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ORM Podcast: Employment ETA With Career Services Transcripts


All right, everyone. And welcome to this week's episode of the Online Road Map podcast. And this week we have Career Services with us. So I'd like to welcome Dave Durham, who is the director of Career Services to our show. Welcome. And thanks for joining us, Dave. Thanks Amber. It's a pleasure to be here.

So I wanted you to go ahead and take a few minutes and introduce yourself and tell us about, you know, your affiliation with the university, what you do here, and you know, what Career Services does. My name is Dave Durham and I'm the director of the Career Services Center. I've been at Career Services for about 13 years.

I've been at the university for a lot longer than that. I came to the Career Services center from the college of engineering, where I was involved with their go operative education program. And. A smaller college career center, their Career Services, the central Career Services. We represent the entire university.

So sometimes a little surprising to people, not just undergrads, graduate students as well. We really have to. Primary asides, if you will, to our shop, to our office. And one is preparing students for whatever it is they're going to do after GRA after WVU. So whether you're planning on getting your degree in going into the workforce or going on to graduate school we can help prepare for that.

And we do that in, by Really, if we can focusing on individual students and what's needed to build a strong resume depending on whether what type of industry you're going into, whether you want to go into say, for example, with a corporation or government agency or a nonprofits, there's a lot of different.

Types of preparation that you need for that. And that's kind of where our expertise comes in. We can help you become career ready for any of those areas and across all the various majors. So, so one side of the shop then is about being career ready, student preparation. And then the other part is, are, is, is providing exposure to employers.

Whether it be through internships or experiential learning or our career fairs, we still tend to focus a lot of our attention. A lot of our efforts on career fairs, we feel that it's a great opportunity to try to get some FaceTime right now it's virtual face time, but some, some one-to-one opportunity to exposure to employers is that there's no substitute for that when the employers prefer it.

And it's, and it's great for the students too, to be able to kind of tell your story directly to an employer. So those are in a nutshell, that's kind of the two sides to what we do in Career Services. The third thing I tell people that we do a lot of is helping students first, either if they're undecided or unsure about a major, we can help them with that.

If they know what they want to major, that they know what they're majoring in, they've already made the decision, but they're not exactly sure what they can do with that. Then we can also help them along those lines. So that's more of a, a career planning coming up with a career plan based on your four years at WVU.

So that's basically what we do at career success. Thank you, David. Yeah. And that's, that's great to know. I know networking is huge for the students. So getting out there, getting to, to meet employers are getting, you know, your name out there is always a good thing, but, and that's interesting too, with the career planning, you know, we have a lot of students who maybe start out one major and decide that they want to change majors.

So then they could connect with you as well. Correct, too, to kind of discuss what that looks like. Yes, absolutely. We, like I said, we work with students who a lot of students come to college knowing, knowing they need a college education, but they're just not sure either they're good at a lot of things or they're, they're, you know, they've got a couple of things they can't decide between and we try to help them narrow that, focus down and figure out what exactly it is they want to do with their life.

Following, following college. Yeah, that's, that's such a common thing I feel like. So that's great to know. So thanks for that advice there as well. So Maymester is new and we're excited to offer it this year. And I know David Career Services has been involved with special sessions offering. You know, courses during our winter intercession.

And so this year we were happy to have you guys back to offer a class during Maymester. So I wanted to see if you could talk a little bit about the course that you were planning to offer during this Maymester. Yeah. That's another thing that a lot of folks at the university aren't necessarily aware of is that we offer for, for credit four credit classes, one credit hour courses under the course title orientation.

So O R I N, and those courses are designed somewhat w we don't, we don't like that. We don't call them freshmen, sophomore, junior, senior classes, but they are sequential courses that are designed to help a student. Grow and build, you know, our mantra, one of our, that we kind of use it offices that a great resume takes four years to build to everybody knows that it takes four years at least to get a college education.

