The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Do you want fries with that?

While higher education is an honorable pursuit, it does not always secure students with meaningful careers.

Like your very own fairy godmother, the U’s Career Services knows how to help.

Located on the third floor of the Student Services Building, the obviously needed but sorely underused career center is proficient in making students marketable.

“If students show up here, they are pretty much on the right track,” said Kate Whetman, the counselor for liberal arts degree students such as social science, communication and English graduates.

The track Career Services is talking about is not merely vocational. It teaches students how to take their higher-education experience into the world after college. Even though there may be no obvious field for liberal arts majors to flow into, Career Services places U students in a wide variety of jobs.

“There is a new respect in business for people with liberal arts degrees. They are flexible, interested and easy to teach,” Whetman said.

Career Services offers job fairs at professional and casual levels. It also considers students eligible for its services years after they earn their degrees. Counselors realize it may take longer for students to get into the jobs they want. Career Services considers students eligible for its services until students have professional experience.

In effect, it is not necessary to go straight to law school in order to make a professional name for oneself. There may be work that is perfect for a student. Simply put, Career Services’ duty is to make students aware of other possibilities.

The 11 counselors on staff are all well-trained. Each counselor specializes in certain majors. A list of counselors and their specialties may be found on the career center Web site Walk-in appointments are also taken daily.

“Any counselor can help anybody,” Whetman said. They are all interested first in the success of the student, she said.

The average for serious jobs a person will have in a lifetime has gone up to an average of six or seven, according to Career Services. Along with that is the need for people to have the training necessary for a job market that is constantly shifting.

Whetman says she believes this trend in the job market will continue. “People used to have one job until they dropped dead. Now you can’t do that if you tried,” she said.

Understanding the ebb and flow of the job market, the career center keeps its doors open to U alumni. The service is fee-based. Julie Swaner is the adviser in charge of alumni.

Career Services helps U students become marketable by helping them polish or write their rsums, evaluate what job may suit them best and helping them plan a career path.

It boasts of one of the best career libraries in the nation, according to Whetman.

The library offers titles such as Resume Tips, Finding a Job With a Fine Arts Degree and Job Hunting for Dummies. There are listings of what jobs students could expect from particular majors. There are also plenty of tools for evaluating what types of work for which a student may be best suited.

“The library is a dangerous place,” said Patti Henriksen, who tracks graduate students and alumni. “You’ll need to give yourself a big block of time. It is a lot like a class. You have to write papers and do research.”

The career center is not only a resource for students after they get a degree but also for helping students find work while they are in school. The career center is in charge of student employment. Displayed on the third floor of the Student Services Building is a job listing of work on campus, off campus as well as volunteer positions that are useful to students. Career Services will also help students find useful jobs or internships while simultaneously preparing them for more professional careers after college.

“There are some volunteer positions that are excellent resume builders,” Whetman said.

Many U students work part time to full time throughout their college careers, Whetman said.

The job listings are divided into multiple categories, from the bustling service industry to clerical desk jobs. It is an excellent resource for potential out-of-state and international students.

Every September, Career Services offers a student job fair to further help students get a job that suits them as they try to get through college.

Internships are available to students of most majors. Whetman explained that an internship of at least 10 hours per week can earn students two credit hours. Many of the U students opt for more hours. A 30-hour internship can earn up to six credits.

If a student is interested in volunteer work, the Bennion Community Service Center located in the Union is a great reference.

Students looking only for work-study should go to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships on the first floor of the Student Services Building.

Career Services also organizes the biannual Career Fair. Organizers of the two-day event hope to bring employers and potential employees together.

Employers look for students in science and engineering on the first day and students in business, humanities and social sciences on the second day.

Employment opportunities are split between local and national employers.

“It is a challenge sometimes to find students professional employment because most University of Utah students want to stay in Utah. If they do move out of state, most stay on the West Coast,” Whetman said.

The Career Services staff is friendly and dedicated to the progress of students and keeping the services’ facilities useful.

“If we don’t have happy, successful students, then what are we even doing here?” Henriksen asked.

Henriksen is in charge of confidential credentials for alumni and graduate students. Grad students will still need to bring their credentials to the career center if they want Henriksen’s extra help. The records do not transfer automatically.

Henriksen notes that students do not have a lot of time in their busy schedules to worry about planning a career path after college. She helps students prepare to be marketable and realizes education alone is not enough. Earlier in the week, she received flowers from a very thankful grad student.

“They [grad students] are my biggest fans,” she said.

“You don’t look in the paper for serious jobs anymore,” Whetman explained. Career Services hopes to open the communication lines between employers and apt potential employees.

Henriksen advocates that students and alumni alike need to “continue to be marketable.”

Henriksen hopes the career center takes out the stress of finding a job. “School is already expensive enough,” she said. “And you’ll need a job afterward.”

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