Career services offers new plans, tools to help students succeed

Graphic by Valerie De La O.

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The Dixie State University Career Services team has implemented new resources to help prepare students for their next big step after college.

A new four-year plan and the Career Lab are services that have put in place this fall for all DSU students.  The Career Center is located on the fifth floor of the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons building.

The first new resource the career center is providing to DSU students is a new four-year plan. Unlike the four-year plan provided on the DSU website that shows students what classes they need to take for their major, this plan implements social and personal goals as well. Each year is broken down into a specific category.

Freshman year is called “Imagine,” which encourages students to get involved on campus, attend school activities and events, and meet other students to begin building their own network.  Sophomore year is “Investigate” where students should participate in volunteer opportunities on campus and within the community and continue to get involved in DSU clubs and organizations. Junior year is the “Interact” year; this is when students should focus on joining a local professional organization, take on leadership roles, and practice stress and time management to maintain a healthy social and school life balance. Senior year is the year to “Implement”; this is when students should join national and state professional organizations, learn about the DSU Alumni Association, mentor other students, and continue their campus involvement.

“We’re a resource, but the work has to come from them,” said Blatter. “The more they put into their resume, the better resume they’re going to have. The same goes for an internship, a job search or career exploration. We try to provide as many resources, but the students will get much more from it if they put in more effort.”

Another new service is the Career Lab which allows students to do drop-in visits Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Holland Centennial Commons building to get help from the student career mentors. The career mentors have been trained to help students with their Handshake profiles, making a basic resume, and help with using Focus2Career which is a career guidance tool that is free to all students. This tool helps students select their major, establish career goals, and provide them with valuable occupational information. If a student feels like they need more help or resources, they can meet with a career coach.

Blatter said that every DSU student automatically has a Handshake account. On-campus and off-campus jobs are posted on this social network, including work-study jobs. Although Handshake is targeted for students, their account remains available to them for five semesters after they graduate.

“If a student wants a job, then Handshake is the best place for them to start,” Blatter said.

In addition to the lab, Career Services is also hosting monthly seminars in the Zion Room in the Holland from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. The next seminar will be Oct. 18 and is a “Resume Boot Camp.” The following seminar will be on Nov. 8 and is on “Power Skills to Get You Hired.”

Another resource that has been revamped this fall is the one credit Career Workshop class (SSC 1200) that is all about career exploration. This is a class students could take if they’re confused with their major and strengths and need guidance in finding what career would be right for them. In this class, students take the “Strengthsfinder” assessment which is all about their personality, strengths and what they really bring to the table. Students then take the “Strong Interest Inventory” assessment which is more occupation-based and assesses what occupation is going to work best with their personality and skills. Additionally, students will do job information interviews as well as job shadowing while in this class.

Ali Threet, director of career services, said their goal is not just for students to get a job after they graduate, but for them to get a job that they choose and a career path that they want to be in.

“We feel like the academic and career plan that we put forth helps them accomplish that,” said Threet. “It helps them take the necessary steps, do the exploration, and also network with the right people.”

Threet said all of the universities and colleges in Utah work closely together to share resources, best practices, help each other and discuss concerns on each of their campuses.

“A lot of these initiatives that we are setting forth right now are things that some of the other universities and colleges did have in place, simply because they’ve been universities longer,” said Threet.

The Career Lab, for example, is something some universities in Utah have, but not all of them. DSU is also doing completely new things on their own.

“We were the first one in the state to push Handshake and to get that platform going with our students,” Threet said. “It’s given us access for our students to be in connection with so many different businesses and different companies that they never would have had access to before. Now everyone in the state has moved over to Handshake and we were the first ones to do that. We just want to help students and hopefully see more and more in our office.”

Alexis Langer, sophomore pre-radiology major from Herriman, said: “I met with Ali because I wanted to know more career options for me. They gave me the information I needed and provided backup plans for me. I feel like everyone should use the career center because it shows you the bigger picture.”