I’ve heard of the Career Services office before…
EACE contribution by Candice Sierzega, Assistant Director, Career Development, Career Services, Lehigh University
“I’ve heard of the Career Services office before. I am not sure where their office is located.”
“A few of my friends said they have gone there to get their resume critiqued.”
“I am only a first-year student and I am still trying to understand what I want to major in…I feel so lost.”
“I do not think I will go to Career Services this year. Maybe I will go there next year, or when I am a junior.”
-Quotes heard from students on campus at Lehigh University
If you are a Career Counselor, or even a company representative, you may have heard similar dialogue between students on a University campus at some point. As a professional in the field, it has been a struggle to clearly articulate to students the importance of a proactive approach to their career development. Many students want a “one size fits all” model when they come to our office. It is our responsibility and privilege to help students understand how their journey is unique. Students often ask those questions that could only be answered if you were a genie and could grant them 3 wishes.
• What is the first thing I should do?
• How long will it take me to find an internship?
• Why are my friends applying for jobs already?
• How many applications should I send out?
…and the list goes on!
For the past year and a half, the Career Services team at Lehigh University has been brainstorming ideas, benchmarking, and reviewing best practices to develop a model that can be understood by students, parents, staff/faculty, and community members. The Lehigh University Career Development Model was built with Lehigh University students in mind. We have thought about student’s academic, social, and emotional growth during their college years and how that impacts their Career Development journey. In collaboration with our staff members, the university communications team, and other departments on campus, we finalized and launched our model to students at an Open-House event. The Open-House incorporated each piece of the model as an activity including:
100 jobs exercise to focus on “Explore Self & Options”
Tie Tying contest to highlight “Develop Skills”
We hope that other Career Services offices can utilize our model as a framework to help communicate their work to university constituents. After launching our new model at Lehigh, we cannot claim to be genies with a magic lamp but we are certain students found their “aha moment.”
The Lehigh University Career Development Model
Our career counselors use a multi-directional, comprehensive approach to assist you in your professional development. Their guidance will help you gain the skills required for careers in today’s competitive job market. Career Services prepares you, regardless of your field or level, with the foundation you’ll need to connect your undergraduate degree to the workplace, ultimately securing a successful first destination after graduation.
Where are you on your journey?
Students come to Career Services at different places in their career development journey. Your counselor will help you identify where you are and guide you to your next step. As you navigate your path, you may want to change direction, and that’s OK. The process is fluid, enabling you to go back and try another course. No matter where you are in your journey, actively network; talk to people, ask questions, and continue to build your pool of professional contacts.
Candice Sierzega is the Assistant Director of Career Development at Lehigh University. She serves as the liaison to the College of Arts & Sciences providing individual career counseling, as well as program development and workshop presentations. Candice received her M.Ed in School Counseling at Lehigh University in 2012. She currently serves on the EACE Technology Committee and is on the Alumni Board of Directors at her alma mater, East Stroudsburg University. At Lehigh, she is engaged in various capacities with student clubs and organizations on campus. She is a staff facilitator for first-year students, serves on the summer-reading selection committee, and is also trained as an Advocate for student survivors of gender violence. She is also passionate about staying active with collegiate members of her sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi, and serves as the recruitment advisor on campus.
You can connect with Candice via LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/pub/candice-sierzega/54/257/a0a/en or through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org