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Helping students connect with what’s next

August 23, 2011

Helping students connect with what’s next

Career Connections website screenshotNew initiative aims to help students prepare for life after PLU.

By Barbara Clements

Students come to Pacific Lutheran University with passion, creativity and a resolve to change the world for the better.

Now PLU has a program that will help students focus their talents on an internship, volunteer experience and taking the leap to grad school and eventually a career.

From entering first-year and sophomore students who need to choose a major; to sophomores and juniors who need to connect to experiences outside the classroom; to juniors and seniors who need to polish their job search skills including resume writing, interviewing, and networking skills, Career Connections will be there to guide them along the way.

This is a new initiative, and yet it focuses existing programs on campus around the single goal to guide students through their years here at PLU and help them refine their passion and career goals. Career Connections will be the hub of the wheel of already existing services, including the offices of Career Development and Academic Internships, or the opportunities made available through academic departments or the Alumni office.

“One of our major goals is to help students have a seamless transition into the next phase of life, said Bobbi Hughes, Director of Employer Relations at PLU.

“We’re going to be doing, and have been doing, a great job in helping students discover what they are passionate about and what they are really meant to do in this world,” Hughes said. “With this new project, we’re going to be leveraging all the tools we now have, plus a couple of new ones, for the benefit of the student.”

Some of these new initiatives include a Virtual Career Center, an online interview option via Interview Stream, an online four-year plan for students, job postings exclusively for PLU students, and a guide for working and living abroad.

Career Connections also has links for employers who want to post jobs or internships, tips for parents of students who are in the job search arena and places where alumni can check out LinkedIn groups or connect with current students. The site also has academic resources to help in class selection and sections to peruse volunteer opportunities.

“We are set to connect with students wherever they are on their journey,” said Ruth Rogers, Director of Career Development and Student Employment. “It’s never too early to begin, and to look at your career search in a focused way.”

For his part, Dan Brett ’10 seconds Rogers’ observations.

Brett credits the Office of Career Development with helping him find his current job at the Bank of New York Mellon offices in Tacoma as a financial analyst. After graduating with a business degree and working several jobs and on a political campaign, Brett returned to PLU’s spring career fair in 2011 and started talking with representatives of the bank. The recruiter gave Brett her card – Brett had already applied online and researched the company – and then set up an interview. He started his new job in June.

Career Development helped him “package” and present himself to employers both on his resume and in person in the best light, he said. He also encourages students to check out the Career Development office when they arrive on campus.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had students say “I wish I’d checked this out earlier,”” he said.

Aside from helping students research jobs or internships that might fit their interests, the office will help define what “you want to be when you grow up,” he laughed.