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Getting a Job Just Got Easier

Career center’s new name reflects expanded mission

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Kimberly DelGizzo, counseling a student, heads BU’s expanding career office. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

Having just earned a master’s degree in molecular biology, Laura Owens suddenly found herself questioning her career choice. Uncertain about the best job for her skills, she turned—“out of desperation,” she says—to BU’s Career Services office.

“The help I received was outstanding,” recalls Owens (GRS’10). The center’s six months of “really specialized assistance” produced career options she doubts she could have come up with herself. She now plans to study to be a dietitian.

Yet many students, she says, are “only vaguely aware” of BU’s career-planning help. That is in the process of changing. As luck would have it, President Robert A. Brown approved an expansion of Career Services just before the Great Recession hit. Today the office is officially being renamed the Center for Career Development, reflecting the expansion of the services being provided. The newly renamed center will offer more employer contacts, more job-hunting and networking help for students, and a centralized online bank of employment and internship opportunities.

Brown says the new name mirrors “the University’s expanding commitment to the role of the center in the advising and career placement of our students. These functions are essential to their success, both at Boston University and early in their careers.”

Scheduled to relocate to the new East Campus Student Center when it is finished next year, the center (formerly Career Services) had 10 staffers when director Kimberly DelGizzo arrived at BU a year and a half ago; now there are 12, a number she hopes to grow by two or three this fiscal year, and ultimately to perhaps 20.

With more staff, “we’re doing more of what we’ve been doing, but we’re hoping to make it more visible and accessible,” DelGizzo says. Owens’ observation about students underusing services is spot-on: “We had employers posting internships and jobs and saying to us, ‘We’re not receiving enough résumés,’” according to DelGizzo.

That’s starting to change. Early in DelGizzo’s tenure, students who wanted to talk to a counselor got in quickly. But last semester, the wait time for an appointment was several weeks, she says. The higher demand, while good, necessitates more staff to move traffic faster. “Currently, we have five people doing career counseling for 32,000 students,” she says.

Among the new changes in service to students:

Online job postings. The center, which serves students University-wide as well as alumni, has partnered with career offices in several schools—the College of Communication, the College of Engineering, the School of Management, and the School of Hospitality Administration—in a new online system to manage employers’ job and internship postings, giving employers the option of tapping all BU students or targeting specific schools

Expanded Career Expo. The center is working to increase the number of employers who show up at this twice-a-year event. Eleanor Cartelli, the center’s associate director of marketing and communications, says 700 students mingled with more than 80 recruiters at the fall expo; the goal is to get up to 100 recruiters to participate in this semester’s expo, on February 16. “We’re really working hard to get a lot more students in the door” this time, she says.

Nuts-and-bolts help with job-hunting. The center encourages students to bring their résumés in for staff to review for proper formatting and comprehensiveness. It also stands ready to offer advice on such essentials as giving a good job interview. “Looking for jobs online is critically important,” says DelGizzo, “but students have to get out from behind their computer and be talking to people” as well.

She also wants to change the mindset that career services are only for seniors in the spring before they graduate. It’s never too early to think about a career, she says; for example, snaring an internship during college could lead to a job after, since “oftentimes employers look at their internship pool” for possible hires. Her counselors can also brainstorm about other pursuits, from undergraduate research to community service to leadership in a student organization to study abroad, that can enhance a student as a prospective hire later on, she says.

More pitches to employers. The center has just added a new position for a staff member to serve as a liaison with employers. It did a first-of-its-kind survey of all but the freshman class last fall, asking students how they had spent the summer. Knowing students’ interests and experience, DelGizzo says, will guide the center’s pitches to lure employers.

The center’s expansion comes as unemployment among college graduates hit a 40-year high of 5.1 percent in November. (A college degree remains a sound investment, as joblessness among those with just a high school diploma was almost twice that rate, and was more than three times as high among high school dropouts.)

Some individual BU colleges currently track how many of their graduates score jobs after Commencement, but the center has never tracked the graduating class as a whole, DelGizzo says.

Starting with this May’s graduates, that too will change.

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

4 Comments

4 Comments on Getting a Job Just Got Easier

  • Disappointed on 01.25.2011 at 9:25 pm

    Disappointment with CCD

    While I admire Career Services/ Center for Career Development’s attempts to improve its services, as a graduating senior, I am perpetually disappointed by its services, and I am only grateful that my own hard work has helped me find a job on my own. I doubt I would have successfully found a job that excites me had I relied on their services.

    The biggest issue I faced was a lack of opportunities for students who aren’t in the “pre-professional” schools such as COM, SHA, ENG, SMG, SAR, etc. If BU is going to continue to tout itself as a liberal arts school, then why not work towards finding more jobs for liberal arts majors, such as the CAS students who make up over half of the university’s undergraduate population? Several of the more specialized schools even have their own career services that put on career fairs catered to the skills of their students, which is great for them, but what about the rest of us? In my experience, even at the university-wide events career fairs (I’ve been to four), very few opportunities are open to students without “specialized” backgrounds. I’d like to think I have a fairly impressive resume, and when speaking to over 15 employers at the 2010 Fall Career Expo, the only thing I left with was a huge sense of panic and disappointment that I was three and a half years into a major that “wasn’t useful in the corporate world” (direct quote from one of the representatives).

    Luckily, I soon realized that not all employers felt that way. However, it was only through free advice from peers and mentors and connections promoted by organizations with which I’m involved–not guidance from paid staff of CCD– that led me to a job that interested me and where I felt my knowledge and skills would be valued and utilized: in the nonprofit sector. I sincerely hope the the Center is willing to rethink its approach to “helping” the liberal arts students soon to help future classes really connect with quality opportunities. If not, I will only have them to blame if the university (not to mention my degree) loses its standing as a top learning institution when half of the graduating class is struggles to find employment.

  • Madison Gray on 01.26.2011 at 10:35 am

    Getting a Job

    This sounds like a first-class organization. I am glad that she found the help that she was looking for. I hope this company will have the opportunity to serve more and more people in the future.

    You can play any of these card games at these poker sites around the clock so you don’t have to worry about time to gamble.

  • Rita Jarosz on 01.31.2011 at 6:33 pm

    Online Students

    I’m looking at the site, but I don’t see where this would be of any use too me, a Chicagoan who completed the MET online program. Too bad, I would love to have help finding a career with my shiny new BU diploma…in Liberal Arts .

  • recruiting software on 02.02.2011 at 6:51 pm

    @Dissapointment with CCD

    I am glad that you have found a job on your own without the guidance of this organization. You can’t expect Career Services to do all the work for you. I have a liberal arts degree as well and the job market is tough out there for people with our respective backgrounds. You can’t blame career services for the tendencies of the job market. Their job is to help guide you as best they can to gainful employment with your given skills. Not to find you your dream job when you are in your early 20′s.

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