To aid students in their career planning, the Career Studio initiative that started in September at Western Kentucky University has gained traction.
Modeled after a program at the University of Nevada, Reno, the Career Studio allows students and alumni to talk with staff members or work on applications for jobs and internships, according to Becky Tinker, associate director of the Advising and Career Development Center at WKU.
“Students can talk with a staff member about career issues or get feedback and assistance with resumes, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles,” Tinker said. “The Career Studio is staffed by trained peer career coaches and professional staff members. The goal is to help students with career issues from the first year through their first job.”
Tinker said that as the fall semester progressed, more students started using the Career Studio.
“Many students came in for help with the graduate school application process,” she said. “Students are coming in looking for jobs and internships.”
Tinker said job, internship and graduate school searches are “often an isolating task.” However, The Career Studio “gives students a place to work on such tasks in a room where others are working on similar tasks. It also gives students immediate access to a staff member who can answer questions as they occur.”
Other services and training offered by the studio involve salary negotiation, job search and networking strategy, career fair prep, personal statements, interviewing and academic major and career exploration.
The Career Studio offers a more streamlined experience than WKU’s previous effort, Tinker said.
“WKU has offered a career drop-in service to students since spring 2011,” Tinker said. “This service used trained peer career coaches to help students with basic career assistance including job and internship searches and resume and cover letter critiques. The service was used by many students, but it was one student at a time and the appointments were 10 minutes long.”
Kaeyane Martinez, a junior biology major at WKU, has been working in the studio since it opened.
“I look at student resumes, cover letters and resumes and cover letters and resumes of some alumni as well,” she said. “I handle internship applications, just filing and making sure they go in the right place and explaining to students what they are supposed to fill out on their end and what their internship coordinator is supposed to fill out, and I also help with finding jobs and internships.”
Kyah Stewart, a junior marketing major at WKU, also works with the studio. Stewart talked about Handshake, an app used by the studio that is similar to job-hunting services such as Indeed or LinkedIn.
“It is a great tool to find jobs,” Stewart said. “It is a recruiting portal that companies will have their job postings on. It is tailored to students and you’re less likely to have scams and things like that.”
Stewart said it is important for students to utilize the service even when they are a freshman, but especially in their final years of college.
“Recruiters on Handshake are looking for graduates and students who are maybe in their senior year about to graduate,” she said.