Career Center Fall Highlights
The Career Center continues to initiate a wide variety of Professional Development Skills programs to support the diverse needs of Duke’s graduate students. Highlights from the fall semester include coaching and counseling with graduate students, leading a job Club Search Group, and Career Fair Prep workshops to get students ready for the three Job Fairs offered during the semester. Career Center staff also responded to requests by departments and students groups to discuss services offered, present topic specific programming, or both. Graduate Career counselors partnered with the Graduate School and Post Doctoral Services to develop and deliver programming specific to the academic job search.
To address the needs of graduate students and postdocs seeking fellowships or career opportunities outside academe, the consortium (Duke University, N.C. State University, UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Charlotte, Wake Forest University, and UNC-Chapel Hill) responsible for the North Carolina M.S and Ph.D. Career Fair significantly expanded its outreach to prospective employers. This year 41 employers were registered, setting a record high for participation in the November event. The consortium’s strategic, intensive, and collaborative marketing efforts to students also paid off, resulting in a total of 573 participants, doubling the attendees of previous years.
Employers arrived from universities as far away as Chicago, Washington, and Ontario and raved about the outstanding candidates they spoke with during the event. Many reported that this year’s Fair exceeded their expectation with caliber and number of candidates. One hiring manager shared that he had expected to see only a few students and, much to his pleasure, spent the entire afternoon speaking with prospective candidates past the scheduled time. This employer stated that because of the exceptional talent pool, he would encourage his peer managers to attend this event in the future. Others indicated that they would urge their human resource department to attend as well. The highest compliment was gleaned from an employer who shared that she had suggested to organizers at two other institutions to “adopt the North Carolina M.S. and Ph.D Model” for their Career Fairs. Several employers have already committed to returning to next year’s event.
The responses from many of the graduate students suggested that they, too, were pleased with the mix of companies participating in this year’s Fair. One Ph.D. student shared, “I was very excited to discuss with employers the different opportunities their companies offered. After many years in school it was great to investigate the next step in my career. It also allowed me to talk with other students who are going through the same process, which is always helpful.” Although evaluations from students were positive, there are still some areas for improvement, such as reaching out to more diverse organizations that appeal to the humanities and social sciences, moving to a larger space, and increasing the number of employers. The Career Center received useful feedback related to specific companies Duke graduate students are interested in, and plans to target these organizations for future campus events.