By Richard Grant, SNHU Career Advisor
If you are going on a trip to an unknown location, you wouldn’t think of traveling without a GPS or at least looking at a map in advance. If you are trekking into the deep woods or mountains of New Hampshire, you will be much safer if you are with an experienced hiker. The same holds true with your career journey: Whatever path you are pursuing, be sure to use SNHU Career as your guide.
Within the College of Online and Continuing Education, SNHU Career is composed of 20 career advisors who have made the same commitment — to assist every student in achieving career success. According to Brian Vas, assistant vice president of SNHU Career, the mission is quite simple.
“We want to ensure that every SNHU graduate is getting the proper attention and guidance for the opportunities they are seeking,” he said.
For Vas and the SNHU Career team, as with all of COCE, the university’s commitment to measure its success by the success of our students is not merely a slogan on the wall. SNHU Career is proactive in its approach, and its mission is to prepare students for their next steps upon completing their degree programs.
“We really care about our students,” Vas said. “For whatever they need, we have a talented team of career experts who can provide them with the tools and resources to help them reach their goals.”
Besides one-to-one career advising by the SNHU Career team, students and alumni can take advantage of virtual events such as webinars, employer spotlights and Twitter chats, and online tools including SNHU Recruit, Career Shift, Optimal Resume and SNHU Connect.
Career advisor Simone Davis is persistent in making sure her students attain their career goals. “It’s all about student success,” she said. “If students are successful, then we are successful.”
An important approach for Davis is challenging students to see their possibilities. “Sometimes, it’s difficult for students to see the bigger picture beyond what they’re doing on a day-to-day basis,” she said.
As Davis works with her students, she makes sure they understand that they are greater than what they give themselves credit for. For example, one of Davis’ students has extensive experience in trucking, and she helped him see the larger implications of delivering goods. She encouraged him to think about his importance within the entire supply chain and to talk with his supervisor about his goal of moving into management. Because he did so, he is being considered for a higher-level role.
Guiding and coaching students can also mean exhibiting a little bit of “tough love.” Career advisor Kendra Thomas had some challenging conversations recently with a student and pressed for a shift to a more positive outlook.
The student was getting frustrated about the long process of finding work and felt entitled to job offers based on having two academic degrees. Thomas talked with her every other week about the bigger picture of what employers look for, and worked with her to reframe her resume in terms of results and accomplishments. By not giving up on the student, Thomas helped guide her to a new role in her field of study.
However, she is not “closing the books” on that student. “It’s one thing to help students land their jobs, but I think it’s also important to continue to coach them to help them retain their jobs,” Thomas said. Thomas plans to check in periodically to provide guidance for the student and help ensure her success beyond the job offer itself.
Student feedback about SNHU Career is positive. Michele Cerami, who is pursuing her master’s degree in healthcare administration, said her career advisor, Laurie Lewis, “is always there for me and is always so pleasant and encouraging.” Cerami appreciates Lewis for “guiding me in the right direction” and feels the SNHU Career approach of hands-on care and attention is family oriented.
“This is the first school I’ve attended where I’ve really felt like that,” she said.
That type of comment affirms for the SNHU Career team members that the work they are doing is truly transforming lives. But the team will continue seeking new and better ways to serve students.
“We will never settle for the status quo,” Vas said.