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HESS: Utilize the Career Center

The Career Center is an amazing resource that is ready to help students with their goals and more students should take advantage of it

The employees of the Career Center truly value their work and always keep the best interests of students in mind.
The employees of the Career Center truly value their work and always keep the best interests of students in mind.

I am so stubborn. I hate asking for help and I will exhaust every other option until I finally give in. This is a toxic trait of mine, and it is one that I am trying to fix. Recently, I took a big step in that journey by taking advantage of Career Center resources last semester. I truly wish I would have sought out their advice and help earlier, and I could not recommend the staff at the Career Center enough. They are so friendly and ready to assist with anything. Figuring out life at U.Va. can be scary, but the Career Center makes it much easier.

The best part of the Career Center is that they do not focus on just one thing. The center has six distinct career communities — business and technology, creative, education and youth development, public service and government, science and sustainability and pre-health. These broad categories all have Career Center staff that specialize in these areas, giving students a connection to someone that has a vast amount of advice to give on what steps they should take to reach their career goals. On top of that, there are always Career Center representatives ready to look over resumes and cover letters or even help students prepare for upcoming interviews. The ease of access to these Career Center resources makes it a place that is beneficial to all University students, no matter if you are a first year or fourth year.

Another great aspect of the Career Center is their help in supplying internship and job opportunities. Via Handshake, the Career Center has lots of job listings that range from local non-profits to international corporations. Not only can the Career Center help you become a qualified candidate, but they also can assist you by providing applications for positions. This summer, the Career Center launched the Hoos Internship Accelerator program, which provided over 500 summer internship opportunities to first through third-year students at the University. The program seeks to make up for lost professional experience over the past year. The COVID-19 pandemic has made these opportunities much more difficult to find and secure. These internships are all paid, with the University itself providing a stipend for many of them. They are also only available to U.Va. students, making this new Career Center resource an amazing opportunity for University students to gain valuable working experience this summer.

The Career Center not only serves as a place for students to go when they need assistance, but Career Center staff is also actively reaching out to students to inform them about opportunities. In a class I had last semester, Career Center representatives came to our virtual classroom to discuss sustainability careers and opportunities for students during their time at U.Va. and beyond. I also have had the Career Center reach out to a CIO I am involved with on Grounds several times — each time they have prepared a presentation that caters directly to our organization’s interests. Examples like these show how much career counselors really care about the futures of University students.

The University administration could also take steps to make the incredible resources of the Career Center more accessible to students. Currently, the main office of the Career Center is located at Bryant Hall, which is attached to the football stadium. While they do have small offices in Newcomb and 1515, moving the main Career Center office to a more central location may help more students take advantage of their resources. With or without this change, the Career Center has made themselves readily available virtually throughout the global pandemic we have all been experiencing during the past year.

I regret not visiting the Career Center earlier. When thinking about my first-year self, I think I could have greatly benefited from the Career Center’s advice and guidance. I think all University students should take advantage of the center, and even if you do not have any idea of what you want to do, it can be the perfect first stop. The employees of the Career Center truly value their work and always keep the best interests of students in mind. Going through college and navigating our futures can be difficult, but the Career Center is here to make it all a little easier.

Hunter Hess is an Opinion Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. He can be reached at opinion@cavalierdaily.com

The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Cavalier Daily. Columns represent the views of the authors alone.

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