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Empowering Future Professionals: New Career Services Prepares Billikens to Professionally Succeed

08/30/2019

With a brand new, expanded space and new vision, Saint Louis University's innovative Career Services Center is creating new pathways into the professions of their dreams for SLU students.

Career counselor Ahmar Ursani (left) meets with students, including student Career Ambassador Lizzie Twardock (right) and junior  Steven Kim (center) in the new Career Services Center. Career counselor Ahmar Ursani (left) meets with students, including student Career Ambassador Lizzie Twardock (right) and junior Steven Kim (center) in the new Career Services Center.

Career Services has moved into a new home in Griesedieck Hall, one that features an array of amenities to help students and alumni on their journeys to their dream careers.

A grand opening celebration and ribbon-cutting bash are planned for Thursday, Sept. 5, to give Billikens their first taste of the exciting possibilities housed within.

The new center is led by Jeffery Jackson, associate provost for career development, and is staffed by new and veteran career counselors.

New Space to Spur Billikens' Professional Dreams

Space to Work

The new Career Services Center is centrally-located across from the Quad and offers easy access to the SLU community, including alumni. Housed in the former Griesedieck Dining Hall, the center has been fully renovated to offer expansive views of the campus and multiple types of spaces for meetings, interviews, counseling sessions and workshops.

The center includes a spacious reception area with private and group work stations, a conference room and six interview rooms, in addition to career counselor offices and a reception bar stocked with Career Services information and resources.

Services to Suit Every Need

The Career Services Center offers a host of services including

  • Resume' review and editing
  • Skill building tutorials
  • Internship and job search help
  • One-on-one career counseling, with student Career Ambassadors and staff counselors
  • Databases and online resources
  • And more . . .
Surprise Perk

Billikens who work up an appetite hunting for jobs or polishing their professional bona fides can enjoy a freshly popped snack courtesy of the center's new popcorn machine.

As part of the University's re-organization and innovation on its career service offerings, Jackson and his team will utilize the new center achieve an ambitious program aimed at transforming how Billikens prepare for professions after commencement.

The re-imagination of Career Services is linked to SLU's strategic plan which grounds supporting students' pursuit of meaningful lives and successful careers rooted in entrepreneurialism, the pursuit of truth and Jesuit liberal arts education.

New Mission Guided by Strategic Plan
  • Improve career planning, preparation and employment.
  • Better coordinate and enhance internships and other career-oriented experiential learning programs.
  • Grow and enhance University relations with community organizations and industry.
  • Bring greater campus and community visibility to the value of SLU’s distinctive academic programs.
  • Help to better ensure the success of SLU students and alumni.

"My goal is to create 'buzz worthiness' about Career Services here at SLU through intentional collaborations with our community while expanding, strengthening and customizing our connections  beyond SLU," Jackson said. "We seek to assure students that our degree programs will qualify them for a job, and working with Career Services boosts a student's skills in effectively marketing themselves for those opportunities."

Preparing Billikens to Professionally Succeed

Using a supportive resource like SLU's Career Services can help undergraduate, graduate and professional students, as well as alumni, strike a balance between living their values and making the most of an education that may require a significant personal and financial investment, Jackson explained.

According to Zippia, a career resources website, SLU is the top school in Missouri for job placement, and 94% of SLU graduates reported they were "satisfactorily occupied" within six months of their commencement. 

A student Career Ambassador works with a client

Student Career Ambassadors like sophomore Lizzie Twardock (right) help their fellow Billikens polish their resumes and with other job skills through the Career Services Center. Photo by Amelia Flood

"The number one word reported by students to describe how they feel after an appointment with us is 'confident," Jackson noted, "which is key to setting and achieving students' professional and life goals."

To foster those skills across degree programs as diverse as business administration to aerospace engineering to Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Jackson and his team work with a primary liaison and other staff members at the college, school and department level to identify specific needs and customize services and resources. 

