University Career Services looks to increase student awareness after 75 years

Paulina Firozi, Campus Editor

As University Career Services celebrates its 75th year, it hopes to continue to appeal to students’ needs through updated online services and increased promotion.

While UCS is planning many special events in Winter and Spring quarters that include speakers and a celebration of long-term employers, short-term goals include additions to its website, increased presence on social media and a library exhibit that displays artifacts from the organization’s history and previous locations.

UCS executive director Lonnie Dunlap said she was excited to look back at the history of the program to see how it has changed, both in recent years and since the 1940s.

“We want to help students appreciate where we come from and where we’re going,” Dunlap said.

The updates to the website, Dunlap said, will include “generational changes” that will make it more accessible and personalized. The changes will integrate how technology has changed the job market. Students will be able to personalize what resources they need from UCS.

Dunlap added that the most significant changes in recent years include how students use technology to interact with UCS as well as with potential employers. UCS hopes to finish changes to the website by the end of the quarter and have the library exhibit completed by the beginning of Winter Quarter.

“Not too long ago, many of us who work at career services remember, students used to wait in line to sign up for an appointment,” Dunlap said. “It wasn’t on a computer. And job postings were in a binder.”

She added that the Internet has also changed how recruiters find potential employees and how students conduct job searches.

Although no new program changes are planned, Dunlap said UCS will continue to gear resources toward what students need the most. Internships and social media, she said, are among the newest services offered.

“How students prepare for the job market right now is so important, it really impacts the outcome of their time here, their options after they graduate,” she said. “The job market is so volatile. How to manage the unknowns in the job market is huge. It wasn’t like that not long ago.”

Medill senior Alexa Kamm is featured on UCS’ current website as a student who has succeeded by utilizing its resources. She said she originally heard about UCS as a senator on Associated Student Government’s academic committee and was later introduced to internship fairs and resume reviews that she said really helped her.

Kamm said she was able to line up a summer internship with General Electric last year after a suggestion from UCS’ internship specialist Betsy Gill. She got another internship with them this past summer and is interviewing for a full time position. 

“If it wasn’t for career services, I wouldn’t have any job prospects,” Kamm said.

In her four years, Kamm said she has mostly seen the addition of internship fairs that focus on what students can do while they are still at school.

“They’ve been responding to what students want, from LinkedIn headshots to people who are there consulting about what wardrobe you should have for your interview,” she said.

Kamm said she believes it would be helpful for UCS to use Facebook and other resources to make students, especially freshmen, more aware of how they can benefit from their workshops and events. If services were promoted on Facebook, she said, more students would come across the information.

Weinberg senior Ben Ceaser said he had a very good experience with UCS. He said employees reviewed his resume and helped him even without an appointment. He agreed with Kamm that students would benefit if they knew more about available services. 

“There is not one student on campus who doesn’t use Facebook to procrastinate and feel bad about it,” she said. “So if they can have a bit of productivity come out of that, I think that’s very helpful.”

Dunlap said UCS looks at how students find out about their resources. She said although faculty referrals were at the top of the list, traffic on the website and Facebook was continually increasing.