After three years as a loyal Colonial, it is easy to see how much GW has given me.
It helped me pursue my academic goals in the School of Media and Public Affairs, develop keen social skills useable in all situations, and discover the student organizations that would make me rethink my life’s passions.
As a senior, however, I can’t help but look at the missed opportunities that abound on campus. Freshly off a summer working with incoming freshmen and their families at Colonial Inauguration, I can look back in see the aspects of the university that I would want to go back and use.
Above them all, the freshly rebranded GW Center for Career Services (CCS) stands out.
My freshman year the Career Center was nothing more, at least in my mind, than something that upperclassmen use to find a job post-graduation. They were in some building on the other side of campus that didn’t even look affiliated with GW, why would I need to go there?
It may have just been my naiveté, but I didn’t think about using any of the incredible resources it offers to every student, not ones actively pursuing jobs.
There are three resources in CCS that I think every freshman should begin using as soon as they move into their residence halls.
Without a doubt, they will make everything easier for them in the future.
A goal for all students should be to build a brand that can appeal to employers as early in their collegiate careers as possible and Career Services starts this by offering resume and cover letter workshops. They will both critique and recommend organization, skill sets, experience, and the like to make sure that students are presenting the best version of themselves to employers.
Cover letters, personally, are some of the most difficult things to write…and I’m a journalist! But if CCS was by my side from the beginning, they could have saved me frantic searches for online writing guides and my mother hours of editing something she doesn’t really understand. There is no reason to have a weak resume or cover letter if you actively work with CCS.
Another key resource is the online job database called GWork. Pronounced Gee-work, not gwork, as I thought when I was a freshman, GWork offers students an extensive list of jobs both on-campus in an office or off-campus at a Smithsonian museum. In my experience, this is where most students tend to find their jobs.
When I was a freshman, I didn’t log onto this once and I regret it because my sophomore year I found a job in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions; one that I still have to this day. Nothing will be handed to anyone as easy as these opportunities are to organized GW students, so don’t let those dream internships and jobs go to someone more prepared.
The final resource I would implore freshman to utilize is career consulting. The CCS consultants help guide students in specific fields based on their majors or career aspirations and can provide a wealth of knowledge to get that “in” everyone is searching for.
Whether you leave having enrolled in On-Campus Recruiting or with a sheet filled with specifics about possible careers pertaining to your interests, there is no reason not to meet with a consultant. Especially when all appointments can be made online through your GWork profile!
Three years later, I wish I understood just how much I could learn about my future by walking into the Center for Career Services. The location may have moved, but the resources are still there and online, waiting to help any student brave enough to look for them.
Ryan, a rising senior from Boston, is majoring in journalism and mass communication.