Most college campuses, and really all college campuses SHOULD, have a career services office. However, did you know that SUNY Oswego’s Career Services at The Compass is award-winning? Last year, in 2017, the office won 3 out of 5 statewide awards from the SUNY Career Development Conference. That means that out literally all 64 SUNY schools, Oswego’s Career Services office has the majority of recognition for its excellence in innovation, student engagement and programs.
Disclaimer: I work for Career Services. I am a undergraduate intern as a Navigator. But I feel like that makes me okay to say all these wonderful things about Career Services. I know its professionals and divisions pretty well and I have seen what it offers to students and faculty. Career Services is a part of the Compass which holds many different offices that are there for the students.
So what makes SUNY Oswego’s Career Services special? Follow my list below.
1. You can always reach out to the office for help.
It doesn’t matter if you are an undergraduate student or 15 years out of school, Career Services will be happy to help you. One of my side jobs is to cold-call survey questions for post-graduates (I’m not calling to ask you for money, I swear!) through the Compass to gather statistics. A very common question I get is “is there someone I can talk to about a career change/I want to go back to school but I’m not sure what I want to major in, is there someone I can talk to” and of course there is! It is super easy to go to the CS homepage and look up your Career Coach and send a quick email about help. Also, as a Navigator, I help alumni more often than expected with job searches and adding to their resume. No matter how long ago you left Oswego, Oswego never leaves you.
2. Pizza With a Pro.
A really cool service that CS offers is Pizza With a Pro. What this means is that essentially alumni from all different career fields. and majors come and talk to students over pizza provided by the office. So yes, free pizza! Also this is a really great networking tool, and a way to ask questions about industries you are interested in. These lunches happen almost weekly and can be found on the CS home page under the calendar. In one PWAP I helped with, a wonderful woman came in and shared her experience working with a non-profit organization. A huge misconception about non-profit is that the people working for them don’t make any money, but that is simply far from the truth! And, if you don’t see any professionals that meet your needs, if you chat with a Career Coach or Navigator, there is a high possibility they could reach out to an alumni that better suits your needs.
3. The Resource Center.
This is where I work for roughly 10 hours a week. The RC is a walk-in office that helps students with resumes, cover letters, job/internship search, major exploration, graduate school search and much more. We have an exponential amount of resources (get it?) that we use to help dozens of students every day. If you’ve never written a resume before and have no clue what goes on it, that’s fine! Come see us! Cover letter? What the heck is that? Come see us!! I don’t know what I can do with my major? COME SEE US!!! WE HAVE A WEB PAGE OF ALL OSWEGO MAJORS AND WHAT ALUMNI ARE DOING WITH THEIR DEGREES. I wish I had known about all this years ago because the sooner you get on the ball for internships and resume critiques, you might have an easier time finding a job/path for after graduation.
As a side note, and I’m not trying to suck up to this office, but this opportunity was one of the best things to happen to me. I learned so much about myself, my strengths, what I want my future to be, what I want out of my education, and that my English degree won’t be worthless!
4. The online resources.
The first thing I ask students when they ask for help with a resume I say, hey - do you have an Optimal Resume account? And they’re usually like, Optimus Prime say what? To give you an example of how great this resume building tool that CS pays for every year (it ain’t cheap, and yes alumni can use it too! FOREVER!): have you ever tried to format something on Word or Google Docs and just fought with it forever before giving up and taking a stress nap? The dates wouldn’t line up the right way or the bullet points were all different sizes? Optimal Resume doesn’t do that when it exports; the program formats everything for you and lets you re-organize without everything suddenly justified right and the floor starts shaking and water glasses are flying everywhere and there are sirens in the distance. It’s great, you should use it, and tell your friends to use it. The other online resources, specifically the ones that are self-assessments, are incredible. There is one called StrengthsQuest which tells you your 5 top strengths. Mine are: Adaptability, Restorative, Positivity, Individualization and Developer. This pretty much means I’m an optimistic, flexible problem solver that thrives when helping people and focusing on uniqueness of myself and others! Sounds good, right? You know when else this sounds good? At a job interview. A very common question is use three words to describe yourself and SQ gives you 5 to choose from. It’s also really cool to see what you excel in and what makes you, you. We have a bunch of other assessments that help with career, major and personality exploration but to find out about those you should come see a Nav at the Resource Center ;).
5. The Pro Staff.
Obviously, I am a student worker. Sometimes I can help as much as possible but some students are still unsure what their next steps should be and in this case, along with multiple other situations, that’s where the pro staff comes in. We have 3 Career Coaches that specialize in STEM, Business, Education, Undeclared, Human Development and all other majors! We have an office that helps coordinate with freshman and their first year experience, which is separate from the office that helps students with undeclared majors. We have an office for community service opportunities. We have an office that specializes in internship outreach. There is a lot that goes into the Compass and Career Services. All of the staff are helpful and inspirational. They have a ton of experience and knowledge with their doors open (with an appointment, they’re busy!). They are good people that help students and faculty all day long while winning awards left and right. If you have a question, they will help you as much as they can to find the answer. This sounds like I’m talking them up but remember, I work in the office 4 times a week. I see what goes on, and it’s pretty good stuff.