The academic advising center and career services department at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse offers a large variety of services, assistance, and advising for students, yet most students underutilize the different options career services has to help them.
“The earlier a student comes to our office, the more helpful we can be to help you be better prepared for when you graduate,” said the Assistant Director of academic advising and career services Karolyn Bald, “Many students came to UWL to prepare for a god job after graduation, so why wait to the end to get the help to be the best candidate?”
Bald went on to discuss the main functions of the department, “UWL academic advising center and career services is here to help students towards their career goals including exploring career options, gaining relevant work experience including internships, assisting in the exploration and application of graduate and professional school programs as well as preparing for the job search. Along the way, we assist with resumes, cover letters, personal statements, and interview preparation.”
“Our office has four career advisors who advise students based on their major and career field,” said Bald. “So they get to know you as students, learn about your academic programs and then the employers that recruit you.”
Additionally, the academic advising center and career services center houses peer advisors to help students get started on their career path. “It’s easier to come in for us because we’re not always booked, and we help with major and minor career exploration, the beginning parts of it,” said peer advisor or Abby Harrington. “We help students to not feel so lost. We start that conversation about figuring out what the student wants to do, then refer them to an academic advisor.”
Peer advisors are available to help students with WINGS, Handshake, and confusing academic procedures, such as changing a major or minor. They also can take headshots to use for professional pictures.
“The career services office is basically a combination of career services and academic advising,” said Harrington. “The academic advising portion helps a lot with students who need academic advisors. It’s a lot of first year students who come in undeclared, and we have advisors to help them figure out what they’re doing and a little bit about what we have to offer here [at UWL].”
Harrington also stressed that any student is welcome to utilize academic advising resources. “If you already have an advisor somewhere else, that doesn’t mean you can’t come in and visit with a career advisor and have a conversation.”
The career services website also provides a lot of resources for students, including sample resumes, job search tips, and links to websites to help you find a job. The website also tells students who their career advisors are, local job listings, and teaches students how to negotiate a salary or how to network.
Another valuable resource provided by career services is Handshake, which all students have access to. Bald said, “Handshake is a great tool to explore internships, part-time and full-time jobs, plus you can schedule an appointment with an academic and career advisor in it. UWL students have access to 400,000+ employer profiles with many of them posting jobs from around the world.”
“It looks like Facebook but operates a bit like LinkedIn, so employers can view your resume, profile, work experience and more,” said Bald. “It also allows students to customize their job and internship search. The more you use it, the better your results are in terms of jobs matching your interests, skills and abilities.”
Overall, the career services and academic advising department provides students with all the resources they need to start their job search or graduate school plans.
“Many reports have found that students who visit academic advising and career services office are more likely to be employed on a full-time basis and/or find a more meaningful opportunity,” said Bald.