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Career Development

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Career Development Center do?

The Center provides services, programs, and resources which facilitate the lifelong career development process and assist students and alumni with implementing and securing satisfying careers. We meet with students during individual appointments as well as group workshops and seminars.  The Center offers job postings, resume writing and interview preparation assistance, career fairs, and on-campus recruiting opportunities.

Whom does the Career Development Center assist?

We work with all current Claflin University students in any major or classification. We also assist alumni and employers.

Do I need an appointment to speak with a staff member?

Students may come by the Center at any time to ask a staff member a question, use the extensive collection of resources in the Career Resource Library, or pick up free magazines and literature to help with job search or graduate study.  We encourage them to schedule appointments in advance for more in-depth career planning assistance by calling 803.535.5333.

When should a student first come to the Career Development Center?

Because the Center offers resources and programs to help students explore majors and careers, students are encouraged to begin using and become familiar with the Center starting with their first year on campus.  The range of services available can assist students of all classifications, not just seniors who are looking for employment.We offer career advisement, career courses, the Career Resource Library, job and internship listings, and on-campus interviews. For more information, please make an appointment with our counselors.

What is an internship?

An internship is a chance for a student to gain experience in a career field before entering the job market.  Internships can confirm a career choice or help a student realize that a particular field is not a good fit.  Almost half of the student interns receive offers for full-time employment after graduation by the organization where they interned.  While some internships are paid, most are not because the emphasis is on skills and experiences that will give students an advantage in the job market.  Most internships are one semester or summer long but can sometimes have a greater duration.  The length of an internship is often negotiable.

Why should I consider doing an internship?

An internship will provide a unique opportunity to learn while working in a specific
career field and allow you to test your skills and interests in that field. It can help you see, while ;you are still a student, how your specialized skills and classroom theory apply in a work setting. An internship will tell you much about your own personal aptitudes and preferences. It will give you that hard-to-come-by prerequisite for many kinds of employment: 'documented experience.' An internship will also give you practice in some valuable job-hunting and networking skills, such as setting up an interview and cooperating with your work supervisor and fellow workers. Through this experience you will make some useful contacts and possibly references for future employment.

How early should I begin planning an internship?

Each company, agency or business will have individual time tables. However, the earlier
you begin planning your internship, the more options you may have. Some companies have formalized internship programs while others utilize interns on an as-needed basis. The more competitive internships often have early application procedures.

What are the benefits of an internship?

  • Students can acquire practical and meaningful work experience.
  • Improve their verbal and written communications skills.
  • Identify and/or test their interests and talents.
  • See if their selected career path is the one they truly wish to travel.
  • Determine whether their interests match their skills.
  • Learn day-to-day businesses functions.
  • Find out what it is like to work full-time every day in a business environment.
  • Increase their marketability and value to employers.  

Are internships paid?

Some internships will be paid internships and others will be unpaid. The organization
providing the internship determines whether or not an intern will be paid. There are some   internships where it is possible to receive both payment and credit.  If an internship is unpaid, students are REQUIRED to register for credit for the internship.  Please remember what is most important: Internships are all about gaining experience in your chosen career field; performing an internship will give you a competitive edge when it comes to your future job search.

What if student does not know what kind of career he/she wants?

The Career Services Office offers five Career Planning Steps:
Assess Yourself:

  • What interests and skills have you developed?
  • What do you like best: working with people, things, or ideas and information?
  • What subjects really interest you?

Explore Possibilities:

  • What interests and skills have you developed?
  • What do you like best: working with people, things, or ideas and information?
  • What subjects really interest you?
  • Read about various career possibilities of interest to you
  • Get experience: part time work, volunteering, co-op education
  • Explore options through apprenticeships, mentoring, and career days

Inform Yourself:

  • What are the qualifications needed?
  • What are the projected needs for this type of position in the future?
  • What are the working conditions: working alone, with others, indoors, outdoors, etc?
  • What are the work place laws you need to know about?

Prepare Yourself:

  • Have your resume and cover letter ready and available
  • Make up a job hunting plan including goals, contacts, and schedules
  • Find out information about the company

Present Yourself:

  • Make sure that your resume is articulate and professional.
  • Make sure that your appearance is professional, well groomed, and presentable
  • Career Planning Materials
  • The Office of Career Development has many career planning materials that you can come by and take with you

Should I have a resume longer than one page?

