To increase students’ job prospects, career center staff will target employers

The Center for Career Services brought students to four companies around D.C. last year to help them get their foot in the door for internships and jobs.

This year, students will visit 20 sites, from the National Institutes of Health to WilmerHale law firm, as the career center passes the halfway point of its three-year plan to improve students’ post-graduation prospects.

Rachel Brown, assistant provost for University Career Services, said she wants to see 30 percent more interactions with employers this year, counting site visits, on-campus recruitment events and postings on GWork.

“We are looking at employer engagement in the broadest way,” she said. “While coming on campus to recruit is one of the ways we’ll engage employers, we also want to engage employers in unusual, nontraditional ways.”

She said she’s already seeing progress. GW has hosted three career fairs and 56 employer-held information sessions this fall. She added that about 2,700 jobs were posted on GWork since June.

The office will also hire six more staff members to build relationships with employers this year, part of a $20 million funding increase over the next decade.

Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski said the new staff, who will each focus on a specific industry cluster, such as a media, communications and art group, will go to different corporations and government departments to learn who is hiring.

“They’re the salesmen. They’re going out and finding jobs. They’re working with employers to find jobs. And then they create opportunities for students to get connected,” Konwerski said.

That overhaul started after a yearlong task force charged the University with merging its 11 school-based career centers and strengthening advising programs as a whole.

About 63 percent of the Class of 2012 said they’d found work within six months of graduation, on top of 20 percent of students enrolled in graduate school, according to the most recent GW job data. About 46 percent of that year’s graduating class responded to the GW-sponsored poll.

Brown said the center is also trying out “more innovative” ways for employers to interact with students beyond holding panels or giving tours of their offices.

For example, Brown said she’s already reached out to several employers to live-tweet “a day in the life” moments at their jobs to inform GW students.

Macy’s Inc. is one of the corporations this year that will try out virtual interviewing with GW students. Megan Mikailonis, College Relations Manager at Macy’s Inc., said it will help them find the best matches for Macy’s job openings without having to look at students from a select pool of only those who can interview on-site.

“Virtual interviewing is an exciting way to blend technology with the traditional interview model. It removes the limitations of distance and allows employers to ensure they find the best match,” Mikailonis said.

The office also wants to have at least 50 percent of freshmen take one of the career center’s surveys and use tools to help them hone in on potential career paths, Brown said.

Konwerski said these tools help them get started early on their potential careers so that when they go to career fairs to look for internships, they are “polished” and “put their best foot forward.”

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.