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Graduation countdown focuses on job-readiness skills for seniors

The Career Services Office is giving seniors one last push toward graduation in the final weeks of the spring semester. For the third year in a row, the office has put together “Countdown to Graduation,” a series of workshops and lectures covering everything students need to know upon entering the workplace—things one doesn’t often learn in the classroom, such as what’s the correct font size to use on a résumé? Which healthcare insurance provider to decide on? Is it appropriate to wear a pink tie to a business dinner?

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“We ask ourselves, what are the questions that students have as they’re coming in for individual appointments?” said Carol Spector, director of career services. “We try to work those topics into a group setting.”

One of the most popular workshops for Emerson students is the Freelance Forum. Because many new Emerson graduates start out doing project-to-project work, Career Services staffers thought it would be important to gather a panel of alumni who have experience in the freelance world. The five panelists represent a gamut of freelancers who work in everything from theater production and online magazines to acting, lighting design, and journalism.

Another workshop specifically designed for international students is called American Business Culture, which attempts to illustrate for students a typical American workplace. “A lot of the international students learn that résumés are not done the same way in the U.S. as they are done in their home countries,” said Spector. In addition, learning about “some of the different behaviors or methods used in this country is very valuable for them.”

The Career Services Office makes a priority of expanding informational sessions to encompass all cultures and orientations. Aside from the international focus, the office recently received a silver certification from Out for Work, a national organization that supports the career development opportunities for LGBTQ students. 

“I would say the two most important things for graduating seniors to remember are to be confident in their skills and what they’ve done, and also to know that they can broaden their scope,” said Spector. “Emerson students are so career-focused, it’s important for them to know they aren’t stuck on one direct path, but that they can explore other avenues that may look interesting.”

Countdown to Graduation is just one of the ways Career Services prepares students for life after Emerson. “Part of it just comes down to knowing what your skills are and how you can use them in a variety of different settings,” Spector concluded. “That’s what makes Emerson students versatile and stronger candidates for employers.”

Countdown to Graduation began on Monday, April 4, and continues through Thursday, April 14.

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