While a one-page resume is best, two pages are acceptable so long as the information you include relates to your skills and abilities and indicates to the reader that you are qualified for the position for which you have applied. Do your best to keep your resume to one page, but know that two pages are acceptable in most situations.

Where can I get ideas for creating a resume and cover letter?

Each year, The Career Services Office receives Job Search Books that helps students to create cover letters and resumes. The books includes such information as hints for success, job search timeline, resume/cover letter information and samples, letters of application/thank you letters, interviewing information. You can also meet with any of the counselors in Career Services for assistance in creating/reviewing your resume.

How can a student find a job after graduation?

The Career Services office is one of many resources students can use as they search for a job. It is the responsibility of the student to conduct the multifaceted job search. Students may visit with a Career Counselor to assist with resumes, cover letters, practice interviews and discuss job search strategies. In addition, students have the opportunity to attend job fairs during each academic year and participate in On-Campus Interviewing in which they can meet representatives from a diverse group of companies. There are also various workshops on topics such as; Interviewing Skills, Career Fairs, Graduate and Professional Fairs, and Law Enforcement Fairs offered during the course of the academic school year.

Where can I get ideas for creating a resume and cover letter?

Career Services develops a Career Development Guide that includes such information as hints for success, job search timeline, resume/cover letter information and samples, letters of application/thank you letters, interviewing information and dress.

Should I print my resume on both sides to save paper?

No. If you have a resume that is more than one page, it is best to print each page separately and then staple the pages together.

What color paper is best?

Remember, it is the quality of the information you include in your resume that will help get you the interview, not the color of paper. Use good quality, heavyweight, white paper. Recruiters are busy people and they are rarely impressed by the color of paper used in the documents they read.

I have heard that some people are scanning their picture onto their resume so
employers can place a name with a face when they meet candidates at a job fair. Is
this a good idea?

Absolutely not! Putting your picture on your resume does little more than allow the reader to make judgments (positive or negative) about you based on physical characteristics. Such judgment by an employer has nothing to do with your ability to do the job for which you've applied and it is illegal.

How many references should I have?

Generally, three to five references are enough. Each of your references should be thoroughly familiar with your academic preparation and your work history.  Give each of your references a copy of your resume.  It is polite to notify your references when you have applied for a specific job or internship and you anticipate your references may be called.

What information should I include in my cover letter?

Cover letters change depending on the position for which you are applying. As a general rule, your cover letter should address three areas--why you are writing, why you are qualified for the position and a simple closing statement.

What is the difference between curriculum vitae (also known as a CV) and a
resume?

A curriculum vitae, or CV, are typically used by individuals who are searching for career opportunities in higher education, research, academic studies or a related field. Resumes are typically used by individuals who are searching for employment in other fields. What is major difference? A CV highlights experiences such as degrees earned, research completed, articles or books published, classes taught, presentations given, grants applied for and/or obtained and similar categories. Resumes highlight experiences related more to the various jobs the individual has held; the two documents can be used interchangeably.

How can I prepare for an interview?

Research the company and position for which you are applying. Know your resume and schedule a mock interview with Career Services at 803.535.5333.

How early should I show up for a scheduled interview?

Arriving 15 minutes prior to your interview is appropriate. Doing so will give you time to relax, review your resume one more time, and prepare for the interview.

I have heard that casual is in. Is it now appropriate to dress casually for an
interview?

While a formal business suit is not required for all interviews, dressing like a professional (sport coat, tie, slacks, dress shoes, if you are a male, and a blazer, blouse, slacks or knee-length skirt if you are a female) is always preferable. Remember, an interview is your chance to present your professional self. Make the most of that chance.

How long should I wait after my interview before I contact the company to check on
the status of my application?

While you may be eager to find out how well you did and if you got the job, patience is required. As a general rule, waiting at least five business days after an interview before calling the company.

Can I send an e-mail message as a "thank you" when my interview is over?

While using e-mail to communicate with a potential employer is very convenient, electronic communications (including e-mail and instant messages) is still viewed in business as being casual.  For this reason, send a formally typed, one-page thank you letter after your interview. Doing so will reinforce your professional image.