But it also, those same four years are just equally as important in building all the, the fundamentals, the foundation that you need to build a great career, a great resume. So. What we do is we offer these four courses and the first one is called Orientation 151, it's choosing a major and a career.

And that's the course that we are offering and may measure. It's also the course that we offer in the winter intercession, because we feel like as an opportunity, they're usually a fairly small enrollment there, and we feel like we can spend the instructor can spend more time. With a student it's condensed, but yet they, because it's smaller, they can spend more time talking to the student about.

There, what, what it is about them, that, that can help them give us some information to help you choose a major. So what's important about it too, is once you've chosen a major and kind of got an idea of the career pathway, you want to go into, you don't necessarily need to know nobody needs to pick their exact job, you know, unless you're going into nursing or even nursing, you know, there's different types of nursing.

You'd already be a nurse in a private practice versus a hospital versus the ER. And you know, there's lots of. Lots of opportunities. So you just begin to develop that sort of pathway that you want to go on wheats. And we tend to wind up talking about career mapping and career pathways a lot because it just as a great analogy about moving forward and, and, and honing in on your target or your destination.

So the, the, the orientation one 51 is there's really Kind of three subpopulations out there. The students that, that it would be ideal for one is if you really are undecided about what you want to major in, it's a great course for that. Maybe you're in a major, but you're not sure you're not a hundred percent sure.

It's a one credit hour course. It's not a, it's not daunting. It's actually very, very interesting. Because you learned a lot about yourself and about what types of jobs and opportunities are out there in areas that are of interest to you. And then the third group is that like Amber, like you mentioned, is a student that maybe got out thought.

They thought they knew what they wanted to major in and they got out there and maybe it wasn't exactly what they wanted it to be. Or maybe they found out that It's too much math. I don't, you know, I don't want to do this anymore and they're refocusing recentering or redirecting their search of what they want to do.

So it's a great course for that. And like I said, it comes in it with may master being condensed. It's a quick and easy way to, to learn a lot about some of the other opportunities available out there. That's awesome. And David, and you'll probably laugh at this, but sometimes I'm like, what do I want to do when I grow up?

Oh, it's hard to nail that down. And I still, yeah, I still say that too. So I feel like we could definitely relate to, to the students and kind of. Where they're at. And you know, it's hard to make up your, your mind sometimes, especially when you're young and the whole world is out there ahead of you. So I think it's really a great way you guys do and the courses that you do offer.

So what, in your opinion are some of the benefits of a student taking your course during the Maymester. Well, like I mentioned this first course, it's the reason we offer this course that the other three, one credit hour courses that we offer are all about. We actually refer to the career. Our career path has plan.

We say, planet, build it, work it live it. Instead of sort of freshmen, sophomore, junior, senior, those are the stages. So the planning is obviously are choosing a major and figuring out what direction you want to head off in and then build it, work it live, it sort of follows, are oriented. The second course, the third course and the fourth course.

And by, by completing. And in order to move into those others, those other sequential courses, you really need to be in your major and kind of, you know, getting involved in your coursework, getting to know your faculty and your fellow students, and learning more about the major as when those courses are.

We can start. We can start working on things like building your resume. Like you mentioned, Amber, the networking, building your network, you know, we, we really walk you through those, those three courses. It's a lot of, it's the same material. We're going to talk about resumes in all three of them. As, as it builds, we're going to talk about networking.

Is it they're going to teach you how to, how to. What networking is what professional networking. It looks like how to build that network. And then in the end, how to use it to your advantage, same thing with interviewing, we started introducing them to the different types of interviews the interview process, how to prepare for those, and then the actual, you know, at the end, you may preparing for some very specific interview with a specific company or employer.

So by taking. If you're, if you aren't absolutely sure about your major or you are re refocusing your, you know, what, changing what you're going to major in or you're, or you're still just remain undecided. I am taking that 151 over the Maymester or summer, when you get back to school in the fall, you're ready to really go full blast into the, the first that orientation 152, which is more about planning, beginning to build a career plan.

