Northwestern students get help on the job hunt

Jennifer Suh

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Northwestern seniors took advantage of plenty of job search workshops, events and advice over the last ten days during University Career Services’ “Backpack to Briefcase” series.

After sponsoring a successful event, “InterNU,” last spring, Career Services and Associated Student Government teamed up again to organize “One Stop Career Shop” as the first event in the series on Monday. Along with stations for general job search advice, résumé and cover letter review, and mini mock-interviews, stations for wardrobe advice and taking profile pictures for Linkedln were added to this year’s event.

While acknowledging the difficulty of finding full-time employment, Kimberley Cornwell, an associate director of career services at Medill, said being proactive during the job search is key.

“[If] all you do is send out your résumés and cover letters and you’re applying to jobs that you’ve found online, that’s not going to fly in this type of economy and market,” she said.

Many consultants had optimistic views about NU graduates’ job prospects.

“I think you do have an advantage [by having a NU degree],” Jose Santos, Career Services assistant director for liberal arts, said.

Along with Santos, other counselors at the event suggested name recognition of the “Northwestern brand” would be an asset for students.

“[NU] is a very well-known university… But, having said that, I also think that it’s up to the students to be able to market their Northwestern degree,” Tracie Thomas, Career Services assistant director for programming, said.

A new addition to the event, the station for wardrobe advice with professional clothiers from Astor & Black was popular among students. Wardrobe stylists provided specific clothing tips, such as avoiding loud jewelry and open-toed shoes.

“The wardrobe advice was really great, because business casual is such a broad generalization,” Weinberg senior Laura Booth said.

One full day of the career programming was allotted to international students because UCS wanted to help them with additional difficulties they may encounter during their job search, such as the H-1B visa process. The workshop was developed to “make sure international students realize UCS is here for them,” Career Services career counselor Christina Siders said.

Career Services sponsored “Fall Career Expo” on the final day of the “Backpack to Briefcase” with recruiters from about 90 companies. The second floor of Norris University Center was packed with undergraduates, graduate students and alumni throughout the four-hour event, with the stairs full of female students changing into heels from their flip-flops.

Recruiters mentioned flexibility, adaptability and foreign language skills as qualities they were looking for. One common mistake is failure to research beforehand, said Kevin Su, Weinberg ‘09,a business analyst at Sears Holdings Corporation.

Several NU alumni said they were happy to be back on campus as recruiters for the Expo, and students may have also benefited from the opportunity to talk to people who were once in their position.

“Because we know that Northwestern doesn’t have a business major, we understand when a student says, ‘I did this instead,'” said Walgreens market manager Caroline Barry, Weinberg ‘08.

– jennifersuh2014@u.northwestern.edu, contributing writer

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