Employers seek Arts and Letters talent at “What’s Next?” Week

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What's Next? Week

“What’s Next?” That thought lurks in the back of every undergraduate mind as the years at Notre Dame fly by. To help students in the University of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters explore the many and disparate ways they can answer that question, the Career Center will host its annual What’s Next?" Week Sept. 26 to 29 (Monday to Thursday).

The event, designed just for students in the College, provides information about internship, career and service opportunities available both before and after graduation.

Regardless of major or area of study, says Rosemary Kopec, the Career Center’s associate director for early career outreach, “there’s something for everyone.”

“What’s Next?” Week kicks off on Sept. 26 (Monday) with a workshop on how to land a summer internship and capitalize on funding available for a broad range of summer experiences.

The next event, on Sept. 27 (Tuesday), features information about graduate school, including how to design a powerful graduate school application, what students can expect in post-graduate education, and the factors to consider when selecting which graduate school is the right choice.

The third event in the week is a post-graduate service fair on Sept. 28 (Wednesday). Hosted by the Center for Social Concerns, this event is open to all majors.

“What’s Next?” Week concludes on Sept. 29 (Thursday), with a networking event to help students who are looking for internships or jobs. The Career Center has invited representatives from almost two dozen employers, Kopec says.

“We target companies that want to hire Arts and Letters students,” she says, including businesses as such as Groupon, Google, Abercrombie & Fitch, Target, JP Morgan, Coca-Cola, Leo Burnett, E.&J. Gallo Winery, and the U.S. Department of Justice. “It’s a great way to find out about companies that are Arts and Letters friendly.”

As an example, she points to media communications company Starcom, which asked to be re-invited this year after seeing the talent at Notre Dame last fall. Epic, a Washington, D.C.-based research center, is another example, she says.

“They really like Arts and Letters students, and they’ve been hiring them in droves.”

Employers say they value Notre Dame’s liberal arts students for their versatility and excellent communication, analytical and writing skills, Kopec says.

“And they keep coming back,” she adds. “They keep calling us—which is really encouraging in this economic climate.”

In addition to connecting students with potential employers, Kopec says one of her goals is to raise awareness about all the resources available to undergraduates. Starting in their first year, students are encouraged to explore not only the wide variety of majors the University offers but special opportunities such as study abroad, service projects, research grants and internships.

“Being successful means coming in early and doing a self-assessment,” Kopec says. “It means figuring out what you like or don’t like, and mapping out your four years so you have a plan.”

One of the key resources the University offers students is the Career Center itself. “Hopefully they will learn more about the Career Center,” she says, “that we’re here to help them if they’re confused or need help writing a resume or cover letter.”

In fact, Kopec recommends that students attending the 2011 “What’s Next?” Week events update their resumes and research participating companies ahead of time. Students should also prepare a brief statement about their skills and how they could benefit a future employer, as well as a list of any questions they would like answered.

But most importantly, she says, students should reflect on their talents, values and interests. “Figure out where you feel passionate.”

Chances are, there will be an opportunity at “What’s Next?” Week to pursue those passions.

Originally published by Eileen Lynch at al.nd.edu on September 20, 2011.