Very cool. So I know you talked a little bit about, you know, students who are maybe looking to change their major. I don't know what major they want to choose yet, or, and you know, undecided type of degree currently for the Orientation 151. Do you, do you recommend a certain grade level or is there a specific type of student that you would, you would recommend this course to.

Well there's really not a rank or grade level. I mean, because that's the reason we don't call the four are our four parts freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, because you can be, you know, the hours are basically, you know, your, your, your rank is based on how many hours you've completed. It doesn't necessarily mean that's where you are in your, in your major.

So a student could be a sophomore. Have sophomore hours, what? That'd be 31 hours, right? It would make them a sophomore, but not, not necessarily be really confident about the major they've chosen. We'd prefer they would be, but maybe not. And that's okay. But, but, so, so you may still be sort of unsure or an undesired.

You could also, you know, I've seen students that are sophomore hours in there. They, they started right out in their major. They were direct admits, and they're really right into their coursework and moving right along. And, you know, they may be ready for the orientation two 51 far advanced. So we really don't.

We really try to look at where the student is in, within their major, as far as matriculating through the requirements of that major, to determine who should be in that class. So we, we. I'm sure as an institution we'd like for seniors not to be there in that first class, but we but we don't have a restriction on that from the standpoint of, of your rank.

So I think there, there may be a senior restriction on that, that just, just because that's how. I think the faculty Senate wanted it set up, but we even, I think we've made exceptions on that before. That's good advice. So definitely guys this is for kind of all walks of your academic path, right? It doesn't matter where you're at and if you are a senior, you know, you can definitely reach out to us and David and you know, we'll, we'll figure it out, right.

If need be. So, so that's good advice. Thanks, David. So can you tell us a little bit about what Career Services offers during the summer term? Because I know summer is, you know, a time when a lot of students go home. So what's available. So to the students who may stay on campus or those who are attending virtually during, during the summer term, Well, that's, that's really a great question.

We actually, we do not reduce our services in the summer, which we consider we're a 12 month office. So we have anything that other than career fairs, we don't host any career fairs in the summer, just because. Up until this year, those have all been live in person career fair. So students aren't here, so we don't, we don't hold those, but we do even still have some on campus recruiting in the summer.

If there's a company that's coming to campus and they've spoken to a couple of students that are here, happened to be on campus that they want to interview. Some of that goes on, but, but really it's a great time for a meeting with career counselors. One-on-one. In camp, on campus or virtual. So everything from that you would expect resume building interviewing experiential learning opportunities, summer internships, that sort of thing.

It's a great time to meet with a group counseling to start building your career plan for if you're a sophomore or junior. If you're a senior, it's a really good time to make sure you get to get those final touches to your resume. Start learning more about interviewing there's. We have some really great resources now online, where there's some resources out there where students that have interviewed with different companies will go on and share information about their experience interviewing for that company.

So you can almost, if it's a bigger company or like a corporation, you can usually go on and find. What type of interview they do. Cause they're thought of different there's behavioral and situational and technical. There's a lot of different types of interviews and different companies tend to utilize those in their HR offices.

And so there's actually resources to go and do a little research. And if you know, what type of interview that a particular company does, that you can prepare better for it. So we offer all of our services. During the summer, like I said, with the exception of the career fair, we, and, and some summers we do have a student appointment fair for a fall for when the kids come back to campus in the fall, the students that they can the students that are looking for summer jobs on campus.

Very good. That's good to know. I mean, I think a lot of students have a conception that, or a misconception, I should say that, you know, everybody goes home for summer and services aren't available and that's, that's very much not the case, especially with you guys, which I think is awesome. And I wanted to ask David, would you say that.

Students probably have to make an appointment to meet with a career service counselor and, and all of that. But would you say they're more available during the summer for students since there's less students on campus or how would a student go about, you know, reaching out to our career service counselor to get appointments set up.