According to a recent SLU survey, 81% of its newest alumni also reported completing at least one internship prior to graduation, an experience Jackson and his team will promote to even more students.

"Not every student will need to use all the services the office provides," Jackson said, "but over 90% of recent graduates reported using at least one."

Creating Career Paths in the Spirit of Cura Personalis

Career Services' new programs and space are designed to help SLU students develop as future professionals, putting them on paths to succeed and to find fulfilling work - a concern, Jackson said, raised by prospective students across the nation and their families. Today's students, he continued are concerned with "being able to make use of their education and to provide the means to have a positive impact on their community."

"For many, it is beyond finding an occupation, but rather, it's about vocational discernment to make use of their talents for the greater good," he said.

Jeffrey Jackson, Ph.D.
Jeffery Jackson took the helm of SLU's Career Services office in July. Photo by Amelia Flood

The transformation of SLU's Career Services is guided by the University's Jesuit mission, Jackson explained, and scaffolds onto its tradition of academic excellence and nurturing growth of the whole person.

"There is a strong intersection between Career Services and our Jesuit mission and values," he said. "Experiential learning is at the core of that intersection, and prompts individuals to reflect on that experience as it relates to their occupational goals as well as its fit with the their ability to fulfill their chosen purpose in life."

Since returning to SLU in July, Jackson has embarked on a listening tour with University departments and stakeholders, and has arranged a series of meetings between SLU faculty and staff members and representatives of leading employers from a diverse array of professions. His goal, he said, is to make SLU the go-to University for employers seeking their newest hires.

"This is a vocation to me," Jackson said.

Advice from the Top

What's your best advice for students as they think about their future careers?

Students need to see this as a process that does not just happen the semester before graduation. Establishing a plan to obtain an internship or to get the most out of an experiential learning opportunity should happen in the first year or two of a degree.

Students must also be encouraged to develop strong mentoring relationships with faculty members, as they are the experts in their fields, and with alumni who can mentor them -and advocate for them as job candidates.

Tell us your philosophy about career services.

My philosophy is that the role of Career Services in higher education is to work with students to help them reach their highest aspirations regarding their personal and professional goals. We create multiple opportunities for students to reflect, have epiphanies and validate their decisions concerning their life during their college years. It is during this time that we provide them with resources, career readiness skills, career counseling and experiences to prepare them to live in a global society.

Can you tell us more about the resources Billikens can access?

I recommend using some traditional career services resources, like Strength Finders, the Myers-Briggs personality inventory and resume' help.

Students should also ask us to help with internship and job searches.

However, students should also seek one-on-one career counseling to help them understand how use of these tools will help them discover their 'why' - their reason for pursuing the career path they choose.

What would you tell any student who's embarking on the job or internship hunt?

 

Come with your questions. A current college student can expect to have 10 to 15 jobs in three to five careers during their professional lifetime, so a strong understanding of career development will serve them well beyond college.

What's your advice for students who want to learn more about what Career Services is all about?

Work with us!  I would recommend that students seek out opportunities to work in the Career Services office as student ambassadors and in other roles. Doing so, they will learn first-hand about our services and the programs we can offer to the entire campus community.

Changing the Career Services Paradigm

Jackson and his team plan to move beyond traditional paradigms of how students use Career Services. Rather than being an office students access as seniors, just before they hit the job market, he said, SLU's Career Services are focused on working with students as soon as they step on SLU's campus.

"Students should intentionally utilize Career Services throughout their time at SLU," Jackson explained, "freshman through senior year."

While a senior might be interested in polishing a resume', for example, a freshman should be steered toward internship fairs and career mentoring, as she, he, or they plan courses and how career planning dovetails with completing a major. That goes for a student who dreams of pursuing a career in public health to one who seeks a professional fulfillment with the skills an English major develops analyzing novels and poetry.

"A key principal is that all degree programs develop the key competencies that employers seek in new graduates," Jackson explained. "Regardless of major, students should increase their knowledge of self, of the world of work and should reflect on how their skills, interests and values intersect with careers."

