Career Services gets mixed reviews

Jill Brower

With more than a quarter of the academic year over, seniors are buckling down to secure a foothold in their futures – be it graduate school, full-time employment or service work. The University’s Career Services Office provides resources for students in order to assist in this process. One employer, however, found the Office’s services less than par.

University alumna and veteran corporate recruiter, Lynn Radice, was disappointed after her attempts to hire graduating students through Career Services. “I was looking into hiring three or four people last year,” she said. “I was very frustrated because it was an arduous process and the submissions were received too late.”

Radice also questioned the Career Services Office, as well as individual deans of colleges, as to why they could not provide her with the resumes of the top students in each college.

“It’s not our policy to send ‘the best,'” according to Nancy Dudak, director of Career Services, “because we want to give everyone a fair shot. I don’t feel that I’m in the position to know who is ‘the best.'”

Despite the fact that Career Services rectified Radice’s problems quickly, she suspects that “there are probably other companies that are having this problem too.”

Lisa Smith, human resources college coordinator for the Vanguard Group, had a different perspective. Vanguard, an investment services provider, hires University students for a variety of positions, some of which accept resumes from any major.

Smith found the University’s e-Recruiting system, Experience, easy to use. “I prefer the online Experience over some other programs colleges use because it’s easy to work with,” she said. “We always have a lot of success.”

Despite their differences in opinion on the Career Services process, both recruiters agree on why they choose to recruit at the University.

“We’ve always had great success with Villanova students,” Smith said. “They possess a lot of the qualities and skills we’re looking for. They have great communication skills and are a great cultural fit for our unique culture at Vanguard.”

For Radice, however, this led to even greater frustration because, as an alumna, she was aware of the University’s “excellent engineering department” and was disappointed that she was unable to hire Villanova students, whom she first sought out.

“I’m a recruiter who went to Villanova,” she said. “What better resource is there? There’s got to be a better way because I’m doing as much as I can from my side.”

Students have mixed reactions on Career Services, often depending upon their major and jobs available. Dudak notes that students need to understand the differences between fields. “The challenge for us is to get students to understand the nature of the industry,” she said.

John Pietrangelo, a senior in the College of Commerce and Finance, landed a job with KPMG after an internship with the company. He credits Career Services with aiding in this process.

“Career Services is helpful in getting the company here and then setting up events to get students to actually network with professionals within that firm,” he said. “You get a better sense of the firm and are comfortable when you go on an interview.”

Jessica Smith, a senior math and economics major, had a similar experience within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She has attended a number of interviews through Career Services and has also taken advantage of information sessions offered, in addition to the fall career fair.

“They’re very helpful whenever I go there with a question, no matter how simple or complex the question may be,” she said, adding, “The website works very well and is frequently updated.”

However, Smith said, “If you’re not a business major or don’t have the majors I have in liberal arts, then Career Services may not really help all that much in your job search.”

Kate Strand, a senior sociology major, notes discrepancies between services offered to C & F students compared to liberal arts students. “My friends in the business school have interviews on a daily basis,” she said.

“Some of them even have jobs lined up for next year. It would be great if Career Services had some other companies who were looking for English, sociology or political science majors to come in and give interviews.”

Dudak notes that although “we do business with some employers more than others … there are no special privileges.”

The Career Services Office is, however, “diversifying the events we offer to bring more diverse employers” in an effort to provide job possibilities that extend to all majors, Dudak said.

So far this semester, Career Services has held a number of events, including a Career Fair and graduate school information sessions. They are also promoting a Volunteer Fair, sponsored by Campus Ministry, that will take place on Tuesday.

Radice recognizes that students are an important part of the equation as well. “Students [must] take an active role in what companies are posted and if their resume was submitted,” she said. “[They should] be on top of every position. The students need to take charge of this program.”

Pietrangelo stressed this as well. “The weight of the burden is on the student to actually do the research on the company and the industry,” he said. “They can’t hold your hand.”