Okay, well, actually we're, we're going to talk about a handshake in a little bit, and that would be a good place to kind of step in there. So we use an online system called handshake. It's a Career Services management platform by, by technically it's called and every student at WVU. And it, every student that's graduated from WVU in the last several years has a handshake account.

It's easy to access. It's literally, if you type, if you search, Join It'll bring you to the login for WVU account and you use your WVU credentials with the dual authenticity, just like anything else. Any other WVU site, new login to handshake has several different. Portals it's, it's, it's a place for the student to maintain.

They can keep the records. We get up, we get an upload from banner. So the students majors, minors, GPA, anything that they would need to know is, is up, is uploaded in advance into their profiles. It's not viewable by employers. So it, it is, it is secure. So you don't need to worry about that, but it, but what it does is it allows, it allows the system that way, too.

If we would need to send an announcement out to say every accounting major, every senior accounting major, it allows us to send a targeted email out without bugging everybody that, you know, some animal science. So sophomore getting an email about a senior accounting job. So it allows us to really drill down and apply a lot of filters based on the individual student's criteria.

So it also, we also have our employers have handshake accounts on a separate side so that the students can maintain their resumes. Any, anything that they would want to share with an employer. Maybe some, if there maybe if there are a writer, they could share some of their samples of their writing artwork, those kinds of things can be uploaded in there and maintain there as well.

But the, the, the. One of the unique, the unique things about handshake is they can actually go in through handshake and schedule an appointment with a career specialist. It might be worth taking a second and telling you listeners, Amber, how we do that now we've changed how we do our career counseling rather than having.

Just a pool of, of career counselors that help whoever comes along next you know, sort of like as a generalist, we have taken all of the majors at WVU and mapped those into what we call career pathways. And some of those career pathways are like healthcare or STEM or. Visual performing arts. So depending on what major the student is in there, they're assigned at least as a starting point to a pathway.

And then we have a career development specialist assigned to each pathway. So if you're an, if you're a Oh, let's say for example, an industrial engineering student, there's one person is your career specialist. So when you make an appointment with them, you're going to see that person. If you're making a second appointment, you're going to see that same person.

And so we feel like that provides a lot of continuity, but the biggest thing it does is it allows that career development specialist to kind of get some expertise in all the majors within that pathway. If you think about it for a minute, I think WVU has 165 undergraduate degrees. It's impossible for me to become an expert in all of those.

To know what you need on your resume. If you're an accounting major or you're a zoology major, you know, and everything in between a to Z. So it's just, it's just impossible. So by dividing them up into these six, these six major pathways now I've only got 15 or 18 majors that are related. You know, that I need to learn about and I can become an expert in that I can become specialized in those things so that when a student tells me, yeah, I'm in civil engineering, but I want to work for the federal government in this, this department or this, this particular agency we can.

Begin to develop expertise, to know exactly what would be, would be powerful to be on your resume, to be a strong candidate for that job. So, so when, when you, when a student can goes into their handshake account to make an appointment, it will automatically, if I choose a resume review, And I'm that I'm a geology student.

It's going to place me with the career development. It's going to give me the opportunities to sign up for appointments with that career development specialist. That's assigned to my major, to my path. So it, it allows them to because we, because handshake, we know what their major is, it just automatically sends them to that, to that person to schedule an appointment.

Yeah, that's very cool. So handshake guys sign up for it. If you haven't already, it's like the doors waiting to be open there. And it's so nice that the career service specialists are able to. Work with the same student too. Like they get to know who the students are as well. And they really do know those majors and they know what's out there in the field and they know who to connect people with.

So, so many great things come out of that. Just making those connections is, is an awesome opportunity for us. So thanks for that advice and the information on handshake. I know we talk about it a lot at the university, so I know the students probably hear about it, but it's nice to get some, some more information on it as well.

