CMU’s lifelong commitment to student success

Coaching helps new students, alumni navigate career path

| Author: Eric Baerren | Media Contact: Aaron Mills

Help from Central Michigan University’s Career Development Center is available even before students officially step foot on campus, and once given, that support continues for a lifetime.

“Come in early on so that we can help match your interests with potential majors and careers,” said Erica O’Toole, associate director of the Career Development Center. “We can help you starting on day one with the career exploration process”

That help is available well after a student graduates, she said. The office will help someone chart a new career path even if they’ve been an alumni for 20 years.

Three assistant directors specialize in coaching students tailored to the student’s needs, she said. They help students launch exciting careers or enroll in graduate school.

Since July 2023, the office has fielded 3,215 career development appointments, a number that continues to increase. A big reason behind the surge in appointments: students want to get the most out of their education investment.

“I think more students are looking for assistance with making sure they meet their career goals after graduation,” she said.

While all student experiences are different, in general, a student will get an experience reflected in their year of study.

The first year is all about matching the student with prospective careers. That means taking some time for a student to discover their passion and interest, and not necessarily locking into a career too early.

“It’s okay to not know,” she said.

The center helps students start to shape their careers in the second year by following where those interests lead them.

“This is my major,” she said. “What careers associate with that?”

Center staff work with students on developing professional networks and landing internships in the third year. Applying for the next step – jobs or graduate school – starts early in the fourth year.

In between it all, Career Development Center staff conduct outreach at career fairs and networking events. In the past, they’ve held etiquette dinners to help students understand the formal nature of etiquette.

This year, they’re holding workshops on how to navigate artificial intelligence in the job application process, she said.

O’Toole said that even after graduation, alumni can contact the office for assistance changing careers or updating a resume.
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