By Katie Cannon ′15
Josh Jerles ′15, Sandi George Tracy, Daniel Vanaman, and Megan Singer ′16 pose with Ichabod Lynx, the department′s mascot.
If college is an investment in your future, Career Services is your hot-shot financial advisor, giving you the tools and tips you need to maximize your potential in real world. Many students in their first year or two of college have no idea what they want to do, what they’re good at, or what they want to major in. But never fear, no matter where you stand in your future-planning endeavors, Career Services is here to help. Whatever your field of interest—despite the monetary metaphor, Career Services is in no way reserved for business majors—the counselors down on the first floor of Burrow can help you begin forging the career path of your dreams. “We’re really about the business of joining the students’ passions with their professions, and figuring out avenues to make that happen,” says Beverly Pfluger, co-assistant director of Career Services.
Any student can make an appointment with a Career Services counselor, at any time. Whether you want to work on a resume, start looking for summer opportunities, or get advice on applying to grad school, making an appointment with Career Services is the place to start. Their webpage is also brimming with job, internship, and grad school resources for the career-curious student.
Career Services first recommends that students start thinking about where their professional interests lie. Since many students begin their college career firmly under the “undecided” umbrella major, the department offers programs aimed specifically at first-years. Career Tracks, held in the second semester of the first year, gives assessment-based analysis of a student’s personality and strengths and how those might translate into career paths. “It’s also a great place to start in seeing where they might be interested in searching for their majors,” says Pfluger. After the initial personality assessments, Career Services connects students with professors and employers to discuss potential options. Throughout the process, one-on-one sessions with the career counselors ensure that students receive individualized support on resumes, professional etiquette, and on campus opportunities like honor societies and student elections.
For second-years, Career Services offers the Sophomore Career Series, a free five-to-six-week series that runs the gamut of professional preparation from resume building and mock interviews to a career fair, and a shadow day. Strength-finder tests help students figure out what they’re good at, helping “determine what those transferrable skills look like when you’re taking that into an interview or talking to future employers,” says Pfluger. For international studies major Clayton Getchell ’16, working with Career Services helped him land an internship with FedEx, a job that will equip him with great experience in his field. “I had heard great things about Career Services from seniors, so I figured I would contact them to get help with my resume before applying for my prospective internship,” says Clayton. “Working with Career Services as a first and second year student provides students with the valuable time to cultivate the skills and opportunities that will help them achieve their goals in and out of college.”
That’s not to say it’s too late for older students: upperclassmen are the specialty of co-assistant director Daniel Vanaman. Career Services constantly connects juniors and seniors to networking and job opportunities and holds workshops on things like personal branding and LinkedIn. They can also help you correct some of those inevitable freshman year blunders; so maybe you floated by with nary an extracurricular activity, or maybe you were a little overenthused and sacrificed your GPA for a truckload of leadership and organizations. Either way, the counselors can show what to prioritize for future success. Finally, those brashly-titled “Get a Life” emails Career Services sends out give students crucial information about job and internship postings as well as on-campus events.
Even Christmas break can be a fruitful time for professional development, according to director of Career Services Sandi George Tracy. With “externships” during the weeks before school starts in January, students can connect with alumni in their area, either by shadowing them or simply chatting over coffee. Whether or not an alum is working in your field of interest, externships can lead to mentorships, introductions, and even summer internships. “It’s a great networking opportunity,” says Tracy. “You’re in your hometown, you don’t have as many responsibilities. We’re trying to help students have some down time but also be productive.”
Career panels, held for different majors throughout the school year, are also an invaluable resource for students. Both Rhodes alums and other Memphis professionals show students an array of possibilities for their future careers, paths they may not have been aware of. This reporter actually found her own internship through chatting with one of the speakers after a panel for English majors. “A lot of these people are Rhodes alums that stayed here in the community and they love coming back and talking to students and love making those connections,” says Tracy. “Anyone who walks out of the room comes away with a little bit of information, but anyone who has the courage to step forward and shake hands takes away a lot more than information.”
That’s the kind of courage that working with Career Services can give—the confidence of knowing you have the skills to succeed in the working world. So what are you waiting for? Type up that resume and make an appointment. The real world might not be so bad.
Students learn professional dinner etiquette at a Career Services event.