Today’s challenging job market has led to more demand for the career assistance offered by Montclair State’s Center for Career Services and Cooperative Education and the Office of Alumni Relations.
The Center for Career Services and Cooperative Education’s programs and activities include career counseling and testing, career fairs, job postings, instruction in resume writing and interviewing techniques as well as new workshops in social media.
“What we are involved in is a very structured process of helping people with career decision-making and implementation,” says Carolyn Jones, executive director of the Center for Career Services and Cooperative Education.
The three most frequently used services are:
- Counseling and testing—One-on-one appointments with counselors are available for students with undeclared majors and alumni. Vocational interest testing, which can help determine careers that complement an individual’s interests and preferences, is offered as a part of counseling when appropriate.
- Career fairs—Career fairs are held on campus each year, one in the fall and the other in the spring. The fall fair attracts about 40 employers and about 400 attendees; the spring fair is larger, with 60-70 employers and 600-700 visitors.
- Career Directions—The Center’s online job posting system lists full and part-time jobs, and internships, with all types of positions ranging from entry to those that require more experience.
“A lot of what we did before was exclusively face-to-face. Now we try to supplement high touch with high tech. We use the Internet and social media in addition to one-on-one counseling to help our students and alumni,” Jones says. The Center’s website receives over a quarter of a million hits a year and online workshops, available 24/7, are an invaluable asset for students and alumni who cannot visit the office easily.
The Center for Career Services and Cooperative Education focuses on students with undeclared majors and alumni, while students with declared majors are served by career services staff based at each of Montclair State’s five undergraduate colleges and schools (School of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Education and Human Services, College of the Arts, College of Science and Mathematics). The Center’s hours during the summer are 8 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., Monday through Thursday. During the academic year, regular hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, with extended hours until 7 p.m. on Monday and Thursday evenings.
The Center works in collaboration with the Office of Alumni Relations, which introduced a monthly Career Resource Seminar series this year. The free, two-hour seminars, featuring speakers who are experts in their field, have covered topics such as networking, interviewing techniques, resume writing, and career transitions.
“We’ve had a very broad spectrum of people attend the seminars—from those who graduated in the 1960s straight through to our current students,” said Jeanne Marano, executive director of the Office of Alumni Relations. Each of the seminars has attracted from 40-100 attendees.
Coming soon for alumni is a new online alumni community called MONTCLAIRconnect. “MONTCLAIRconnect is a place where alumni can go to take advantage of valuable networking tools to connect with fellow graduates,” Marano added. “In the Career Advisory Network [a feature of the online service], alumni can access online career resources, upload resumes, serve as a career contact for fellow alumni and students, or search for informational contacts in a chosen field or area of interest.”
Marano said the Office of Alumni Relations will also be organizing networking gatherings where alumni can informally meet.“These opportunities, partnered with career counseling services from the Center for Career Services, are really very valuable benefits provided to alumni,” she said.