Getting You To Be Your Best Self: Career and Professional Development Center

HerCampus interviewed staff at the Career and Professional Development Center to learn what they do and how they can help you! The CPDC is for every student, especially any student that wants a leg up in their career and future planning. Read below to learn all about it!

What does the Career and Professional Development Center do?

We do a lot! The core of our mission is to help students and alumni progress toward their professional aspirations. No matter where students are in their career exploration and planning process, we have resources to help them get to their next step. We provide career assessments and coaching for students who are uncertain about what they want to do with their life. We provide resume coaching, cover letter reviews, practice interviews, and other job search resources for students who know what they want to do and just need assistance in marketing themselves well. We also provide an online job board and host several events throughout the year to connect students with employers.

What should students be doing NOW for their career? 

No matter where someone is in their career planning process, it is important to take action and plan ahead. A student’s course of action will depend on where they are in their planning process. For students considering multiple majors or career options, a good place to start might be doing online research about careers, conducting informational interviews with professionals, or attending employer information sessions to learn about potential options. Students who have more clarity around their career goals should not wait to begin building their experience & network in their field. If this is you, start building your resume through internships, part-time jobs, and volunteer/leadership experiences to gain experience in your field and make valuable professional connections.What kind of student might want to reach out and visit the Career and Professional Development Center?

We are happy to help any student! Many of our resources are available online at careers.utah.edu, which is a good place to start with questions.

What does the average day look like for you, working at the C&PDC?

As a Career Ambassador, we staff the front desk, are part of the Career Education team, and we also act as liaisons between our office and students at the U.  At the front desk, we interact with a lot of students, alumni, and employers. We manage the office’s phones, emails, and our new job/internship board on Handshake. As part of the Career Education team, we are in charge of our walk in quick help hours and appointments. We help review students’ resumes and cover letters, help them with job/internship search, developing their LinkedIn, career exploration and interviewing preparation. The Career Ambassador team also does many presentations and workshops on campus, help with our office’s events, and lead some programming as well! 

Does it cost students anything to access your resources?

Most of our resources are free to students, and alumni up to 1-year past graduation! Students can access Handshake (our job board, and portal to other exclusive online resources), career coaching, and our events at no cost. There is a small fee for assessments students may wish to take to learn more about their interests & strengths.

Any success stories from students you'd like to/be able to tell us about?

Here are a few testimonials we’ve gathered from recent programming/coaching surveys:

·The Career & Professional Development Center has been so helpful! I can’t talk enough about how much I love the CPDC on campus. They are easy to work with and you leave feeling confident.

·The purpose of the Career & Professional Development Center is to help students feel like they have the resources to move onto the next step of their professional lives. They provide the tools and even the confidence for students to go on and achieve their goals. It was extremely valuable for me to have my career coach as I was going through this transition where I often felt lost at times. She gave me the motivation and confidence I needed to get my first professional job out of college.

· Although I always planned on visiting the CPDC during my senior year for assistance with job search, I’ll admit to initially being a skeptic.  As a non-traditional student with a self-employment background, I doubted that my needs could be met. I couldn’t have been more wrong.  During my first visit I met with [a Career Coach] for walk-in resume review, and the experience was life-changing.  By giving me constructive feedback and a clear action plan, [the coach] made me look ten years younger on paper and I felt empowered about my future. Since that first introduction, I’ve met with [my coach] several times, wherein she enhanced my interview skills, cover letter techniques and reviewed several resume iterations. [My coach]’s coaching coupled with StrengthsQuest training, showed me how to articulate the value that I bring to my future employer.

Higher education and earning a degree are invaluable.  But a degree alone does not land a job. Job search is intimidating. The resources available through the Career & Professional Development Center turn intimidation into confidence by providing life-long skills that transcend education and work history.

Is there a time of year that's best for visiting the C&PDC?

Our busy season tends to fluctuate with the academic calendar and with corporate recruitment schedules. Career Fairs are typically early fall & spring semesters (September 25th & October 2nd this fall!), and we host several events leading up to the fairs for students to prepare. We also get more career exploration traffic around the time when students are registering for classes, and prior to graduation. Most graduating students have a sense of urgency to come up with a post-graduation plan when they are about to graduate, and we recommend coming in earlier to start figuring this out!

Any tips or tricks for landing your dream job that students don't know but they should?

In one short phrase: take action now. People sometimes talk about being “in the right place at the right time” as what landed them in the perfect opportunity. However, we believe these opportunities don’t often come by luck or magic… We in the CPDC challenge you to put yourself in the right place at the right time to increase the range of available opportunities. Attend events, meet people, ask questions, demonstrate curiosity, enthusiasm, and excitement around opportunities—this will be more likely to translate into success.

Whether you're a career-minded collegiate or a laid-back-hope-for-the-best type, CPDC has something for you, and is worth a visit today! Or, you know, whenever you can fit it in your busy schedule. Happy job hunting, collegiettes!