Placement center aids job search

By Sean Noble

NIU’s Career Planning and Placement Center helps students realize what is, for most, their number one reason for attending college—that first job after graduation.

Center director Gary Scott said ACT data on new college freshmen across the country show that getting a job is their main reason for attending college.

“Most students go to school to get jobs. Students have expectations that the university will better them for this goal, and we (the center) try to help them reach those expectations,” Scott said.

Searching for a job is a “full-time job in itself,” he said. The main aim of the center is to make students more competitive in their searches.

Scott said individual counseling by the center gave direction in job-seeking to 4,200 students last year. “Counseling can aid those who are unsure of what to do after graduation, or give more personalized help such as with resume writing,” he said.

The on-campus interview program will bring “upwards of 500 employers to NIU this year, granting students 9,000 to 10,000 interviews,” Scott said.

Scott said employers increasingly are seeking graduates from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Employers are starting to think these students have a better overall background and aren’t as specialized,” he said.

however, he said, “It’s strictly a supply/demand situation.”

Students planning to interview through the center’s on-campus program first must attend its Campus Interviewing Orientation Workshop for registration. Scott said, “This is a preparation workshop and gives a general overview of the interview process itself.”

Scott said the center’s job bulletin board lists available jobs. Students can submit their resumes to the center. He said the center sends the resumes to firms, and employers notify the center of students they would like to interview.

The center’s front counter in Swen Parson Hall also helps many students with its resume-critiquing service, he said.

Students can bring resume drafts to this counter where a professional will give it an objective evaluation. About 6,400 contacts were made at the counter last year.

He added the center’s library aids students in majors not heavily sought by employers. “Our library helps students identify firms to which they should apply. We have a lot of literature, such as annual reports, for pre-interview research,” he said.

The Job Location and Development Program puts students in touch with employers offering jobs off campus during school breaks, Scott said.

Other job search workshops and programs are available through the center for student organizations, Scott said. “These programs take up the biggest part of our time and are the backbone of our services.”