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Kristen Morse / Gavel Media

Navigating the Twists and Turns of Career Planning

The mission of the Boston College Career Center is to empower students to find their passion so they can pursue meaningful careers. They work to provide advisement to every student at Boston College, regardless of major, class year, or where they stand in their occupational discovery process. The center offers a variety of programming and resources throughout the year to help students at each stage of their career journey.

By second semester of freshman year, it is recommended that students begin reflecting on their interests, skills, and values that might relate to choice of major and career. Rest assured, however, that the Career Center works with all class years on planning their career paths, so it’s never too late or too early to embark on your journey or change direction. One way students can get started is by stopping by the Career Center for a drop-in session. Theses sessions are 15 minutes in length and don’t require an appointment. Drop-ins offer a range of services, including converting high school resumes to a collegiate format,  reviewing cover letters, and even discussing resources for the job/internship search. Here, students can also meet with Peer Career Coaches (PCCs), fellow underclassmen who’ve been trained on responding to students' professional needs.  

“Last year almost 6,000 unique students had at least one advising appointment, participated in one of our signature programs, took part in a networking event, [attended] a career fair, or joined us for one of our many workshops,” said Joe Du Pont, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs/Career Services.

In light of the recent career fair, several students feel as though many of BC’s networking events are oriented towards the business school, seeing the large influence of representatives from financial or consulting firms. However, hiring timelines play a large role in these feelings of networking exclusion. Financial services, accounting companies, and consulting companies have had a large presence on campus over the past month due to the nature of their recruiting time frames, which often begin before students are even back on campus for the fall. Although it appeared as though these business-oriented industries had an overwhelming presence at the Fall Career and Internship Fair, those from healthcare, education, government, non-profit, retail, and the arts were similarly represented (a full list of representatives can be found here).

“We know students on campus feel anxious about the varying timelines, [so we] encourage students having these feelings to visit the Career Center and talk to us,” Du Pont explained. “Once you have a better understanding of the timelines for industries you might be interested in, it will be easier to work with us to create a plan that works for you.”

Not having a clear professional direction is a typical feeling amongst college students, and many need help determining which steps to take. From a class that leaves a lasting impact, to a service trip or retreat, there are endless ways to discover what sparks an internal excitement and passion. 

“We are here to help you figure that out,” said Du Pont. “I often tell students that career paths only look linear in the rearview mirror. There are a lot of twists and turns along the way.”

The Career Center has a Career Exploration Team to help you through these twists and turns. The team's sole focus is to help students discover their career interests and explore different options. Students can meet with a coach for a 30-minute session and utilize some of the center’s available tools to tap into one's interests and skills. The center also runs a 10-week course during the spring semester exclusive to MCAS sophomores and juniors.

“Through self-assessment exercises...students identify and reflect upon their values, interests, and skills and then connect them to career options. In addition, students explore the eight most desired skills valued by employers and learn how to develop those competencies during their BC careers.”

Additionally, the Boston College Career Center hosts several career-focused events each semester, so there are always opportunities at the disposal of BC students. In fact, there are several upcoming fairs and retreats students should keep an eye out for.

For juniors and seniors, Launch Week (Oct. 16-21) is a good place for students who are beginning to think about their summer internship or post-grad job search. It’s a week-long series of events that covers interview practice and salary negotiation tactics as well as best practices for networking and other related topics.

Specific to liberal arts sophomores, Endeavor (Jan. 10-12) is a three-day exploration program in which students reflect, explore, and prepare to act on their career interests and goals. Simultaneously, students contemplate how to best connect the value of their liberal arts education to their future. Students are able to meet with alumni and visit employers. It’s a free program and students move back to the residence halls early. Registration for Endeavor begins October 2.

The Job Shadow Program​ (Jan. 3-9) is a great way for students to explore a particular field or specific organization by shadowing a professional. Shadows are available nationwide in a large array of industries, and students participate in shadowing over the winter break. Job Shadow Program registration opens November 1.

Lastly, the STEM Fair (Oct. 25) is intended for students of all class years who are exploring or pursuing the fields of science, technology, or environment. The fair is also geared towards those seeking science-related jobs or internships.

Aside from the featured events above, the Career Center hosts numerous workshops and information sessions throughout the year, hosting recruiters from diverse fields and accommodating all majors. Some of these events include Career Night for the Arts, Nursing Networking Night, Sports Business and Networking Night, Careers in Health & Healthcare, Green Careers Night, and more. If you ever find yourself lost amongst the twists and turns of your career path, don’t be hesitant to step into the Career Center. Nestled warmly at 38 Commonwealth Ave, the center is readily available to assist you at any stage of your search and in any way possible. Take advantage and explore the myriad of interesting programs and initiatives they have to offer!

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