Good news seniors, UConn prepares students for the future

Students navigate UConn's spring career fair, put on by the Center for Career Development in Gampel Pavilion on March 30, 2016. Dozens of employers sent representatives to speak with students about full-time opportunities, internships, and more. (Jackson Haigis /The Daily Campus)

Students navigate UConn's spring career fair, put on by the Center for Career Development in Gampel Pavilion on March 30, 2016. Dozens of employers sent representatives to speak with students about full-time opportunities, internships, and more. (Jackson Haigis /The Daily Campus)

A recent survey by the Center for Career Development found that four out of five University of Connecticut graduates landed a job few months after graduation.

The information collected was presented to the UConn Board of Trustees and reinforces the university’s goal of giving their students the tools necessary to find success after college.

Hayley Tafuro, a 2015 UConn graduate, was able to work for NBC Sports during the summer Olympics. She said it was one of the most rewarding jobs she had so far.

Tafuro gives credit to the different on campus organizations that helped her find her internships as well as jobs.

“There are so many clubs, organizations and events on campus that are dedicated to helping students find jobs,” Tafuro said.

One of the organizations that helped Tafuro network and develop skills was the UConn Sport Business Association. The club is open to anyone interested in sports and their goal is to help students, like Tafuro, be career-ready.

“This club provided every resource I needed for career development,” Tafuro said. I learned how to network, which in my opinion is the most important skill you need to know, and heard firsthand from professionals in the sport industry about what it took to be successful post college.”

Jim Lowe, Director of the Center of Career Development, said having different resources available to meet the needs of the students is what makes the organization so successful.

In 2016 UConn’s CCD was the recipient of the Member Choice Award from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) where it competed against schools like Hofstra and Stamford. The award recognized the unique and personalized model put into place to help students.

It also received the 2016 Eastern Association for Colleges and Employers for their diversity and inclusion.

“I think knowledge is power, when a student is anxious, apprehensive or doesn’t know what they want to do, our job is to lead them to the information they need to make intelligent choices,” Low said.

Glynn Johnson, a fifth-semester marketing major and sociology minor, is one such student who is anxious about his future.

Johnson’s brother graduated with an engineering degree and it took him months to find a job.

He said UConn has the resources but it is up to the students to take at advantage of them. Although he has never been to the CCD, Johnson has found other ways to take steps in the right direction.

“For example the Career in Sports Night brought to us by the Alumni Foundation fall of 2014, helped me meet my current mentor, who at the time helped me get a job in UConn Athletics,” Johnson said.  

Lowe said the help offered here is different because they meet the students with what they need. If a freshman has a resume, and know where they want to go, the center helps them obtain the skills needed.

NACE identifies in their website the key competencies for career readiness: critical thinking, oral/written communication, teamwork, information technology application, leaderships, professionalism and career management. They are based on national employer surveys.

Lowe said students can be proactive and engage in the process of becoming better candidates for the jobs they want by looking at those competencies, so they know what they have and what they need to work on.

“Students can be experts on themselves and see what employers are looking for and how they can translate their experience to meet their expectations,” Lowe said.

According to data provided by the CCD, their website had 614,051 views, there were 1,642 interviews held on campus, 564 employers attended career fairs, 400 presentations conducted and 6,591 one-one sessions were held.

Lowe said the center and the university are working hard to offer different development opportunities for students.

Before graduation Tafuro was proactive and used the CCD to learn about career planning and participated in different workshops. She said her extracurricular helped her to be a professional.

“I was fortunate to work for Nutmeg Publishing as a sports editor. I treated this job like a professional would treat his or her job, and that made it easier for me to hop into the role at NBC Sports,” Tafuro said.

The CCD will host three career fairs this semester: The University career fair is Oct. 5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., a reverse career fair (where students will be at the booths and employers will visit them) from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and a STEM career fair on Oct. 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Daniela Marulanda is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at daniela.marulanda@uconn.edu.