Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

An Insider’s View of the Career Center

An Insider’s View of the Career Center

By Meghan Currier

I am writing this viewpoint in response to an editorial that appeared in The Hoya on Oct. 12 entitled “Career Central?” (page 2). This editorial made me angry because the information that it contained consisted mainly of half-truths and misconceptions. This letter is the opinion of a student who, having worked as a career assistant at the MBNA Career Education Center for the last three and a half years, feels that she has some basis on which to comment. It is, however, in no way an official response from the center.

For most of us, graduation signifies the need for full-time employment. I have news for you, though. The only reason that your entrance into senior year should send you into a “frenzied” search for a job is if you have never had a job in your life or if the dreaded senior year “frenzy” has inspired your first trip to the career center. If you have never worked/volunteered/interned a day in your life, then I sincerely hope that you are brilliant, that you possess incredible contacts that you are willing to exploit to your undeserving advantage or that you are very lucky. If you have never been to the career center, then shame on you, but there is still no reason to panic.

Whether you realize it or not, you have at your disposal one of the most formidable career centers in the country. Students at other schools are actually jealous of your undergraduate career center and vie (as well as pay dearly) for the limited privilege of using it. The center has always been “a truly useful resource,” in spite of the editorial board’s recently expressed doubts as to the comprehensive nature of the center’s services,

In the time that I have worked at the career center, the most common complaint I have heard – usually by unemployed students who are boycotting the center for various, self-defeating reasons – is that it is caters mainly to business students. The staff at the career center has been patiently responding to this “problem” since before I began working there. Prosperous business and consulting groups have a constant need to replenish their entry-level labor supply and are the employers who recruit the most heavily. Period. This national circumstance has nothing to do with the recruiting policies of Georgetown’s undergraduate career center.

Also note that the e-recruiting schedule is posted by cycle and as companies confirm their intention to recruit on campus. The fall semester is the time period when business and finance companies begin their hiring process. Not only do employers in the non-profit, education, legal and communications fields generally not have the same voluminous need for new recruits, they also do not anticipate their employment needs this early in the year. As amazingly inconvenient as it may seem, if you want to work in these fields, then quite often you have to seek out the opportunities instead of expecting the opportunities to come to you.

Furthermore, all of the career center’s resources are not directed toward helping students get jobs through the senior recruiting program. Only a small percentage of the graduating class will receive a job offer as a result of participating in this program. A high percentage of seniors, if past statistics and the persistent upswing of the economy can be trusted, will be forced to find employment through alternate means. Just out of curiosity, how do you think students at universities who don’t have a career center or a senior recruiting program find jobs?

While I am sympathetic to the complaint that the career center only councils pre-law students, this is a university policy. Counseling for all other graduate programs is the jurisdiction of the appropriate deans’ office. Like a “high school guidance counselor,” however, the career center is well able to direct students to the appropriate source if we are not able to provide the desired information.

The likelihood that someone is waiting to hand you a job on a golden platter simply because you’ve managed to graduate with an undergraduate degree from Georgetown is slim to none. It is a safe assumption that there will always be someone smarter or more qualified who is competing for the job that you want. Having said this, also realize that these qualities are not the be-all, end-all to a prospective employer. It is imperative that you expend the effort to thoroughly prepare yourself before you ever apply for a job. While experience and education are important considerations, it is often he or she with the most confidence and the superior interviewing skills who will be offered the job.

The career center does something much more important than simply luring the crème de la crème of employers to our campus. The overarching goal of the career center is to help you learn to help yourself. It is to teach you the skills you need to find a second job after you’ve been working for two years and no longer have all of the resources of the career center at your disposal.

And while we are on the general topic of job skills, it helps a great deal if you start accumulating them before senior year. This way, you aren’t a basketcase for nine straight months during what is supposed to be one of the best years of your life.

Georgetown has long been accused of being a “pre-professional” university. Whether or not you believe this label has merit, I am here to tell you that the career center exists solely to help you, the student. If you are a “pre-professional” student, or even a professional one, you should be grateful to have the career center in your corner, because for all the imperfections of the institution, the career center staff is your greatest asset when it comes to finding employment. Whatever goal you have after graduation: whether it is to make money, to find a prestigious position, to go back to school or to volunteer in Africa, this is the place that can help you accomplish it.

Meghan Currier is a senior in the School of Foreign Service.

More to Discover