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Giving Students an Edge in the Job Market

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Student success—before and after graduation—is St. John’s top priority. The focus is evident in the achievements of University Career Services, where expanding programs and opportunities yield better career-related outcomes.

In a recent survey, more than 94 percent of the Class of 2015 found meaningful jobs or seats in graduate or professional schools within six months of graduation. Their experiences reflect an upward trend that began in 2010.

“Over the past four years, we’ve seen a tremendous improvement in career outcomes,” said Denise Hopkins, Executive Director of University Career Services. “It’s a tribute to the entire University’s commitment to ensuring that students graduate prepared to succeed.”

Measures of Success

Recognizing these achievements, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) awarded St. John’s its 2015 Member’s Choice Award and its Diversity and Inclusion Excellence Award: College. NACE is the leading professional association for career development professionals in higher education and businesses.

The industry defines positive career outcomes as a successful launch into either employment or advanced study. To gauge this, St. John’s reaches out to recent graduates up to six months after they receive their degrees. In 2010, 80 percent of that graduating class was either employed full time, in graduate school, or both—compared with 94 percent for last year.

Though early career outcomes offer an indicator of graduate success, said Hopkins, St. John’s strives to prepare students for a lifetime of possibilities. “Our job,” she said, “is to empower students—not just for that first opportunity out of school, but to navigate the rapidly changing, 21st-century job market.”

Meeting Higher Expectations

University Career Services creates programming based on industry opportunities, not majors: the majority of students do not enroll in college with a specific job in mind. “Not all English majors want to teach,” she said. “Our concept is to help students by broadening their view. There are so many paths they can take, and we help guide them through that process.”

Drawing on powerful connections with employers throughout the New York area—including St. John’s extensive alumni network—Career Services provides access to valuable internships, externships, and job opportunities. Each year, hundreds of employers recruit on campus through career fairs and one-on-one interviews.

To prepare students, University Career Services offers a range of programs and services, including mentoring, dining etiquette, job interview skills, networking, and writing résumés and cover letters. The Center also launched a Career Peer program, with specially trained student mentors to help their peers prepare for the job market.

“I’m graduating this year, so I was concerned about getting a head start on my job search,” said Ryan Moskowitz ’16CPS, a sport management major. “The Career Center gave my confidence a real boost. I got help with my résumé, my cover letter, and networking. I definitely feel more prepared now.”

Looking ahead, the department will continue to strengthen student outcomes. “The
old-school career office used to be a small group of people who would post jobs and help write resumes,” Hopkins said. “Student expectations and needs are so much greater now.”