The Career Center is a virtual success

Fulfilling Maryville College Works graduation requirements amidst a pandemic may seem daunting. Luckily, the Career Center is increasing its virtual presence and giving students access to a myriad of professional opportunities. 

The Maryville College Works graduation requirements are professional development tasks that all students must fulfill. They include completing an interests and skills assessment, creating a foundational resume, attending two career fairs, organizing a career development plan, and completing a Significant Practical Experience (SPE). 

Although the Career Center is currently virtual, staff are still available to help with any questions about these requirements. Peer Career Coaches, students who are trained part-time employees of the Career Center, have live chat hours Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and are available via Facebook Messenger and Instagram direct messaging (just search Maryville College Career Center or @mc_careercenter, respectively). 

Senior writing communications major Jordan Stafford, one of the Peer Career Coaches, has positive things to say about the experience so far. 

“Working as an online Peer Career Coach has been as rewarding and fun as working in the physical Career Center,” Stafford said. “I’ve been creating content with quotes from students about their summer internships, connecting with students via virtual walk-in hours, and staying up-to-date on career opportunities and industry standards by attending virtual seminars.”

Full-time staff members are also available by appointments, which can be made through the Handshake platform. If students are not familiar with Handshake, Peer Career Coaches can help with basic navigation and creating appointments. 

The Career Center will be implementing a communication plan to help students keep track of their requirements. Each month, students will receive an exhaustive email with instructions about how to complete a specific requirement. For example, freshmen will receive an email about how to create and submit a foundational resume while juniors will receive an email about creating a career development plan. Updates will also be posted periodically on the today@MC announcement emails. 

Elicia Ferrer, the Career Outreach Specialist at the Career Center, suggests that students should not only pay attention to email announcements but should also follow the Career Center on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. 

“However you choose to connect, be intentional about following the Career Center on social media to get regular updates, event reminders, tips, and resources,” Ferrer said. “When students are focused on course work, it’s easy for emails to get lost. Social media is a great way to have easily accessible reminders, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Once we get 100 subscribers, we’ll be able to personalize our profile link!” Ferrer said.

Junior sociology major Mattie Wheeler expressed her concern about completing the career fair and SPE requirements during COVID-19.

“It’s not really possible to have a career fair with social distancing guidelines, and I’m worried about being able to find an in-person internship for my SPE while so much work is being done virtually,” she said. 

Ferrer offers words of encouragement for students that may have similar concerns. 

“A lot of study abroad programs are making more virtual experiences available and the same goes for internships,” Ferrer said. “On today@MC, the Career Center shares internships of the week, many of which allow for remote work. The expansion of virtual experiences has actually made more varied opportunities available for students.” 

As for career fairs, which are typically large group gatherings in the foyer of the Clayton Center for the Arts, they will also be held online. Students will be able to create their own schedule, pick specific group sessions to attend, and even schedule one-on-one sessions with various employers and graduate schools. 

In order to attend the upcoming career fair on Nov. 12, students must register for the Virtual Career Fair event on the Career Center’s Handshake page. If students need help navigating Handshake, the Peer Career Coaches are an easily accessible resource. 

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