For all the students dreading the never ending bombardment of, “what are your plans after graduating college?” questions from curious aunts, uncles, and grandparents during Thanksgiving dinner, the Gustavus Career Development Center has your back.
They have created an entire week of activities designed for students of all years and career paths, or lack thereof, to get a jumpstart on personal and professional development.
This upcoming week, Sept. 24-28, called “Gustie Career Week,” is designed to present opportunities for students to explore different industries, organizations, and seminars in order to get students headed in the right direction.
Jessica Franta, Career Development Specialist, who manages the Business Cluster and Internship in Career Development, took on a major role in getting this event up and running.
Although September might seem too early to begin thinking about careers, Franta wanted students to get engaged early.
“Doing it in September and making it a week long initiative will help get students get engaged with careers and career development as soon as possible, especially first years and sophomores that maybe don’t think about career development right away and level the playing field for companies hiring full time for the spring,” Franta said.
The week is comprised of various workshops, employer panels, networking opportunities, and special events meant to provide students with awareness of new career fields, and show them the tools to begin their journey into their careers.
All seminars and Career Panels will last 45 minutes.
Gusties of all years and all majors are strongly encouraged to come to the events; no experience, knowledge, or clue on what you want is required.
Jason Pruitt, the Executive Director of Career Development at Gustavus, points out there is something for everyone at this event: “Whether you are a freshman undecided or a soon to b e graduated senior who has a crystal clear vision of where they want to go, this event exists because it’s about building rapport, relationships, professional skills, and it’s an opportunity to connect with some of the most successful Gustavus alumni,” Pruitt said.
Franta’s mission for Career Week is “to reach every single academic year from first-year to senior, and any level of preparation in terms of career search. With each day we’re hoping to hit on a topic of interest,” Franta said.
Monday, symbolically being the start of the week, is also the day designated to students who are still deciding to begin solidifying a career path.
Students can “explore some of their strengths by doing a strength finder and then speak with Laura, the ‘still deciding’ career specialist, and work through what it means to explore different professions and industries,” Franta said.
This day is designed for students that are in that exploratory stage, trying to figure out how to start, where to start, and when to start.
“Whether you are a freshman undecided or a soon-to-be graduated senior… this event exists because it’s about building rapport, relationships, [and] professional skills.”
There will be a panel Monday evening with current Gustavus juniors and seniors sharing their tips and tricks on their experience moving through the process of career exploration.
The following days move through the different career clusters.
Tuesday focuses on law, government, and nonprofits with two panel discussions.
Wednesday is for STEAM, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics.
Thursday is business, which ranges from anything in consulting to human resources, and ends with a “no pressure career fair” that will allow for students to connect with over 50 companies, 90% of which will be represented by Gustie alums.
Career Week is meant to engage students with industry experts, with 100+ professionals coming to Gustavus.
Jill VanOsdol, Career Development Specialist who manages the Arts and Communication and STEAM Career Interest Clusters, spent time with graduated seniors figuring out how Gustavus can bring in companies students want to meet.
In years past, Gustavus used to have a “Careers Possible” event, but it was losing traction and had not been revamped in a few years, so they looked at feedback from seniors of specifically what companies they wanted to see on campus.
Two of the biggest companies students requested were 3M and Medtronic.
So VanOsdol reached out to alumni at the companies, and both companies will be in attendance during Career Week.
VanOsdol also looked into inviting companies that already recruit Gusties and have recently hired Gustavus alumni.
90 percent of the professionals coming to campus are Gustavus alumni, meaning they know what it is like to transition from Gustavus into the real world of careers and want to guide students.
Gaining valuable insider tips on everything from writing a resume, to being interviewed, to actually landing a job are all topics that are going to be discussed.
Career Week is designed to get a glimpse into the working world and see a variety of industries and possibilities.
Networking with people of similar interests and professional passions is one of the most important experiences job-searching college students can gain from a career event.
Attending the events during Career Week can help provide clarity, guidance, and connections students of all years and majors.
The week will “bring the campus together, hopefully allowing students to learn as much about themselves and their career path [as possible],” Franta said.
Maybe it will even help you think of a response to your family’s endless post-graduation questions and serve as a great starting point for your career.