Celebrate the New Career Services

Inaugural Celebration of Saint Louis University's Career Services Center
Where and When
  • Where: New Career Services Center, Griesedieck Hall
  • When: Thursday, Sept. 5, 3:30 to 5 p.m.
Who's Invited?
  • SLU students, faculty, staff members and alumni.
  • Members of the University's Board of Trustees, invited guests, SLU leaders including University President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D. will be on hand.
  • The president of the Student Government Association (SGA), senior Maleah Fallahi, and Jordan Glassman, SGA vice president of academic affairs, will join the executive committee of the Faculty Senate and the Career Services Transition Team as guest at the opening as well.
Event Program
  • The opening's formal program will begin at approximately 4 p.m. with a prayer and blessing of the new center by Christopher Collins, S.J., assistant to the president for mission and identity.
  • President Pestello will offer brief remarks followed by Glassman and Interim University Provost Chester "Chet" Gillis, Ph.D. Gillis will introduce Jackson, who will speak about the new center and direction of Career Services.
  • Light refreshments, opportunities to see the new space and time to celebrate with fellow SLU community members and friends are also slated as part of the event.

Let SLU Help You Jump-start Your Career

Career Services will host a number of events this fall, all designed to connect Billikens with employers and to help them plan their professional futures.

2019 Accounting Pre-Interview and Networking Fair
  • The 2019 Accounting Pre-Interview and Networking Fair will kick off the campus interviewing season on Thursday, Sept, 12, from 4 to 6 p.m., in Davis-Shaughnessy Hall.
  • More than 30 accounting firms will attend the fair to recruit students for their internship and job openings. The event is highly suggested for SLU accounting students, and is open to other business majors. 
  • Employers interested in attending should click here.  The registration cost is $450 and includes a six-foot table, parking and refreshments.
  • Students can view the event details here, and students can attend the fair for free. 
  • This event is open to only to SLU students.
2019 Health Care Networking Social
  • The 2019 Health Care Networking Social will take place on Monday, Sept. 16, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Caroline Mall.  
  • The fair serves all Doisy College of Health Sciences and School of Nursing students, although all students interested in clinical health care are welcome to attend.
  • Employers interested in recruiting students for clinical health care positions can check out event details here.  The registration costs $350 and includes a six-foot table, lunch, ice cream and parking.
  • Students should click here for more details. Students are not required to register for the event. 
  • This event is only open to SLU students and alumni.
Fall 2019 Career Expo
  • The Fall 2019 Career Expo will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25, in the Wool Ballrooms, Busch Student Center.
  • Those attending the expo will have the chance to network with over 140 organizations to develop relationships with future employers, to discuss potential internships; demonstrate communication skills; and decide on career directions.
  • This event is free for SLU students and alumni. Students are not required to RSVP. 
  • Non-SLU attendees will be charged a $10 fee to enter the Expo. Event details can be found here.
  • Employers interested in attending should click here for registration information, and several registration options are available.
Fall 2019 Graduate School Symposium and Fair
  • The Fall 2019 Graduate School Symposium and Fair will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019 in the Wool Ballrooms, Busch Student Center. The fair is open to SLU students and alumni as well as students from regional colleges and universities at no charge.
  • Graduate schools and programs from around the nation will be represented.
  • Fair-goers can learn about various graduate programs; discuss potential internships, assistantships and funding; demonstrate your communication skills; and decide your continuing education path
  • Students are not required to RSVP.  Event details can be found here.
  • Graduate schools and programs interested in attending should click here. There are several registration options to choose from. 
  • Saint Louis University graduate programs will receive a 50% discount, and registration includes a six-foot table, lunch and parking.

Connect with Career Services at SLU

New Career Services Center

The newly-expanded and renovated Career Services Center in Griesedieck Hall features interview rooms, meeting space and resources from resume' writing help to career databases for SLU students and alumni to utilize in their job and internship searches. Photo by Amelia Flood

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers nearly 13,000 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.