Spotlight on career services

Career coun­selors from col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties across the United State, in Boston this week for the annual con­fer­ence of the National Career Devel­op­ment Asso­ci­a­tion, vis­ited North­eastern Wednesday after­noon for a standing-​​room-​​only site visit hosted by the university’s Career Ser­vices office, which con­sis­tently receives best-​​in-​​the-​​nation acco­lades from The Princeton Review.

North­eastern career ser­vices pro­fes­sionals show­cased the university’s array of pro­grams for stu­dents and alumni and offered a number of strate­gies designed to engage employers. Career coun­selors and admin­is­tra­tors high­lighted pro­grams aimed at empow­ering young job-​​seekers; helping inter­na­tional stu­dents accli­mate to the Amer­ican job market; and con­necting stu­dents inter­ested in public ser­vice with jobs in the non­profit and gov­ern­ment sectors.

“What we do aligns well with the aca­d­emic side of the uni­ver­sity,” said Maria Stein, Northeastern’s asso­ciate vice pres­i­dent for uni­ver­sity career and co-​​op ser­vices. “It’s about teaching our stu­dents to fish, not just handing them a job or throwing them out there unprepared.”

The site visit was one of three held during the NCDA con­fer­ence; the others took place at Har­vard Uni­ver­sity and the Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Technology.

Tina Mello, an asso­ciate director in the Career Ser­vices office, noted that Northeastern’s annual career fair is far from the only option for job-​​seeking seniors looking to find the per­fect pro­fes­sional match. The Senior Sit­u­a­tion, for example, com­prises a day­long series of work­shops designed to equip stu­dents with the infor­ma­tion they need to find a job.

Northeastern’s career coun­selors also pro­vide ser­vices tai­lored specif­i­cally to the university’s large pool of inter­na­tional stu­dents, who seek guid­ance at a slightly higher rate than that of the overall stu­dent body, explained Ellen Zold Goldman, also an asso­ciate director.

Pro­grams for inter­na­tional stu­dents focus on resume drafting, entre­pre­neur­ship, and solving pesky visa issues. There’s even a work­shop for learning how to make office small talk.

The Career Ser­vices office relies on data to iden­tify the most in-​​demand pro­grams and the most suc­cessful ways to market them.

Goldman didn’t think the small talk work­shop would draw a large turnout, “but boy was I wrong,” she said. “We prob­ably should’ve booked a bigger room.” That suc­cess will guide future iter­a­tions of the program.

Northeastern’s century-​​old co-​​op pro­gram has helped build a bond between employers and the uni­ver­sity. Career Ser­vices works hard to nur­ture that rela­tion­ship, a topic of dis­cus­sion among a panel of recruiters from TJX Com­pa­nies, Philips, the Peace Corps, and EMC Corporation.

“We’re for­tu­nate that we have a very strong employer net­work,” Stein said. “If you say North­eastern, employers know what that brings to the table, and that’s a very valu­able resource for us.”