Roxanne Goldberg: Create courses for career services

There is very little that students care about more than finding jobs after they graduate.

The task is undoubtedly daunting, and many students are left wondering the best way to go about marketing themselves to employers.

While the GW Career Center already offers services such as resume critiques and mock interviews, the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences can bolster its career programs by offering one-credit courses designed to refine personal and professional development skills you might not acquire in the typical academic setting.

The idea of offering college credit for such classes is nothing new.

The University of Maryland offers one-credit career courses with titles like “Job Search Strategies” and “Career Clarification: Choosing a Major,” that are designed to help students figure out how to market themselves to employers in their chosen field.

Like any skill, the more you work at job-hunting, the easier it becomes. And with regular guidance from a mentor in a classroom setting, after a few weeks, students will feel more confident in their job searches.

Yes, there are opportunities on campus, like mock-interviews at the GW Career Center, which help students prepare for the job hunt, but many need more than an informal visit once a semester. Realistically, these skills take time to develop. The skills that make a candidate stand out among a sea of resumes require careful care and cultivation beyond a rushed session in the Marvin Center.

These classes would not be meant to replace or discredit the Career Center, but instead to enhance and complement its existing programs and services. In fact, the Career Center and the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences could partner to create career development courses.

The Elliott School of International Affairs provides graduate students professional skills courses to prepare them for the workforce, and the School of Business requires undergraduate freshmen to participate in a two-semester course that covers resume writing, networking and advice on how to meet academic and professional career goals.

Surely, if the University is willing to offer one-credit lifestyle, sport and physical activity courses, there is no reason it should not offer the same incentive for classes that could help students find jobs after they have been handed their diplomas.

And the one-credit GPA boost for having participated in professional and personal development courses would be an extra incentive to those students who are unsure it is worth their time.

At a time when the economy is struggling to stay afloat, the University should expand the scope of professional and personal development beyond one-time services to help give its students an edge.

Roxanne Goldberg is a sophomore in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.

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