Amid a national unemployment rate that has hovered around 9 percent for more than a year, the GW Career Center is ramping up its services in an attempt to help graduating seniors find employment post graduation.
In order to help the graduating class, the Career Center relies on its consulting services, which include walk-in appointments, office hours where seniors can ask questions, 48-hour resume and cover letter critique services, mock interviews with a counselor as well as other appointments for employment advising, career development consulting and co-op education programs.
“The first challenge for seniors is to have a plan, and it’s important for them to ask different questions about the experiences they’ve had and what would be their ideal job,” said Brian Rowe, assistant director of Career Learning and Experience.
“The essential key for hiring is to network and make connections but also to avoid risk-taking that could alienate potential employers,” he said.
Anne V. Scammon, director of Career Learning and Experience, said the Career Center has “ramped up networking opportunities and the number of career expos” at GW.
Two expos will be held this fall for the international affairs and for the communications industries. Later this semester a general fall career fair will be held. An expo for the engineering industry is expected for the spring along with other internship and career fairs.
“We’ve brought various employers into these career expos who can provide new perspectives on networking and how to get connected in order to find jobs,” Scammon said. “I also believe there is now an improved relationship with the Alumni House and office.”
Scammon said more students tend to come to the Career Center in the spring as opposed to the fall, but students can start applying for jobs at any point.
Rowe said first-year alumni continue to receive free consulting and can attend career fairs available to undergraduates.
“Washington, D.C. is a stable place to live and to find work,” Rowe said, addressing concerns about an uncertain job market in the U.S.
Another counselor, Amanda Dumsch, said despite concerns about the job market, she doesn’t believe that more seniors are focusing their attention on graduate school before a full or part-time job.
“I think that the majority of seniors focus on grad school as a second option and that they would rather work for a few years and build up experience before applying,” she said.
Speaking about her recent experiences with seniors, Dumsch said she thinks GW students are on track for success after graduation.
“I would say that they are pretty optimistic about the future and that if they take the appropriate steps and put in an effort to find employment, they will be successful in the job market,” she said.
Part of the Career Center’s work involves a survey of the senior class on students’ post-graduation plans. In 2009, 608 alumni of the class of 2,237 students responded to the survey.
About 60 percent said they were employed full or part time, and 22 percent said they were going to attend graduate or professional school. Another 11 percent were still actively seeking employment, 5 percent were involved in the military, Peace Corps or other group and 1 percent was self-employed.