CaPS provides career preparation advice

How students of all years can use Butler’s Office of Career and Professional Success. Photo courtesy of butler.edu.

ALLISON MCELROY | STAFF REPORTER | aamcelroy@butler.edu 

As Butler nears the end of the fall 2021 semester, many students may be thinking about what lies ahead and what goals they want to accomplish in their second semester. Often, these goals include preparing for their future after college. However, it can be confusing to know where to start with this planning.

Luckily, Butler’s Office of Career and Professional Success, CaPS, is here to help. CaPS provides career services post-graduation and is open to any current Butler student or alumni. They provide assistance with anything career related, including deciding on a major and figuring out what to do with that major, searching for jobs and internships, networking, interview skills, resume-building and more. 

Senior director of CaPS, Gary Beaulieu, explained the overall timeline of what students in each year should be doing to prepare for their future. 

First-Year Students 

Beaulieu said the focus for first-year students should be exploration. This is a good time to explore the career options they may want to pursue relating to their major and interests. He explained that professors are a great source for first-years to talk about career options. 

Additionally, an important step to take as a first-year student is getting started on building a resume, which students will continue to update throughout their college career. Advisors at CaPS can assist students with resume-building.

Junior creative media entertainment major Megan Thiemet has taken advantage of this resource. She visited the CaPS office last spring for assistance on her resume and cover letter before applying for an internship.

“I had never made a resume or cover letter before, so I had absolutely no clue what to put on there … I didn’t know how to format it,” Thiemet said. “So they … kind of worked through it and talked with me … they helped me a lot [to] kind of figure out what I was supposed to put down.”

In addition to working on resumes, Beaulieu also suggests that first-year students get involved on campus in different clubs and organizations, since this “helps students really understand where their interests lie, and what really makes them tick.” Getting an on-campus job is also helpful in developing skills that are needed in the workplace and starting to build a network. Finally, Beaulieu recommends that first-year students visit the CaPS office, where they can create a personal plan for how to move forward on their preparation for the future.

Sophomores 

Beaulieu said that sophomore year is the time where students should start thinking about internships. To do this, he recommends starting to make connections with alumni through CaPS’ Bulldogs Connect system. Beaulieu explained that staying active on LinkedIn is another easy way to connect to Butler alumni, who he says are “always willing to help.” He recommends that all students have a LinkedIn profile listing their experiences and involvement by sophomore year at the latest, and continue to update it throughout college.

As far as internships, there are lots of different options available that students can learn more about by talking to their major’s CaPS advisor. The Engaged Learning Center even offers internship opportunities in Washington D.C. and New York City, and plans to offer more geographic locations as soon as next semester, according to Beaulieu.

Sophomores should also attend career fairs in order to begin understanding their possibilities for the future and start connecting with employers. The CaPs office hosts three to four career fairs each year on campus, and also partners with organizations off-campus for four additional fairs.

Junior marketing major Ben Hutchinson explained that he began attending career fairs as a first-year, and has now attended around eight or nine, both in-person and over Zoom. Hutchinson said he has found the fairs helpful for finding internships and building relationships with potential future employers, and he plans to attend the fairs in the future while looking for a job.

“I learned what employers are looking for … usually you’re trying to get to know the organization,” Hutchinson said. “So you’ll definitely learn about what businesses are looking for, what businesses are like, what type of job they’re offering and what that job is like … it’s very useful in that way, I would say.”

Additionally, sophomore year is a good time to work on interview skills, which students can do through practice interviews offered by the CaPS office.

In the second semester of sophomore year, Beaulieu suggests that students begin looking for summer opportunities, like internships, part-time jobs, and research and volunteering experiences. He noted that some majors begin interviewing for these types of opportunities in the fall semester, so students should check with CaPS to determine the best time for them to look into these options.

Juniors 

Beaulieu explained that if students have participated in an internship or other opportunities during the summer, they should start by updating their resume to showcase these experiences and skills to potential employers. During the fall semester, he recommends that juniors focus on making connections through networking opportunities and continuing to look into and apply for internships, participate in research and volunteer opportunities. By doing this preparation in the fall, students will hopefully have an opportunity lined up for the following spring or summer. 

Networking may sound intimidating, but Beaulieu explained that there are many ways that students can make these connections. Besides the aforementioned career fairs, Bulldogs Connect program and use of LinkedIn, Beaulieu said that another easy way to network is talking to professors, since they often know people in the industry a student plans to work in.

“You never know when [professors] have a connection that you could make,” Beaulieu said.

Additionally, Beaulieu the CaPS office can provide students with many different people they can connect with.

“Come and see us because we have lots and lots of connections that we can help students make in all types of industries and all different geographic locations,” Beaulieu said. “We work with alumni all over the U.S. and all over the world, so we can help them connect.”

For students planning to attend graduate school, junior year is also the time to begin looking at what graduate schools they are interested in and discuss this with their advisor and professors.

Seniors

Beaulieu said it is crucial to continue networking and taking advantage of any opportunities to connect with employers. In terms of searching for a full-time job, he suggests seniors start early and remain prepared throughout the process. 

“Keep your resume updated,” Beaulieu said. “Keep it ready to go at any moment. You never know when a job is going to come open that is really of interest to you.” 

Beaulieu also recommends learning about salary negotiation, given the current job market in which employers are struggling to fill positions.

Finally, he explained that it is important for students to learn about their personal finances and how to budget. The CaPS office offers a personal finance workshop to assist with developing these skills. 

General Advice

Trying to find an internship or a job may sound daunting to some students. However, Beaulieu explained that currently, the internship market is good. Still, students should begin applying for these opportunities early. He also noted that fortunately for soon-to-be graduating students, the job market has rebounded after the damage of the pandemic and is also doing very well.

Looking towards the future after Butler can be scary, but hopefully, this advice and the support available at any time from the CaPS office will give students the tools to prepare for wherever their time after college takes them. 

 

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