Understaffed Career Services must fill two positions

Rani Gupta

High turnover in University Career Services has administrators searching to fill two positions and the understaffed office stretching to meet students’ needs.

Lonnie Dunlap, who took over as director of career services in February, said the office is seeking two assistant directors to focus on business and liberal arts jobs, as well as media, marketing and fine arts careers.

Dunlap said Emily Murphy is temporarily filling the business and liberal arts position, and other staff members are sharing the responsibilities of the other position.

“We have a great staff that pulls together to do what’s needed,” Dunlap said. “We have managed through the other assistant directors to do the essentials involved.”

Dunlap said the high turnover is a result of several unrelated problems, such as maternity leave.

Assistant directors are responsible for reviewing resumes and counseling students on industry developments and issues. The office houses directors concentrating in science and engineering careers, as well as in government and nonprofit work.

Staff members assumed the tasks of notifying students of job openings and meeting with students, Dunlap said. But she said permanent replacements are needed to maintain relationships with businesses so directors can better inform students about the companies.

“One of the things that’s really important in this area of service is working with employers and department representatives,” she said. “What we’re trying to accomplish with a permanent hire (is) to get to know (businesses’) long-term staffing needs.”

Brian Altman, assistant director of Career Services, said an important aspect of the job is to work with employers when they come to campus. But he said the employer relations department maintains contacts with corporations.

“Relationships with employers have not been lost in transition,” Altman said.

Though students had mixed opinions about Career Services, most noticed no change in the performance of the office.

Lisa Strumwasser, who landed a job through an on-campus interview, said the office brought top companies to Northwestern but failed to provide personalized information to students.

“Being in Chicago, I thought we would miss out on all the big banking firms because they’re in New England,” said Strumwasser, a Weinberg senior. “(But) the only firms that come to campus are in consulting and banking. That was good for me, but not for people not into those industries.”

Mike Schwarzwalder, who is still searching for a job, said the office lacked business contacts and forced him to research and set up interviews on his own.

“I thought they would give direction as far as getting a job, but I found that their main duty is resume checking,” said Schwarzwalder, a Weinberg senior.

But Weinberg senior Danny Resnick, who received several offers through on-campus interviews, said students must make an effort to use resources like interviewing workshops.

“‘I felt that if I was willing to invest the time and energy, it’s a very useful resource,” he said.