UCS offers last-minute guidance

As the job hunt reaches peak season, Undergraduate Career Services is making one final push to advise students from the class of 2014 before they graduate.

In addition to offering a series of “Life After Yale” workshops to help students with their transition from college, UCS has opened a series of one-on-one job search strategy sessions in an effort to assist current seniors still considering their postgraduate plans. While all undergraduates can walk into the UCS office for a 15 minute first-come, first-serve session with UCS advisors, the office has created a separate window of time from Monday to Thursday for current seniors to have 30 minute individualized advising sessions with advisors.

Unlike the regular walk-in hours, students can sign up for these senior-specific advising sessions online at any point prior to the appointment through Symplicity, the online resource system for students that UCS adopted earlier this year.

This is the first time that the office has reached out to seniors exclusively for extended advising sessions. Administrators interviewed said this move was designed to enhance the ease with which seniors could access UCS at a critical point in the job hunt.

“This entire initiative was focused solely on enhancing seniors’ access to career advice at a potentially stressful time of the year,” UCS Director Jeanine Dames said.

Dames added that although it was late in the academic year, the months of March and April are actually when the bulk of seniors find their jobs.
According to a report UCS published earlier this year — which compiled survey results from the recently graduated class of 2013 — more than 45 percent of the seniors received their jobs after spring break. The report, which was entitled “First Destination Report: Class of 2013,” marked the first year that UCS had collected specific data on when Yale seniors received full-time jobs.

Both Dames and Elayne Mazzarella, deputy director of UCS and director of career counseling, said the report’s findings encouraged the office to implement these initiatives this year.

“Although we knew that many students were getting jobs at this time of the year, we did not expect the number to be as large as it turned out to be,” said Dames.

Mazzarella said this report should reassure anxious seniors that the hiring season has not ended and is actually in full swing. She added that certain industries such as nonprofits or start-ups hire most of their employees at this point in the year.

But Dames said larger firms such as Google or Goldman Sachs tend to finish their hiring earlier in the year because they are able to anticipate their hiring needs in advance. Smaller firms are less likely to commit to hiring a student until closer to the end of the academic year, she said.

“We’ve had so many seniors who have come to us worrying that they are the only ones without a job,” she said, adding that more than 30 seniors have come to UCS during these special senior-only hours.

Still, Dames and Mazzarella emphasized that the walk-in appointments are not just for students still seeking jobs. Because graduate school decisions are still coming out, Mazzarella said many seniors come to UCS at this point of the year asking for advice about whether to defer graduate school and enter the job market. Dames said other students who have obtained several job offers may come to the office for guidance about which job to pursue.

Although these additional walk-in hours were slated to finish on April 24, Mazzarella said the office will extend the program, citing the positive feedback she has already received from students. Although UCS does not know by how long it will extend the program, Dames said it is possible the walk-in hours will remain until several weeks after members of the class of 2014 graduate and officially become alumni.

Five of the seven seniors interviewed were not aware of UCS’s new program.

Charles Kwenin ’14 said many seniors perceive UCS to be a resource better suited for underclassmen who are looking for internships. He added that there is a misconception amongst seniors that they are too old for UCS’s help.

Still, Kwenin and the six other students interviewed all said they appreciated UCS’s outreach and willingness to be flexible on behalf of the students

Mazzarella and Dames said UCS will be as open and accessible to students from the class of 2014 the day after they graduate from Yale as the office was while they were still undergraduates. Yale is one of the few schools that offers the full spectrum of career and life mentoring to its alumni — from walk-in appointments to Skype video sessions — for free, Dames said.

John Gonzalez ’14 said the office’s new online registration system is an efficient model that other parts of the University should adopt.

“Walk-ins are very frustrating when there isn’t an online schedule undergirding it all,” he said, adding that many students complain of walking to a professor’s office hours or Yale Health only to wait for hours.

Gonzalez said he hopes UCS will use an online-scheduling system for all walk-in appointments in the future so students who need only to ask a few questions do not need to wait for long periods of time.

Matt Lawlor ’14 said he has been impressed with UCS’s developments over the past year, adding that the office has made major strides in using technology to make its services more accessible. Still, Lawlor said he would use UCS’s services more frequently if the walk-in hours were in a more central location.

Both Mazzarella and Dames cited UCS’s annual production of a “Life After Yale” publication and associated workshops as an example of another way in which the office has traditionally helped seniors. The publication is a compact survival guide for graduating seniors, Mazzarella said, adding that the advice it gave to seniors was broad, ranging from recipes for basic food such as Mac and Cheese to information on how young adults should balance their budgets.

The walk-in sessions for seniors are from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. every Monday to Thursday.

Comments