Turning dreams into reality
FSU Career Center guides grads into the future
By Kati Schardl
College students spend years learning to successfully navigate the halls of academia, but what happens when it’s time to take the knowledge and skills they’ve acquired and apply them to the competitive and sometimes downright intimidating job market?
For students at Florida State University, the FSU Career Center is there to help make that transition seamless.
“The Career Center provides career services to support FSU students on their path to success,” said Myrna Hoover, the center’s director for more than three decades.
According to Hoover, those services include career fairs, employability skills workshops, individualized career advising, internship/job search tools, mock interviews and a library with more than 3,000 information resources.
“Last year alone, we hosted over 1,000 workshops and 20 career events,” Hoover said. “Career Center staff are available with no appointment necessary during drop-in advising to help students engage in experiences outside the classroom and with our employer partners, ultimately preparing them for 21st-century careers.”
A goal of helping students succeed
According to FSU’s 2017 graduating senior survey, the Career Center was the No. 1 way students found post-graduation employment. The center provided career advising services to 19,583 students during the 2016-17 academic year, with close to 90 percent of those students reporting a rise in confidence about future career plans.
Those numbers are the result of the dedicated and inspired work of the center’s staff, career advisers, and career liaisons, who work directly with individuals and groups within the university’s various colleges and departments.
“FSU is student-focused with one goal — helping students succeed,” Hoover said. “The Career Center is no exception… Taking this model into colleges with our career liaisons has helped us meet students where they are. Career liaisons work to increase student engagement in experiential learning opportunities, deliver employability skills workshops and events, and link students to local, state and regional internship employers. In addition, they collaborate closely with faculty and academic advisers and leverage student affairs partnerships to foster student success.”
“Career Center staff are available with no appointment necessary during drop-in advising to help students engage in experiences outside the classroom and with our employer partners.”
— Myrna Hoover, FSU Career Center director
“I am impressed by the work of Myrna and her talented, hardworking team,” said Sam Huckaba, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “The services that the Career Center provides complement so well our degree programs, and are making a tremendous difference in the lives of our students as they prepare for, and pursue, their career goals.”
The liaisons work to match services to meet the particular needs of individual students, according to Jen Harshner, career liaison to FSU’s departments of Biological Science and Psychology.
“I tailor my services to a student’s specific needs, so I am challenged to learn about trends in their various fields and find the best resources to help them,” Harshner said. “For Psychology students, I will have a panel of graduate students give tips for getting into grad programs, and an event for them to learn about the various advanced degrees they could pursue to become a therapist.”
Avenues to employment aren’t always so clear-cut for some students.
“As a liaison for the College of Arts and Sciences’ humanities departments, I have noticed students are mostly uncertain about opportunities available with their major,” said Cathy Barrios. “During one-on-one career advising and needs assessments, I learn what tools and information students need to achieve their goals after graduation, which helps in designing and implementing customized programs and workshops that fill those gaps.
“I have invited FSU alumni from the college who are working as professionals in different industries, within and outside humanities, to speak and network with students about their experiences in the annual ‘Humanities Career Panel and Networking Event,’” she said.
Jake Toyota, an undergraduate junior double-majoring in English Literature and Media Communications Studies, is among the students Barrios is helping.
“I sought assistance in applying for my second major within the College of Communication and Information,” Toyota said. “Cathy helped me curate my personal statement, portfolio materials, résumé and writing examples, as well as coaching me in procuring recommendation letters from faculty.”
The help provided by the Career Center can extend through a protracted journey from school to work and back again.
“My first contact with the FSU Career Center was as a freshman in 2006,” said Gray Platt, who is working toward a Ph.D. in Neuroscience after a three-year break from the classroom. “As part of a Freshman Interest Group, I was required to work with the Career Center to develop a professional portfolio and résumé. I used that résumé for years.
Krystle Graham, a career liaison serving the departments of Anthropology; Chemistry and Biochemistry; Computer Science; Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science; Mathematics; Physics; Scientific Computing; and Statistics, echoed her colleagues’ sentiments.
“Witnessing students turn their employer/ graduate school dreams into reality is a great feeling,” Graham said.