networking, mock interviews, job searching over the internet, career and major decision making, career planning, interview skills, and much more.
The Career Center offers services to everyone from freshman to alumni. Along with the help you can receive from their offices, the Career Service puts on a career fair each year in the fall for students to explore different options. For those who can’t make the time to attend the career fair, on the Career Services website, there is part-time job posting always listed for students who would like to work while in school.
For many students looking forward to graduation, some may be uncertain of what to do after they graduate, but they Career Center is here to help. Kelleher said, “I will ask students why they chose the major they did, what clubs or activities they were involved in and if they did any internships.”
This allows the student to remember why they chose to study their major and to shine light on their likes and interests. Kelleher believes in the importance of internships. “I think it is extremely significant for every student to do an internship.”
Internships help students get experience in specific job fields and allow them to see what they like and dislike about a job. “This make it easier when it comes time to choose your career after college.” She wants students to leave FSU with hope, even though the job market is difficult. She also added, “I want students to be ready so when they graduate they have a good marketing plan.”
The Career Center is also available to alumni and Kelleher has quite a few that keep in touch. Alumni use Career Services in cases such as having difficulty finding a job or deciding in a career change, Kelleher said her favorite part about being the director of Career Services is “working with students and helping them with their needs and challenges.”
“I encourage students to come into the Career Center as often as they feel like. There is no limit on the number of visits a student has while at Fitchburg State University.”
The Career Center is located in the Hammond building on the 3rd floor in room 318.