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Career Center aids senior job hunt

Katie Linhares | Thursday, November 10, 2005

With graduation day on the not-too-distant horizon, many Notre Dame seniors have begun job hunting – but not all are seeking help from the University-touted Career Center.

Notre Dame’s Career Center is viewed as “the best program in the country,” said Robyn Karkiewicz, manager of Office Services, in an interview earlier this year.

This statement, however, has not resonated with a large number of seniors.

Senior Callie Whelan, who is enrolled in the College of Arts and Letters, is interested in finding a job in the non-profit sector.

“The Career Center doesn’t have too much to offer me,” senior Callie Whelan said. “The Career Center places most of it emphasis on the professional business world.”

Director of the Career Center Lee Svete said such a perception might exist on campus because the fall career fair attracted many finance, consulting and accounting firms to campus to interview students for summer internships and jobs. But the emphasis, Svete said, will shift in the spring.

“The fair on Feb. 1 will attract a new blend of companies, such as public relations and sports marketing firms looking for liberal arts majors,” he said. “Companies are not focusing on business students alone.”

Other seniors have decided against visiting the Career Center primarily because instead of jumping headfirst into the office, graduate school is next on their agenda.

Senior Mary McGrath has not tapped the resources of the Career Center.

“I’m interested in graduate school and felt that I could get more information from my advisors in the psychology and English departments,” McGrath said.

Students like McGrath can still find help through the Career Center. The Web site has an extensive list of workshops devoted to understanding possibilities for graduate programs.

Despite the substantial block of seniors who have not visited the Career Center, a growing number of students are using the facilities available to them.

The Career Center scheduled 4,028 appointments with students during the 2004-05 academic year, according to Svete, but he anticipates an even higher number of student appointments this year.

“This year we have surpassed the appointments we had at this time last year,” he said. Sarah Sobczak is a senior who has pursued her job hunt primarily through the Career Center.

“After going to workshops to help with my interviewing skills and getting help from an advisor on my cover letters and resume, starting in September, I applied through ‘Go IRISH!’ and have steadily continued applying since then,” she said.

Sobczak is an English and gender studies major and has applied to Fortune 100 companies interviewing on campus regularly this semester.

Svete also noted another liberal arts major like Sobczak, a senior who is a political science major and has received four second-round interviews with the help of the Career Center.

To date, 6,000 interviews have been held on campus. Svete emphasized that even if a particular company does not make trips to Notre Dame, the Career Center can help interested students.

“There are many companies who do not travel to college campuses to interview.

But this does not mean they cannot be reached,” Svete said. “We have search engines to search out companies and find that job opening or internship not available at the Career Fair. We had a senior interested in computer animations and recently found a job for him through the search engines at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.”