By Megan Good
A senior at Bluffton University sits at the lunch table with friends. They are discussing what they plan to do after graduation. That big day may seem far away now, but the sooner seniors and other students think about it the better. For those who do not quite know what to do after graduation, the Center of Career and Vocation is there to help.
The Career Center helps graduates and students with resumes, cover letters, interviewing skills, internships, networking, seeking graduate schools and determining options for what happens after graduation. The center is located in the library and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Weekend hours are available through appointment.
Shari Ayers, director for the center, explains the help offered in more depth.
“We have a range of things that are around the ‘what should I study’ piece,” Ayers said. “We have several types of assessments that we can have students work through to get a clearer understanding of themselves.”
The center works with all types of students, not just those preparing to graduate. Students who have yet to declare a major, or have chosen a major but are thinking of switching can talk through their thoughts with a member of the center’s staff in order to come to a better understanding of what path they would like to pursue.
“The folks who really love their major and they’re sure they’re going to go to graduate school, so all those kinds of pieces are already figured out,” Ayers said. “But there is still [this] ‘what am I supposed to do with my life’ kind of question that’s bigger than any of those and we have lots of those conversations too.”
Depending on why a student is going to visit the center determines what they should bring during their visit. Ayers suggests sending in any resume or cover letter drafts beforehand so that the center can look at them.
“We are not going to judge its status,” Ayers said. “It just gives us a chance to give better feedback.”
Lists of graduate schools and any thoughts a student might have concerning their visit are always wise to have. The one thing Ayers hopes that students will bring with them when they visit is “an openness to what the possibilities are.”
Along with the center itself, there are several other resources available to students such as College Central Network. This is a site which allows Bluffton Students to post resumes and portfolios as well as search for jobs. Every Bluffton University student has an account on this website. All the student has to do is go to the website and activate it in order to use it.
The Center of Career and Vocation is available to students after they graduate as well, Ayers said. Alumni can take advantage of everything a student has access to with the exception of on campus events.
“Now is a really good time to be developing a strategy for life after graduation,” Ayers said. “There are lots of ways our undergraduate degree gets used that are unexpected. There are all kinds of ways to put that learning to a really wonderful use.”
“Every now and then we ask graduates ‘did you use the resources in the Center of Career and Vocation’ and if folks say no we ask them ‘why not’. One of the [answers] that surprises me is ‘because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do’. That’s the best reason to come.”