November 21, 2011
WOOSTER, Ohio — What type of job market will graduating seniors face next spring? No one knows for sure, but Lisa Kastor, director of career services at The College of Wooster, says that students are becoming more vigilant about starting early. “We have seen an increase in the number of students getting interviews this fall, but I think it is more a function of their initiative than expanded opportunities,” she says. “I’m not sure that there are more positions out there, but I believe our students are realizing how important it is to get a jump on the process.”
Another noticeable trend that Kastor has identified is the increased number of students who are looking into short-term post-graduation opportunities to enhance their marketability. Most of these are one- or two-year internships or fellowships with such organizations as the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Catholic Charities, and City Year. “Our students find these opportunities very valuable in gaining experience and increasing their visibility,” says Kastor. This option has, in fact, become so popular that Wooster has been sponsoring a Social Service Fair on campus for the past several years.
Other recent initiatives include the use of a new online resource known as Optimal Interview, which provides access to more than a thousand interview questions that students can respond to with a video component that records their response. “The whole idea is to observe yourself and evaluate how you can do better,” says Kastor.
One of Kastor’s primary objectives is to help students translate their liberal arts education and convey its value on a resumé so that the prospective employer has a clear understanding of the context as well as what was gained from and accomplished during their four years on campus. She also notes the importance of leveraging social media, particularly LinkedIn, as a means of advancing one’s strengths. “Networking is huge,” she says, “and how you make that happen is critical to your success.”
As for future graduating classes, Kastor sees expansive change on the horizon, particularly a more comprehensive approach to advising. “Wooster is continuing to develop its Educational Planning and Advising Center,” she says. “This will bring academic, personal, and professional advising together and help students take a much more holistic approach to planning their path through the College and into their life's work.”
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