By James Jackson

Do you think the MBNA Career Education Center is too focused on the McDonough School of Business? Do you feel like there’s nothing it can do for you? Do you have an otherwise low opinion of the career center, perhaps because you don’t have a job or internship? any students feel this way – incorrectly. Graduating in two months, I’ve been through the whole job/internship search. More importantly, I’ve worked at the career center since 1997. In that time, I’ve learned a lot about the world of recruiting – how it works and how to succeed in it.

The career center is the most under-appreciated asset of this university. It is one of the top three career centers in the nation. For your information, no Ivy can match it. Yet, a misperception exists that the career center only helps one sect of the student body, so-called “business school students.” This is an inaccurate characterization. Many College and School of Foreign Service students bound for the business world have taken advantage of the recruiting program. Moreover, their pre-law program is one of their most popular.

There is a second misperception illustrated beautifully by my grandma. I had some difficulty finding an internship after my sophomore year. Her comment was, “Shouldn’t working at the career center help you get a job?” I had to explain to her that the career center is not a placement center. The careful observer will note that it is the MBNA Career EDUCATION Center.

The career center is not here to get you a job. It is here to educate you so that you can find one yourself. Student after student complains about a “business bias” to programs without taking advantage of many other resources – a lazy orientation on the part of students. Students want every potentially interesting company to list on the recruiting program. Unfortunately, this is only feasible for large firms able to anticipate hiring needs. Non-profit groups and government agencies and even many mid-sized corporations are not able to use the recruiting program, particularly not in October. Their hiring needs aren’t that predictable. Also, the fact is that no industry has close to the demand as that of management consulting and investment banking. any industries that students want brought to campus simply do not have sufficient demand to permit a trip to Georgetown. Furthermore, the recruiting program is not tantamount to a placement program. The recruiting program facilitates resume drops. Thereafter, the job seeker must work just as hard to procure employment. Nevertheless, as proof of the career center’s preeminence, between 30 and 40 percent of participants obtain employment through the recruiting program – roughly double the national average.

Every Georgetown student can benefit greatly from their programs. Beyond being among the nation’s best, it is designed to help students find their vocation, no matter what industry interests them. It offers a wide breadth of services, including resume critiques, counselor appointments, career seminars, externships, spotlights, interest inventories, career assessments, the Career Expo, various workshops, walk-in hours and an extensive career library. It also has binders with hundreds of job listings. On top of all of that, its career counselors virtually trip over students to help them. Talk to students at American or George Washington – they have no such luxury.

However, there is one other problem that the career center cannot possibly help: the problem of focus. My grandmother was partially correct in her comments. The career center has helped me to find a job, but it was not because it held my hand during interviews. It was because when I started as a sophomore, I was forced to deal with my impending graduation and began thinking about what I wanted to do at quite an early stage. I then took advantage of its programs so that I could properly market myself within my field of choice.

It can help you, regardless of industry, but you must know what you want to do. The point is to find your passion, and its career counselors can even help you with that. If you want to be an author, figure that out as early as possible, schedule an appointment, use its services and it will teach you how to reach your goal and hopefully connect you with people who can help. It may not be able to get Random House in through E-Recruiting to read your manuscript, but it still has many other services available to help you achieve your dream. But even for those able to take advantage of the recruiting program, this will be the easiest resume proliferation you will ever have. Subsequent job searches will be more difficult. Take advantage of its services today so that you can be prepared for next time.

The career center has a tremendous amount of resources available for everyone that extend far beyond the recruiting program. Use them – don’t complain about what the career center doesn’t have for you. If it doesn’t have something, it probably isn’t available. All of its counselors are eminently qualified and extremely helpful. They’ll be there to teach you and support you throughout the process. Just don’t expect them to get a job for you. Instead, focus on your future and come in for help.

James Jackson is a senior in the College.

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