Freshmen at Fordham University may feel like they have enough on their plates with transitioning into adult life to even begin to think about careers.
But counselors at Fordham’s Career Services say it’s never too early to start exploring and taking advantage of the career-related resources on campus.
Their advice can be summed up in a few short words: get involved, stay open, have fun, and be curious.
“Awareness is one of the most important things for students to begin to understand,” said Tamara Nisanov, assistant director of employer relations.
Career Services directs students to start their journey of exploration with the Fordham Futures program, a career planning and professional development program.
Fordham Futures embraces the values of a Jesuit liberal arts education, encouraging students to “embrace the world with a restless curiosity in their everyday life, always with an understanding of the importance that experiences play in the life of the heart and mind.”
Career Services offers tools like the online TypeFocus assessment to help students discover careers that may be a good fit for their personalities.
Freshmen and sophomores are encouraged to attend workshops offered by Career Services—”World of Work” and “Resume and Cover Letter.” Once students have taken both workshops, they are given access to Fordham’s online career board, called CareerLink.
One-on-one counseling sessions with Career Services are also available to students of all levels. Nisanov said she encourages students to start simply by talking about subjects and hobbies that interest them.
“I encourage students not to close out the possibilities. Often, students have a dream job, but limit themselves because they don’t think it’s attainable,” Nisanov said.
“Maybe the full dream is attained 10 years later, maybe sooner. Either way, entertain that dream, and begin to talk about it,” she said. “Maybe you can make that into a career.”
Nisanov said student groups and clubs can be great ways to explore interests and gain experience.
“Go visit a club, whether it’s for your degree, like accounting or finance, or it’s something like Global Outreach, helping others. Be curious about what you’re really passionate about,” Nisanov said.
Rising sophomore Brittany Tobin, GSB ’15, knew she wanted to major in accounting early on in her freshman year. She said Career Services helped her gain a professional perspective and land a summer internship.
Tobin said the Career Services workshops she attended, as well as the one-on-one help she received with her resume, helped prepare her for the realities of starting to think about work.
“Freshman year is a transition to having a professional life: cleaning up your Facebook a little bit, creating a LinkedIn page, and starting your professional life. Career Services helps you think about things like that,” she said.
Through help from Career Services to access the alumni directory, Tobin secured a summer internship at an accounting firm near her home in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Tobin said career counseling helped her transition from a “nervous freshman” to an enthusiastic advocate.
“My career counselor just wanted to find out about me, who I was, where I was coming from. It felt very individualized,” Tobin said.
“I forced some of my friends who were struggling about what major to pursue to go to Career Services, and they were able to help,” she said.
Tobin said she has taken on a student leadership role as the head of programming for the Fordham Career Ambassadors next year. Her mission? To help other students discover as much as she has about the resources she has at her fingertips.
“I did not realize how competitive the job market is, but I also realize that the tools are right in front of me. I’m at a great college, and if I use the tools correctly, I’ll be able to land the job that I want to get,” she said.
by Jennifer Spencer