WIU's Captain Career Services on a Mission to Help Students Before Graduation
April 1, 2013
MACOMB, IL – It's almost commencement season, and before too long (and if not already), college graduates across the U.S. will be submitting their professional credentials to employers across the globe. Western Illinois University Career Services is a resource that students can utilize to help with their individual career paths (e.g., a resource to help with job searching, résumé building, cover letter development, interviewing skills, salary negotiations, etc.).
According to Michelle Howe, assistant director of Career Services, the office has developed a fun way for students to learn more about the necessity of polishing their professional profiles, through a new "superhero," Captain Career Services.
"Another one of our assistant directors, Renee Sprock, realized our office needed to drastically improve our marketing efforts. So while she was brainstorming what to do, she talked to our director, Martin Kral, about unique marketing efforts the office had done in the past," Howe explained." He mentioned that, back in the 1990s, Career Services used to have a graduate assistant who came up with the idea of 'Captain Career Services,' which only was used for the one semester the GA worked in the office. So Renee decided to bring back the Captain in order to have a more unique way to interact with students. Captain Career Services' 'mission' is to empower students to take charge of their careers and utilize the career services office in order to reach their career goals."
Howe said "the Captain" attended the Student Activities Fair this semester and plans on attending them in the future. She has also been seen riding Go West, WIU's and Macomb's public transit system, and walking around campus to pass out information about career fairs and career-related information. Captain Career Services is also available for classroom/student organizations presentations by request (some topics include career planning, résumé and cover letter development and interviewing skills). She will also attend some of Western's summer orientation programs at the Student Services Fair.
According to a 2010 National Association of Colleges and Employers survey, students who use their campus career center or office four or more times a semester are more likely to have job offers than those who used it once a semester.
"In addition to this, more and more employers are expecting students to have at least one or two internships by the time they graduate. This means that students should come to career services earlier than their senior years in college. Most internships require a résumé and an interview, so students should get their résumés critiqued and take part in practice interviews with one of our trained staff members to be better prepared for the internship search, as well," Howe noted. "We also encourage all students to visit us during their freshman or sophomore years for a career planning appointment. These appointments are designed to get students thinking and reflecting about the activities they should be doing in college and the skills they should be developing in order to be more employable by the time they graduate from college."
Howe also added that Career Services hosts three career fairs every year, for which the office brings in more than 60 companies that are hiring for jobs and internships. And each semester, Career Services also organizes 10-12 career-related workshops in Memorial Hall 124, and staff are available to conduct group presentations for academic classes and student groups during the daytime or evening hours.
For more information, contact Howe at (309) 298-1838 or via email at MC-Howe@wiu.edu. Visit WIU Career Services at www.wiu.edu/careerservices.