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BU Bridge Logo

Week of 12 September 1997

Vol. I, No. 3

Feature Article

Career Services' Leger:

Students should start career planning now

by Jim Graves

Dick Leger found a job at BU in 1974 and has worked here ever since. Nevertheless, during his tenure at the University he has found countless thousands of other jobs. That's because his work as director of the Office of Career Services (OCS), at 19 Deerfield St., is to identify job openings around the nation and the world and to help BU students and alumni fill them.

"Employers regularly tell us that they like to recruit at BU because they've found that our graduates make great employees," Leger says. "This reputation predisposes companies to send job information and recruiters to campus. And when you add the considerable help our office can offer job candidates, BU students enjoy some enviable advantages in the employment market."

This year Leger expects that BU students and graduates (many of them repeaters) will pay some 13,000 to 16,000 visits to the office's Career Resource Library. And he anticipates arranging between 1,500 and 2,000 interviews for job seekers. "These numbers are good," he says, "but not good enough. Our office could help a lot more if more students would become concerned with career planning and development during their early years at BU."

Dick Leger, director of BU's Office of Career Services, provides information to a job seeker. Photo: Vernon Doucette

Dick Leger, director of BU's Office of Career Services, provides information to a job seeker. Photo: Vernon Doucette

During workshops, individual counseling sessions, and residence hall visits, the OCS stresses the importance of early career planning. "But even so, too many students tend to put careers on the back burner until their senior year," says Leger, "and a few even delay job searches until after graduation." What they need to realize, he says, is that identifying a career, preparing for it academically, and then finding the right job are all part of a complex process that students should start when they're freshmen.

"Productive job hunts," he adds, "require more than having a high GPA and a good résumé. Job seekers should network with family members, friends, colleagues, and alumni. They need to do homework on the fields that interest them, and where possible, they should gain some hands-on experience through internships. They need to know how to conduct themselves in interviews and follow-up contacts. In the great majority of cases, job seekers do well to take advantage of our workshops, counseling, and other services."

But fully as important as its technical services, Leger says, is the OCS staff's ability to provide perspective and encouragement during job searches. "The job search is a period when it's easy to become dejected or confused," says Leger, and he and his crew work hard to keep students on track.

Right now, Leger and his staff are coordinating the OCS Fall '97 Career Expo, to be held on October 16. This biannual job fair will bring representatives from more than 100 employers to the GSU to furnish information on careers to students. Some company representatives will accept résumés at the Expo, which is sponsored by the BU Committee of Careers Services Staff, an umbrella group for people who work at the University in a career placement-related way, including the School of Law Placement Office, SMG Career Center, COM Career Services Office, Office of Multicultural Affairs, and the ENG Placement Office, as well as the OCS.

"The Career Expo is part of two weeks of career activities that start on October 14 with a career information table at the Link," Leger says. Other events will include interviewing and job-search strategies workshops conducted by employers, an internship workshop, a workshop on interviewing skills for international students, an etiquette workshop on meeting and greeting employers, an etiquette dinner, an open house for freshmen, and sessions on careers abroad and on using the Internet to find jobs. There will also be workshops on entrepreneurship and on managing money.

Then, from October 20 to October 23, the OCS will assist in a Career Exploration Week, when CAS and GRS alumni will discuss career possibilities for BU students in 26 academic majors. (Look for a detailed schedule of the events of both weeks in the BU Bridge.)

Does Dick Leger have a parting tip for job hunters? "Just this: successful job hunters are usually people who start early and do their homework, and this includes career-planning homework done at, or with the help of, the Office of Career Services."

The Office of Career Services

To BU students and graduates who are seeking jobs, the Office of Career Services provides:

  • Appointments with professional counselors to define career goals and develop and implement effective job-search campaigns. Additionally, 15-minute walk-in counseling sessions are available daily.
  • Workshops to hone résumé writing and interviewing skills, develop job-search strategies, and find and manage internships. Available periodically throughout the year.
  • Career exploration groups to help make intelligent decisions about careers and academic majors.
  • A resource library listing thousands of jobs and internships and containing a broad range of up-to-date career information.
  • A recruiting division to facilitate job interviews on campus from November to April and in New York City and Los Angeles during annual intersessions.
  • A credentials service to maintain transcripts, professional certifications, and letters of reference, and at the request of job seekers, to forward them to potential employers.

For more information, call 353-3590.