EXPLORING OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE

By Career and Professional Development Center and Annalisa Purser, communications specialist, University Marketing and Communications

University of Utah Career Services recently changed its name to the Career and Professional Development Center to better reflect its mission to prepare students for their future careers and to foster career readiness through early engagement with the center. The former name, Career Services, implied that students could use the center for a “transactional service,” which meant that students often didn’t visit until their last year of college.

The office provides much more than a one-time service. It offers students the opportunity to think about who they are; reflect on their skills, strengths, values and goals; and helps them explore options for their futures that can encompass all of that. By changing its name to the Career and Professional Development Center, the staff hopes students and partners will better understand the variety of resources available to help students grow professionally. Career development is a process, and those at the center invite all students to begin engaging in that process from their first year on campus.  

@TheU spoke with staff at the Career and Professional Development Center to learn more about how faculty and staff can help students better utilize its services.

When should a student visit the Career and Professional Development Center?

The best time to visit the Career and Professional Development Center is within your first year at the University of Utah. When you meet with a career coach, you do not need to come with specific questions. Every student is in a different place when they come into our office — some are exploring majors, some want to find internships, some know exactly what they want to do and some may just need quick guidance for an upcoming concern. Whatever your concern might be, a career coach can help guide you.

The best way to make an appointment is to look at the bios for our career coaches to decide who you would like to meet with. If you need to make an appointment within a short amount of time, you can call the front desk at 801-581-6186, and someone will help you schedule an appointment with a coach who has the soonest availability. You can meet with a coach as many times as you like.

How should I prepare for life after graduation if I am still undecided?

Meeting a career coach as early as possible is important, especially if you are unsure about opportunities that are available. A career coach can help you create an individualized action plan; show you where and how to find volunteer opportunities, jobs and internships; can let you know about upcoming events that involve campus recruiters and professional development workshops; and can offer helpful tips on maximizing your time as a University of Utah student.

In addition, our coaches can help you explore your strengths, values and passions. We offer assessment tools that can help you better align your interests and understand how that translates to a major or career. Our office is here to support you so that you can graduate from the University of Utah feeling confident in who you are, what you want to do and how to get there. Seeing a career coach early and often, is the first important step to helping you succeed.

What services does the center provide?

We are here to support you as a student, and then as an alum, in a variety of ways. We offer one-on-one coaching appointments, career exploration, professional development workshops and opportunities to connect with employers through career fairs, employer meet-and-eats, alumni panels, employer site visits and more (all free of charge). We review application materials for internships, job positions, scholarships and graduate school. In addition, we have exclusive online resources for tips and tricks and job boards, where we currently have more than 2,000 internship openings within UCareerpath.

Whether a student is in his or her first year, is a transfer student, an international student, a DACA student, is approaching graduation, has graduated less than a year ago, or is an alum, we are here to listen, support and help create a professional development plan for their future. Additionally, we serve our alumni for the rest of their lifetime. 

What is the best way for students to use the center?

The best way for students to use our office is to meet with someone from our dedicated team of career coaches and career ambassadors to address student questions. Students should also explore our website to become familiar with who we are and what we do. Students can stop by our office with quick-help questions between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, or set up a more in-depth meeting with a career coach. Our career coaches are professionally trained in career coaching, with a variety of experiences and industry expertise.

We understand that students’ lives are hectic, so we offer phone, Skype and email appointments, along with 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. appointments. Additionally, we provide many free events where students can network, meet alumni and employers to find out more about who they are and what they value. Students who participate in these events can walk away with a new mentor, a better understanding of a career field, and potentially, an internship or job opportunity.

Will the name change affect any of the services?

No, the Career and Professional Development Center will still provide the same helpful career coaching resources to students, and all of the essential functions it has always provided will remain the same.