Academics

Opening the Doors to Success

February 26, 2019

Career Center offers vast resources to give students a head start in the job market

Liberty University alumnus Jeremy Fitch (’18) set his sights on a career in digital media and was determined to land a job at a big company in a big city.

Student Noelle Cawston visits the Career Center for a one-on-one session.

Fitch jumped in early, taking an internship with the Washington Examiner in Washington, D.C., his sophomore year through Liberty’s Washington Fellowship program. He was accepted into the Disney College Program his junior year. Only a few weeks after graduation, he was hired as the social media publisher at The Players’ Tribune, a media company founded by former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter that provides athletes with a platform to connect with their fans by writing their own articles.

“Liberty’s Career Center was a huge factor in landing that job,” Fitch said.

The Career Center prepares students like Fitch to take on the real world with proven experience. Through workshops, one-on-one coaching sessions, networking events, and résumé and interview preparation, Liberty’s residential and online students never have to feel like they are on their own to build their repertoire and search for jobs.

“It’s very important to pour into our students while they are here and not only focus on helping them get their first job after graduation, but on entering a successful, rewarding career,” said Sarah Falwell, Liberty’s executive director of Career Partnerships & Career Services. “We want our students to be really proud of their Liberty degree because they leave here feeling prepared as they go into their field.”

Career Coaches

Meeting with a career coach is a great way for students to get a jump start on their job search. A team of coaches is ready to help students create standout résumés, prepare for interviews, or even zero in on their career options. Students can schedule appointments with a coach who has the knowledge and background specific to their degree and career aspirations. Many coaches host pop-up events at different locations on campus, making it easy for students to connect with them in between classes. Coaches can also review résumés that students submit through the center’s website, Liberty.edu/Career.

“There’s a huge difference between getting a career and just getting a degree and a job,” said Debra Saucier, assistant director of career coaches. “We want them to have successful careers that they enjoy.”

Internships

Liberty students (left to right) Kaitlyn Shields, Brooke Larson, Luke Dillard, and Dominique Nelson participated in the Washington Fellowship last summer.

One of the most practical ways for Liberty students to gain real-world experience is through internships. Liberty’s semester-long New York and Washington Fellowships place students in the heart of the nation’s capital or the Big Apple in competitive internships that give them a professional edge before they graduate. Students live together in designated Liberty housing and take part in professional development and networking events as well as social activities. Students have worked with organizations and businesses such as Fox News, Ralph Lauren, the National Park Service, Bloomingdale’s, and the U.S. Congress. In Washington, the Career Center has eight affiliation agreements with employers that specifically reserve spots for Liberty students.

Career coaches work directly with individual students and employers to coordinate internships throughout the country. With Liberty’s robust online program, students completing internships can continue to take courses toward their degree while they are living and working off campus — an attractive option for employers who can retain the interns for full workdays.

Students can also use the Parker Dewey website to search for “micro-internships,” which are short-term, paid, professional assignments that are similar to those given to new hires or interns. Often, the projects can lead to an internship or even a full-time job.

“Organizations like Microsoft, IBM, or small tech firms go on there and post small projects that they need done,” said Kate Choudhury, assistant director of experiential learning at the Career Center. “It’s contract work that is targeted to undergraduate students.”

Handshake app

Liberty student Benjamin Grant uses the Career Center resources for job searching and résumé building.

Starting last semester, Liberty students and alumni were able to claim their free accounts on Handshake, a new digital platform that aids in job searches. Similar to LinkedIn, Handshake allows users to upload their résumés and create profiles for employers to view.

About 100 percent of the Fortune 500 companies use Handshake. A unique aspect of the site is that employers can search for candidates from particular colleges and universities. Nearly 3,100 companies, including American Airlines and Adidas, are directly connected with Liberty through Handshake. The university receives about 20 to 30 new job postings from employers each day.

Students can also use Handshake to search for internships and make appointments with Liberty’s career coaches.

Career Fairs and Panels

The Career Center hosts special events with representatives from highly successful businesses. In October, students heard from Google employees on what it’s like to work for the Fortune 500 company.

Throughout the school year, the Career Center holds several career fairs and panels with company representatives. In October, the center hosted an “Experience Google” Q & A event with six Google employees. This spring, it will host four career fairs open to students of all majors. On March 26 in the LaHaye Multipurpose Center, the Career Center will host its biggest event to date, with 100 employers seeking students and alumni for full-time jobs or internships in the fields of engineering, business, communication, information technology, law, and government.

“The biggest thing we wish students would know about the career fair or recruiting events on campus is that even if they show up and are not fully prepared, their chances are still so good that they’ll either get an interview or get a job,” said Kate Choudhury, assistant director of experiential learning. “The face-to-face interaction is huge because these employers are coming to campus just to meet them.”

Executive Director Sarah Falwell said many of the employers who come to the career fairs are Liberty alumni who want to hire Liberty students because they know what they are getting in terms of training, character, and values.

“When our students graduate and land jobs, the alumni base can become our biggest resource,” she said. “The more and more we invest with them now, it will pay off later.”


The right person for the job

Here’s what employers are saying about new hires and interns from Liberty:

“All of the Liberty graduates we have had in the past have all been good at communicating, they are willing to work, and they pursue integrity.
David Maharaj, Senior Staff Accountant, Tate & Tryon

“Liberty interns have a willingness to serve in whatever capacity is asked. They are willing to put their own agendas aside and help others. Students are prepared when they leave this university to go and change the world. That mission of Training Champions for Christ is still bearing fruit in Washington, D.C., for us, and for New York City, Hollywood, and many other places.”
Marcus Harris, Director of Student Interns, Family Research Council

“I have had great success in hiring Liberty University students. They come to us spiritually mature, and Liberty is really our go-to place when looking for young women who can be a voice on Capitol Hill.”
Penny Nance, CEO and President, Concerned Women for America

“My experience working with Liberty students and graduates has been awesome. They’re well-rounded students who are ready to work and learn. You can tell they’ve had a good education. We also love that Liberty students are teamwork-oriented, which is important in our business. But most importantly, they come in ready to roll up their sleeves and work.”
Chris Calder, General Manager, Hendrick Lexus – Charlotte

“My company and I first heard about Liberty University through an intern. After her internship, we hired her as a video editor and since then we have hosted several Liberty students. They are awesome. They are very professional, team-oriented, very confident, and are able to work well on teams and as individuals.”
Angie Seldon, Human Resources Senior Specialist, C-SPAN

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