This fall, Undergraduate Career Services has begun digitizing its services and workshops, enabling students to access these resources without needing to set foot in its building on Whitney Avenue.
Although the number of workshops UCS is offering this fall is consistent with prior years, each of the 17 workshops has also been posted on either UCS’s website or Symplicity, a new resource system that UCS released in the summer as a replacement for its old eRecruiting platform. The online workshops include not only the PowerPoint presentations and images that are shown at the actual events, but also an audio recording that includes any other information mentioned at the event.
“We wanted to reach out and access students who, for whatever reason, can’t consistently attend the physical events,” said UCS Director Jeanine Dames, explaining that many athletes and students studying abroad, in particular, are unable to make use of UCS’s in-person resources because of regular conflicts in scheduling.
The nature and parameters of UCS’s workshops have also evolved over the past few years — a trend that is reflected in the relative absence of class-specific workshops in this year’s calendar. In past years, Dames said, UCS tended to organize workshops that were oriented specifically toward individual class years. Although three workshops geared almost exclusively for freshmen still exist, 14 of this year’s workshops — such as “Leveraging Social Media” and “Networking” — emphasize skills and themes that are pertinent to all classes of students.
The new system, Dames said, recognizes that students in the same class can be in very different stages of the job hunt and enables students to efficiently focus on one skill at a time.
“If you know you have an interview coming up, rather than going to a generic sophomore all-in-one workshop, you can now just attend the workshop specifically for interviews,” Dames said, adding that now that the workshops are online, students can be even more selective and read only the slides relevant to their interests.
Last spring, UCS launched an initiative to record and post career-focused panels for students to access online. After hiring an IT specialist over the summer to resolve technical issues, UCS has posted over 20 videos to its website this semester. Dames said it was especially important for UCS to record panels and talks given by visitors to Yale to ensure that their insights did not “die in the room.”
Despite UCS’s efforts to promote its new online resources, 13 of 14 students interviewed said they did not know about the initiatives. But all 14 students said they were pleased that UCS had begun moving resources online and that they would likely utilize its resources in the future.
Wazhma Sadat ’14 said the digitalization of UCS’s workshops is helpful because students are very busy and often “forget to do the things that are important in the long run but are optional in the short term,” such as learning interview skills. Lukas Czinger ’16 said that as an athlete, he has been unable to attend any UCS workshops because they often clash with his soccer practices or games.
“By putting them online, there’s a better chance I’ll check it out,” he said.
Though UCS has made a significant effort to bring its resources online, Emma Simon ’16 and Jacob Marcus ’14 both said they think UCS needs to improve its advising services as well. Simon said that as a premed student, she often relies on UCS but is frustrated that only one career advisor specializes in the health professions. Hunter added that he believes UCS’s workshops — even when they are not industry-specific — are geared “almost exclusively for finance and consulting.” But both students still said they hope that UCS advisors will now have more time to help students with more nuanced advice by moving more resources online.
To help students prepare for professional life and make career-related decisions, UCS also publishes broad guidebooks that are available online and also in the Dean’s Office of each residential college.