Services Prepare Students for Life After College

September 21, 2003

Stephen Richer, <i>Hullabaloo</i> contributing writer

Though Commencement may seem a distant thought for many students, multiple services are offered to Tulane students to prepare them for graduate school or the job market. The Tulane Career Services Center provides free job training, interview preparatory courses and resume building five days a week. Located in the basement of the University Center, Career Services offers assistance to all levels of Tulane students looking for graduate school information or general job market searches.

"If a student thinks that all the Career Services Center does at Tulane University is host companies for career fairs on campus or host interview sessions for businesses they are looking at 1/10th of what we can do for them," Associate Director of the Center Jamie Lax said. "We work with the college student that has in mind several options. We help them develop their skills to what exactly they want to do."

One such resource is the interview training the center offers. Counselors make appointments to conduct and videotape mock interviews to assist the student in expanding their skills in theses types of settings. "You have to practice interviews before you go into them," Lax said. "You certainly wouldn't go into a test without studying for it, so why would this be different?"

The interview workshops fine-tune students' abilities to make it through the interview process successfully. "We mentor the student in the appropriate technique, making them realize that they are still a student, and that they must use this to their advantage," Lax said. "We teach them how to handle tough questions. Maybe their GPA is a little low, but they have these incredible skills, so we teach them how to make the interviewer aware of those."

For those students beginning general job searches, there is the Tulane Alumni Network called Wavelink. This online service features alumni around the country who are available for contact to answer any question students may have on specific careers. "Our alumni network has grown and is quite substantial now," Lax said. "We love to have students use this to make connections prior to going on an interview process."

One of the largest and most utilized resources the Career Services Center offers is their free resume-building program. Whether students have a pre-made resume or are in need of one, the center is available to help. From 8:30 to 10 a.m., the office offers walk in hours for students with pre-made resumes.

For students in need of full resume work-ups, appointments are made for sit down sessions with personal counselors. Aside from the Career Services Center, Tulane students can also utilize outside resources to help them prepare for life after college. Located at 7733 Maple Street, Strategic Resumes provides resume critiques it says are essential for those entering the workforce or applying to institutions of higher learning.

Grant Cooper is the founder of the service, which he runs with Tulane graduate student Lauren Cardon. Cooper and Cardon help students create resumes from scratch or provide in-depth examinations of already existing ones. Aside from working with students' resumes, Cooper and Cardon also teach many skills necessary to be selected for careers or schools.

"Many people don't know about writing cover letters, thank you notes and follow up calls," Cardon said. Strategic Resumes educates students on these skills and provides services to improve them. Grant and Cardon provide services to Tulane students that they consider personal, rather than the impersonal assistance they may receive elsewhere. "It is a very customer-orientated business; it is not a secretarial service that will read the resume for only five minutes," Cardon said.

Instead, Cardon and Grant spend anywhere between 20 minutes to two hours working on resumes they are given. Lax acknowledges being familiar with organizations like Strategic Resumes, but offers some words of caution for Tulane students considering taking advantage of the paid service, rather than the complimentary student services provided at the Career Services Center.

"Writing resumes or working with students takes knowing the students. These groups don't necessarily know the students," Lax said. "They have to know what their purpose is, and I don't know if they can get as much personal information as we can. While some of the services are well targeted for some students, we encourage everyone to come and see us first."

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000