Taking advantage of the Career Center

When it was time for his interview, a young man anxiously entered Anne Scammon’s office. Formally dressed, he answered a series of questions – all while nervously rocking back in his chair.

Big mistake.

Fortunately this was a mock interview designed to help students improve their performance. Anne Scammon is not an intimidating boss, but the Career Center’s director of career learning and experience. The student was astounded when he saw the tape of his interview.

“That young man will never tip his chair ever again,” Scammon said.

The mock interview, which consists of a half-hour taped session and a half-hour critique, is only one of many services offered by the GW Career Center. At the core of these services is the “FREE” four-year plan, an acronym for “Find the Right Experience & Employment.” The plan aims to help students gradually work their way up to their dream internship by gaining experience and reflecting on their interests.

In order to help craft a FREE plan or get help with résumés, cover letters, career planning, the Career Center has drop-in career consultants available Monday through Thursday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Consultant Jim O’Brien said students regularly stop in for help putting together résumés and cover letters, but they also ask for advice about potential opportunities.

“They ask, ‘What do you think of this internship? Would it benefit me?’ ” O’Brien said.

But in the age of the Internet, students do not have to trek all the way to the Career Center office. The office also offers a number of ways to get help online. Students having trouble with résumés or cover letters can submit copies through the Career Center Web site, and a critiqued copy will be e-mailed back within 48 hours. The Career Center listserv also provides up-to-date information about the opportunities and programs at the Career Center.

The most popular part of the Career Center, though, is GWork, an online listing of internship and job opportunities. On the site students can submit a résumé, cover letter and any other documents needed for a position. According to GWork’s annual report, 3,757 internship positions were listed during the 2006-2007 school year. Employers range from the National Football League to National Geographic and the CIA.

“Students report that they find a lot of opportunities on GWork,” Scammon said. “When they pursue them, they find that employers are very pro-GW.”

Even with these opportunities, the Career Center cautions students to maintain perspective. Scammon said students often expect too much from their first internships or expect to be paid.

Some “haven’t spent time identifying potential areas where they’d like to work,” she said.

But Scammon said it’s a fixable problem.

“That’s what we’re here for!”

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