Yeah. And, and it is, and not to, not to correct you Amber, but it isn't anything you need to sign up for. You already have the account. All you need to do is go in there and log into that and, and, and begin to maneuver around and, and, and complete, you know, add the things that you want to add to your profile.

And again, it's, it's, it's pretty simple. I think if you even just. Type handshake. If you search like Google search handshake, it'll bring you to their website where you pick your school and then you go to the only bad thing is you got to scroll all the way to the bottom, to the W2's, to find West Virginia University.

And then it'll be Milwaukee in that way. If you don't put in the WVU dot join So if you just go to handshakes, Generic website. It'll still get you to where you go and then to log in again, like I said, you just use your WVU credentials that you use for everything else. Yeah. You guys log in super easy.

Get in there and start, start scoop, looking around, check it out, scope it out. And there were no what you learn or hear you connect with or, or anything like that. So it's a great opportunity. And Amber, if I could there's, if, if there's two other ways as well, the students can email us. At, and it's pretty simple.

It's Career Services, all one word, just Career Services at mail dot, And we'll you know, if let's say, if you're S you don't have access to handshake, or it's not, you're not able to get on and you're having any problems. You're. Absolutely welcome to email us and tell us that you'd like to have an appointment with a, with a career counselor and what it's about.

And we'll walk you right through that and help you set it up. And you can even call in. And our direct line is you'll have to leave a message, but we get back to the messages on the same day, but the, because we are working remotely, our front desk right now, but it's (304) 293-2221. That's 2221 and that's you can leave a message there.

And those we've got those messages coming across to our everyone's emails and someone, the right person will personal we'll review that and get it in the right person's hands. And they'll get back in touch. So last question I have for you, David. I like to leave our, leave our listeners with one piece of advice from our guests.

So I always ask, and I'm going to ask you as well. What is one piece of advice that you would like to offer our students? And this could be about Career Services in general, Maymester summer, whatever you prefer, but what's your one piece of advice for our listeners today? Oh, well, that's different. I was had runners prepared to give you my what my one piece of advice about may master in summer term, but if I can give it to you on Career Services as well, I would just say is it's very, very easy to kind of push off your career readiness to the later.

I can tell you that the important things that employers look for now, nowadays is because every, every, so much, you know, one, one nice thing for us with, with the pandemic and everything going virtual, most employers were already operating. Very effectively in the virtual world. It's very rare anymore that you mail a resume to someone it's, it's almost exclusively done through applying online, whether it's submitting a resume online or completing an online application.

So that really levels the playing field geographically, so to speak. So I can post a job online and get applicants from. Anywhere, literally anywhere in the world. So that puts a lot of competition on, on the job seekers. So it's, it's really easy now for employers to find. A large number of students that meet their academic performance.

So if they, if I just make a use a quick example, if I'm hiring and I want to hire the accountant, and I know I'm going to get a lot of applications, so I'm only going to consider accounting majors from these 10 schools where I like to recruit that have a 3.2 or higher. Well, I'm gonna, I know I'm gonna get a hundred, so.

Now I'm going to have a hundred applicants that meet my academic requirement. So now what am I going to look at to try to narrow that down to a reasonable number of six or eight to interview? So they're going to look at things like. What type of experience you have, what type of work-related internships or summer jobs, what have you done?

They're going to look at things like perhaps something in your resume that demonstrates, demonstrates good communication skills, depending on the field. It might be volunteer hours. You know, recruiters can tell a lot about a person. If they've volunteered hours with habitat for humanity or, or special Olympics or something like that.

So it's all those things that we refer to demonstrating leadership things, what we refer to as co-curricular and extracurricular things that they look for. And the what. So my one piece, it's a long way to get around in my one piece of advice. My, my, all of those things that they're going to look for. Our cumulative thing.

