Finding success with an alternative major

How the Career Center can help Arts and Sciences students


Arianna Wage/Observer Archives

The Career Center can be a great resource for students, but some non-engineering and science majors feel like they fall through the cracks.

Attending a university known for its engineering and medical programs can make non-engineering and non-medical students feel hidden in the shadows of reputable education, and after years of studying, the job search adds another level of scariness.

There are many students who have tried to utilize any opportunity to advance in life, like Sarah O’Reilly, a nutritional biochemistry and metabolism and Spanish major. She attempted to find success on her own by exploring databases like CWRULink, but found the task ineffective.

“I’ve used them in terms of looking at the variety of jobs and posting my résumé but they have never actually helped me get a job,” she said. “I had to really try and stretch my idea of what I wanted to do to find a job. For example if I wanted to work in a health care company, I would have to market myself as a business person.”

O’Reilly felt that the Career Center’s help was ineffective.

“They are good at setting up events and having important people there that you can talk to,” she said. “[But] none of the people I ever talked to cared about hiring me or had any position in the field I was looking for.”

However there are resources available for students to help guide them in the right direction. Most students have received emails from the Career Center that they may have ignored, but it pays to investigate their options. The Career Center in the Sears Building offers various opportunities to educate students about the working world. One popular resource offered is résumé reviews. Students can make an appointment to discuss their résumé, or can drop by the Career Center while they are open.

Andrese Miller went to the center for that exact reason. She is a third-year English education major and history minor who wanted an updated résumé and received more than expected.

“I went to review my résumé and look for internships,” Miller said. “I recieved links to internships and I learned how to search for them. I also got help with organizing my résumé and putting the most important information on there. They also gave me a career book to help with résumés and cover letters.”

Students need more than a good résumé to integrate into a new career path, though. Rhonda Peoples, Career Information Specialist and Office Manager, has been in the field long enough to know what it takes to succeed. It all boils down to the tools one uses.

“We offer assessments similar to personality tests, we offer counseling for jobs pertaining to your major and students can access CWRULink to look for jobs,” said Peoples. “There is something for everyone. If you want more help finding information, you can schedule an appointment with a counselor for a more in-depth session.”

According to Peoples, scheduling an appointment can give a student more insight on how to navigate employment databases to find opportunities that are truly relevant to their field instead of filtering through engineering internships.

There is also data available on the Career Center’s website about how CWRU graduates spend the next few years of their lives. Every year the center creates a First Destination Survey that compiles graduate responses about future plans.

In 2014, there were 418 graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences. 310 responded to the survey.

Out of that number, 225 took part in at least one experiential learning activity (for example, internships or practicums). Fifty-four accepted job offers that came from those experiences. Overall 166 graduates went into advanced study, 98 became full-time employees, 22 were available for employment and 24 utilized alternative routes (entrepreneurship, military service, etc.).

The average yearly wage for the employed graduates was $35,000-39,999, an increase of $5,000 from last year.