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UWRF service extends advice, career tools

May 8, 2008

Students looking to brush up on their interviewing skills and build a stronger resume are flocking to UW-River Falls’ Career Services (CS) for assistance.

CS offers a wide array of resources to students, including career counseling advice, a large resource library filled with computers and individualized books for different majors, a digital scanner for creating an electronic portfolio, mock interviews and resume critiques.

Using the resources available to them, students master the art of self-assessment, occupational exploration, decision-making, goal-setting, self-marketing, job search skills and developing meaningful connections in the workplace while offering an instructional link between students, faculty, prospective employers and the global community, according to the CS mission statement.

Students making an appointment to use office resources and obtain career counseling will have to wait a week or two to get in, CS Technology Professional Matt Fitzgerald said.

However, a variety of online resources are also available to students through the UWRF Hire a Falcon System (HFS), which provides information about jobs and internships in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Before using the system, students first have to register—a process that takes about 15 minutes. Students are then able to search for jobs or internships and sign up to receive a daily e-mail list of all jobs that CS receives relating to a student’s preference. CS also goes beyond waiting for employers to send them information on openings.

“We go out to different Web sites and gather different jobs,” Fitzgerald said. “We don’t wait for the jobs to come to us.”

HFS allows students to upload their resume, which is then printed and critiqued by CS.

“We usually recommend two to three different people to view [a] resume,” Fitzgerald said.

Suggestions for improvement are then e-mailed back.

One suggestion for building a strong resume is doing your homework on a specific employer.

“People should tailor their resume to the job and the company,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s more effective than sending out 1,000 general resumes to 1,000 different jobs.”

The online system also offers opportunities to sign up for on-campus interviews with local employers, and resume referrals that allow for CS to send them out to inquiring employers.

Perhaps the most effective online resource offered by CS is the mentor network, which allows students to speak with someone in their desired field of interest and learn more about that field. The mentor network is seen by some as a resourceful way for students to build strong relationships with employers.

“The single most effective way to uncover jobs and land a job is through networking,” Fitzgerald said. “The more people know you, the more your name will stand out in a large pile of resumes.”

Despite the multiple services offered by CS, some students think there are a few needed improvements that should be considered to aid students.

“I think they do a great job providing fundamental skills for job searching,” Student Senate President and soon-to-be graduate Derek Brandt said. “The one area that should be expanded is the search for internship opportunities.”

Brandt also said he thinks CS should do a better job offering advice to younger students who need to obtain internships and prepare for future employment.

“[CS] needs to do a better job of getting students over there,” Brandt said. “They need to hammer it out right away and get students comfortable right away.”

Resources provided by CS are available to all UWRF students, past and present. UWRF is the only school in the UW System that provides career services to alumni.

CS recently moved from Hathorn Hall to their new home on the second floor of Hagestad Hall. Students and alumni interested in meeting with a career counselor, peer adviser or other CS employees can do so by making an appointment online or by calling (715) 425-3572.