You know, if you wait until your senior year to kind of really start getting serious about the job search, it's too late to join an organization and take a leadership role. It's too late to get a summer internship. If you don't have any summers left before you graduate. So what I want to tell you is start working on some of those things be, be direct, be intentional about.

Your decisions. So when you make a decision, what you're going to do next summer, maybe try to work something into that in that even if there's a freshmen or sophomore, try to work something in there that is there's going to be something that can be meaningful on a resume. You know, whether it's study abroad, what, regardless of what it is.

Just because if you started early, it, you can chip away at it a little bit at a time. It's not so daunting. To wait all the way to the end and try to do it all at one time. It's, it's pretty tough. So to be competitive, I would say again, thinking about your strategy, your career plan as early as possible in your college career.

That's a great piece of advice. I actually, now you have me curious, what is your main master in summer term piece of advice? I know you said you had that too, so what's that. Well, I what I always like about the fact that of summer school and, and and. Now with the Maymester is it's, it's an opportunity.

If, if you've had a little bump in the road and you need to catch up, it's a great opportunity to catch up. If I can do it. Like I, you know, if I just need an hour or two or three, I can, and I can do it in may minister. Now I'm not tight taking up my entire summer so I can do an internship or, or a summer job that.

That's work-related it's career-related so it's a great way to catch up, but it's also a great way to get a little bit ahead. There's nothing wrong with being a little bit ahead, or if you already had staying ahead, I always think that it's no, I, I I've always been the type that I would much rather, you know, hurry up and get my work done.

And then sorta just. You know, sandbag a little bit and be ready to go when the time comes. So, so either catching up so that you don't, you know, it's so much easier to be, to, to keep up or, or be ahead than it is to try to catch up. So may master gives you another little window of opportunity to try to catch up.

Yes for sure. It definitely does. All right. Well, David, I want to thank you so much for joining us today. It's really great to, to hear what the Career Services has to offer to hear the availability through the summer is the same. You know, throughout the rest of the, of the university terms, that's, that's super exciting for our students to hear about handshake and how to, you know, log into that and connect with the career service representatives.

That's all such good advice, and I really appreciate you coming on today and giving some of your time to to talk to our students about it. So thank you so much. It's been my pleasure, Amber, I, I'm always happy to have an opportunity to talk to our students and alumni. And if you don't mind me just throwing one last thing out there.

I do want students to know that that our services also remain not just during the summer, but we, we also provide our services to our alumni. So even after you've graduated your handshake account will stay active. Even if someone graduated before we had a handshake, we can put their student information, their, their previous information back into handshake so that they can search jobs.

The companies post jobs through handshake. Obviously we schedule appointments, interviews, career fairs, everything through handshake. So it's basically everything career-related enhanced. But so we do provide our services. No. If someone who graduated 40 years ago comes back and wants to update their resume, we're going to help with that.

So we kind of stole the quote from Pat White, the ex-Mountaineer quarterback, and said, once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer, we that's one thing I always like to make sure students are aware of them even after your graduate. Don't. Don't feel like we cut you off because we certainly don't.

Wow. Yeah, guys, there's really, this is such a great opportunity. You all should be logging in and, you know, trying to connect with a representative because this is a connection for life and, and what a, what a great thing to be able to, you know, they say. How, how many times did you update your resume year?

David? Is it like every six months or so? What was that like a rule? Well, when you're in school, it's every, every six months simply just, just because you're, you know, you're moving on to you finished a semester and if it's over the summer, then it's something, it could be something pretty significant. I mean, you guys can have that for life, right?

Really? You can update it anytime. You're looking for a new opportunity. If, if, if you just want to step outside of your comfort zone and do something new. When you're a little bit more senior in your career or whatever the case may be, right? You guys are always there to help. And that's an awesome advantage of being a Mountaineer.

So I love that. Thanks again, Amber for inviting me. Great, David, thank you so much. And yeah, guys, we will be back next week on the Online Road Map and until then everybody enjoy your day and we'll talk soon.

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