Finding a job or internship can be challenging under the best of conditions. Throw in a global pandemic that has turned job markets upside down, and it may seem downright impossible.
While the Texas Southern University Career & Professional Development Center can’t control all the different variables, it is making a difference – one student at a time – in lives of career-minded Tigers.
When the university transitioned to online learning due to COVID-19, the Career and Professional Development Center followed suit and moved to a virtual service environment. With TSU students scattered across not just Houston, but the state, nation and internationally, they still have the capability to schedule appointments online for resume revisions, mock interviews, as well as other career-related needs. They still have access to the same services offered in-person.
“We’re here to reassure students that just because most work is moving online, it doesn’t mean they need to stop planning internships, engaging with potential employers, and applying for jobs,” said Andreaus Boise, director of the TSU Career & Professional Development Center.
Open to all students, as well as TSU alumni, the Career & Professional Development Center provides career development services that help students apply their education and experiences toward advancing their career goals over a lifetime. Staff members help students develop skills and interests, and articulate them via résumés, cover letters, interviews, and personal statements. They also help students and alumni identify and explore career options and implement an effective strategy to pursue their desired career.
Life in a Virtual Career Center
Every week the center offers virtual employer information sessions for students via the Handshake platform. Handshake is a one-stop shop & world-class career development platform, where students can schedule an appointment with a Career Ambassador, search for jobs and internships and provides access to great career resources. Career Ambassadors are current TSU students who help with major and grad school exploration, career assessments, resume reviews, mock interviews, and more.
Since they have moved online, the Center has reached students via virtual appointments, employer information sessions and other career-related events. Additional services provided are mock interviews, virtual career fairs, job search strategies, networking strategies, salary negotiations and more. They have also increased their social media engagement. The Career Center offers engaging tactics for students such as “Career Center Bingo,” “Professional Attire Tik-Tok Challenges,” as well as encouraging videos from Boise–Fontenot, other staff members, and the Career Ambassadors.
Graduating senior and Student Government Association President Marcus Nash reached out to the Career Center and they helped him build his resume and assisted in helping him create a Handshake account so that he could look for jobs.
“My experience with the Career Center has been great and above expectation every time,” said Nash. “I just want to thank the Career Center for helping me land a full-time job offer with a Fortune 500 Company. I’m beyond grateful for their support and the motivation they provide to students.”
Weekly, the Center hosts virtual employer information sessions so students can remain connected to employers and job opportunities. In its “Hot Jobs of the Week” social media campaign, they send out job postings to students across all majors so that they can remain active in their job and internship search.
“COVID-19 has pushed the Career Center to think outside the box and become more creative in our approach,” said Melissa Knight, Career Services coordinator. “We are even more excited that our Career Ambassadors are more than willing to assist their student body during this time.”
Students can contact the office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If they would like to set an appointment, they can do so utilizing our Handshake platform.
Partnerships and Virtual Career Assistance Across Campus
The Jesse H. Jones School of Business also offers career services catered to its students. As a requirement of AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and as a best practice of business schools, these services are provided for business community partners. The primary focus is to provide career professional development and preparedness for co-ops/internships among the business partnerships developed through the JHJ Business Advisory Council, alumni and other JHJ School partners that want to specifically target business majors.
“We have a true collaborative working relationship with the University Career Services Department and we partner on several events throughout the year,” said Muriel Funches, executive director for the Jesse H. Jones School of Business. “Working hand in hand we deliver a JHJ Career Week, a Career Fair and present numerous information sessions during the year that might have a singular focus on business or combined with TSU’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology.”
The JHJ Career Center has continued to offer services to students virtually during COVID-19 pandemic with information sessions from employers, resume reviews and mock interviews.