30 percent growth in career planning services

Eastern Michigan University students are paying more attention to making a career plan now than they were before 2008, according to Sarah Kersey Otto, director of Career Development and Outreach in the Advising and Career Development Center.

Students are making more use of both academic advising and career development services since the merger of the two functions in the summer of 2010, Otto said.

She said the number of freshmen and sophomores getting career advising is up 30 percent for the fall semester this year compared to last.

Otto said EMU is on “the leading edge of peer schools” in merging academic and career advising, emphasizing that while the two units merged, the two advising roles remain distinct.

Academic advising, which used to be located in Pierce Hall, is now in 200 McKenny, along with the Advising and Career Development Center.

Otto said academic advising calls for attention to detail, which career advising calls for looking at the larger picture and doing strategic planning; hence each function has its own staff. Students are better served because both functions are in the same space, Otto said.

The Michigan Collegiate Job Fair will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday at Burton manor in Livonia and will have at least 115 employers present. That number decreased during the recession to about 70, she said.

Otto said she expects as many as 400 EMU students will be among the 1400 job hunters attending.

About one-half the students at the job fair got follow-up interviews prior to 2008, Otto said. The fair is open to any college student who registers. The fee is $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

Otto outlined the steps to success at the job fair.

First, research the employers who will be there; go to their websites. Second, prepare to let them know what you’ve learned about their organization.

Otto suggested learning about trends at the organization, new directions, new products and the culture of the organization.

Then, identify the 10 employers you think suit you best and put them in order. Bring 15 copies of your resume and ask Otto’s office for help to make your resume effective.

Otto suggests getting to the job fair early since popular employers will have long lines, and it’s first-come, first-interviewed.

Perfect your “elevator pitch,” your 10 to 15 second summary of why you want to talk with the employer and have one or two questions ready. Then, she said, let the employer take over.

There will be a more private place for a second interview for selected applicants.

Otto also suggested students bring their business cards and avoid trinkets lest they appear to be shopping rather than interviewing and be sure to do any follow-up the employer suggests.

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