In slow economy, UCS promotes workshops

After Undergraduate Career Services struggled to attract seniors for its special programming last spring, the organization is taking a new approach to helping seniors find jobs in the tough economy.

UCS Director Phil Jones said he expected seniors to show up in droves to last year’s job programs, but described the resulting attendance at both the large kickoff presentation and subsequent workshops as “very disappointing.” In order to boost this year’s turnout, Jones said, he has moved the events from UCS’s offices on 55 Whitney Ave. to locations closer to students, such as the residential colleges.

“We had thought about going to the colleges last year, and … we concluded that we’d do it up here,” Jones said in an interview Thursday in his office at 55 Whitney. “We’re not going to repeat that practice.”

A series of workshops will begin the week of Oct. 12, following a presentation by Lindsey Pollak ’96, author of “Getting from College to Career,” on Oct. 7. Pollak spoke last year in Davies Auditorium, and while Jones had expected a relatively full house, the crowd was ultimately dwarfed by the size of the venue.

Although this year’s kickoff location has yet to be chosen, Jones said it will be more accessible to students.

Jones has increased the number of workshops — which will focus on how seniors can best approach the job search during a slumping economy — from seven in February and April to 12 this October, one for each residential college.

The message to impart is simple, Jones said: Seniors should not be paralyzed by anxiety when looking for a job but instead should be more creative and persistent in the application process. As the economy has begun to show signs of recovery, Jones added, students should be more hopeful about their job prospects.

Kayla Kuretich ’10 said UCS’s new approach may resonate better with seniors unsure about how to take the first steps in the job hunt.

“I think more people would be willing to go to UCS if UCS were to come to them,” she said. “It’s good for them to take the initiative when we don’t really know what’s going on.”

But whether the programs take place in the residential colleges or at UCS itself, Johnny Cantalino ’10 said he plans to forgo them in favor of one-on-one counseling with UCS staff members.

“Most people who are searching for jobs will likely just go to UCS, so I’m not sure if [this year’s workshops] will draw more people,” he said.

Jones said UCS has also expanded its outreach to residential colleges this year by assigning each of its career counselors to two corresponding colleges. As an additional service to students, this year UCS hired an additional part-time staff member whose exclusive job function is to help students with mock interviews, he said.

UCS will host its Tenth Annual Career Fair this Friday, and Jones said he expects 70 companies to send representatives, down from 80 last year.

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