Career Services is inviting students into their office in Hermann Hall with reverse psychology. A poster hangs on their wall proclaiming to all student’s “Don’t Visit Us.” Be sure to read the fine print!
“Wanna be a Ninja?” “Whoever said Don’t take Candy from Strangers?” “We Don’t Eat Students… Usually.” These fun posters that are hanging up in Career Services are part of an initiative meant to attract more younger, first-year students to the office. Traditionally, Career Services sees a lot of juniors frantically looking for summer internships, and seniors who are in their final stretch and searching for full time jobs starting in the next year. But what if students were trained from the moment they enter Illinois Tech to be professionally active? To search, from the start, for professional connections in their industry of choice?
The frantic search, the statistics of not having jobs after graduating with a degree (in a very reputable field most likely), of having months of no support , just online application after online application, all of this would disappear. College is meant to build the foundation for a future career, and that foundation consists of more than just the technical skills you learn in class. It consists of the soft skills, independence, and leadership skills learned from professional organizations. It consists of the recruiters and future referrals attending career fairs and networking events gives you. It consists of the friends and future colleagues that your classmates make up.
First-year students are in the unique position of not having any connections with the school, staff, industry, student orgs, etc. This means they have the privilege of choice, the choice of which organization, which company, which career, which path they want to take. Once those initial connections are built, those initial friendships and those initial steps on a path, they drag you onto a high-speed journey. One door opens, then another, then another, then another. And they flash by so fast you barely have time to register what the end result will be. Just talk to any senior. They’ll tell you it’s the initial steps that brought them where they are today. Which is why those initial steps are so essential to having a good senioritis-filled year.
Learn about career services from the start. Don’t wait until you’re desperate for a job, because by then, its nearly too late. If you don’t plan, you plan to fail. It is never, ever too early. And besides, they don’t bite… usually.