Students seek, receive career advice at fairs
This article originally appeared in The Tiger on October 6, 2006 | PRINT

Parents and teachers often ask young children, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Children casually spout off answers such as nurses, firemen, astronauts and veterinarians. How come it is so easy for children to answer this question while college students across the world struggle with career choices? Luckily for Clemson students, many of the stresses associated with finding the right career can be alleviated at the Michelin Career Center located on the third floor of the Hendrix Center. The office hosts a yearly career fair with more than 453 businesses represented, and a Liberal Arts and Social Sciences panel.

Additionally, the Michelin Career Center and the Cooper Library collaborated to form the Vault Program which narrows down career choices for specific majors through a series of links on the Vault website. The Michelin Career Center contains an informative website ( with a variety of resources for those uncertain about their path after graduation. Under the "students" menu, a series of majors are listed and links provide a broad range of career options that correspond to personal interest. For one-on-one consultation, counselors are on staff during the weekdays for questions and can guide students to additional programs and contacts with graduates of Clemson in the workforce. Julie Newman is one of the many career counselors available by appointment to help students find the right track for their career. She believes that students can get on the right track through activities such as internships, co-ops, organizations and clubs. Work experience in the field will not only provide hands on practice in an area of study, but it will also test the interest of an individual in a long-term career choice. Clubs and organizations give students the opportunity to work with their peers, and they also provide networking for future job prospects. The Ask-a-Tiger network is a prominent networking tool on campus that addresses two startling facts that face the working class: the U.S. Department of Labor reports that 70 percent to 80 percent of all job openings are not advertised, and Americans will change their career at least three to six times before retirement. Therefore in today's information age, it's not only what you know, it's who you know. Ask-a-Tiger is not a job placement service, but its database and mentors provide information and advice from the perspective of experienced business men and women.

Out of all the students Ms. Newman has counseled over the years, she recalled a young woman who was passionate about her major in English but did not limit herself to the norm. The career options within the English major stereotypically seem limited to teaching, journalism, and the practice of law. The young woman loved to read and write, and during her spare time she would work at the Hallmark store downtown. After graduation, she received a job offer at a Hallmark in Charlotte, and within a few years, she worked her way into working at the corporate office. Not only did she find a job after she graduated, but she was able to work her field of study and utilize her written, oral and communication skills. Ms. Newman says that most graduates enter into a career relating to their undergraduate study, but they may switch into an entirely different field after establishing themselves in the workforce. Ms. Newman's advice for all Clemson students is self-examination of interests and goals. She advises students to look around at the people in their major and see if they share the love for the major. This can be accomplished through enrollment in introductory courses for majors in English, Business, Psychology, etc. Ms. Newman emphasizes that an individual's passion for an area of study must be the foundation for deciding on a major, and this largely impacts the graduate's first career or desire to go to graduate school. Ms. Newman said that students will be "eating, drinking, and sleeping this [graduate or medical school] program." The love for aiding the sick will get nursing students through the long hours of anatomy lab, and the desire for writing will give English majors the perseverance they need to get through intense graduate, masters, and doctorate programs. After exploring the options provided by the Michelin Career Center, Vault and Ask-a-Tiger, as well as involvement in student organizations and internships, the Clemson graduate will feel well-equipped and confident in choosing a career.

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