No matter what year students are in, the Office of Career and Professional Development is ready to help develop a plan.
The office divides career planning into four components; Explore, Prepare, Connect and Flourish with recommended action steps under each. This idea is in the place of a year-by-year outline because they believe developing a strategy for discovering purpose and achieving career goals isn’t a linear step by step process.
“We understand that our students go in a variety of directions whether they are working a full-time job, taking a gap year, going to grad school, or pursuing their own business,” Assistant Director of the Office of Career and Professional Development Rachel Walden said. “We're really here to help students with whatever their individual career path is.”
“Exploration is the process of testing and trying to identify potential fits with your skills and interests,” Gary Boling, the associate director of Office of Career and Professional Development said.
Students can build leadership and career readiness skills through BOLD, student organizations on campus, strategic part-time employment and participate in Work Well WELL Core events.
The office also recommends setting up a Handshake account in this stage to get updates on jobs and internships.
This stage includes building your resume by doing things like increasing campus involvement, applying for internships, volunteering and studying abroad.
By uploading a resume to Handshake for review, students can learn how to tailor their resume.
“Prepare is all about utilizing our services and resources to become ready and build one’s confidence to gain practical experience and build relationships,” Boling said.
“Connect is about gaining relevant experience, building one’s brand and reputation, articulating one’s skills, and forming meaningful relationships with employers and mentors,” Boling said.
In the flourish component students should solidify where they are going to begin their career and apply for positions. It's also important for students to get involved in a community outside of campus like joining a professional organization.
“What we see most often is students don't know how to get started, or how to take the next steps,” Walden said. “We are here, and we do individual career coaching appointments, to help them with whatever stage they're at with that process.”
Students who meet with career specialists report increased confidence and optimism in achieving their career goals, Boiling said.
The Office of Career and Professional Development reported that 94% of the Class of 2021 graduates were employed for whom information could be obtained were employed, continuing their education, or were in military service within six months of graduation. This tied the highest-ever career outcomes rate reported by Belmont and exceeded the national average.
“The number one thing I would recommend for students is getting connected with your career specialist early and often through our career management platform Handshake,” Walden said.
“We want to help every student achieve their career goals.”
This story was written by Zoe Spangler