‘Helping students gain confidence’: Career Center preps students for workforce


Romita Das | Senior Staff Photographer

Pitt’s Career Center in the William Pitt Union.

By Ryleigh Lord, For The Pitt News

Undergraduate students anxious about the job hunt have found support and guidance in Pitt’s Career Center. Gal Yovel, a first-year neuroscience major, said the Career Center has shown him the “wide possibilities of employment that are available.”

“I didn’t know much about what I could do as a first-year with my major, but the Career Center has helped me to see that I can get experience as early as I’d like to as long as I take the steps necessary to attract employers,” Yovel said.

The Career Center is an office within Student Affairs that offers free resources for students with questions about internships and jobs. The Center includes resources that range from mock interviews to resume review and building.

The office has drop-in appointments available every Monday to Thursday from noon to 2 p.m., which can be scheduled at any time through the Handshake app.

Yovel said one of the most beneficial aspects of the Career Center is how easy it is to communicate with advisers and schedule times to meet.

“I’ve scheduled both virtual and in-person meetings through Handshake, and when I’ve reached out my adviser has been pretty quick with responding,” Yovel said.

One of the Center’s most frequently used tools is the Internship Prep Program, which helps students transition into the professional workforce. The official Internship Prep Program is a personalized program that takes students through multiple different steps of preparing for and obtaining internships. The program also offers “Prep Power Hours,” which students can attend either virtually or in person.

Alyson Kavalukas, the internship coordinator for the Internship Prep Program, said the program assists all students, regardless of where they are in the job hunt.

“From students who have no idea where to start, to those with a major interview that same day, we meet students where they are, assess their needs and develop a personal plan for staying on task and being motivated throughout the process,” Kavalukas said.

Haley Capeci, a sophomore neuroscience major, said the Center is welcoming and navigable for students who have questions and concerns.

“The opportunities that the Career Center offers are extremely easy to operate. I get emails from them and even if someone is confused they can just go to drop-in hours,” Capeci said. “Everyone is extremely welcoming, they just want to help us succeed in our future.”

Kavalukas said the Internship Prep Program helps students understand the behind-the-scenes aspects of applying for employment, and gets them prepared for internships and jobs earlier in their college career so they gain more confidence.

“While we see success in all aspects of the internship process, the most common theme is to see students gain confidence in understanding the many facets of the application process and taking ownership in their documents, being excited rather than stressed about interviews,” Kavalukas said.

Yovel said he appreciates how the Center is set up in a way that allows it to grow with and match his needs going forward. He has visited three times in the past two semesters.

“I feel like my meetings with my adviser in the Center help to make sure I’m on the right track early on, which helps to set me up for the next three years,” Yovel said.

Yovel said his adviser specifically works with STEM students, so he’s been using the Center to track his progress with his neuroscience major.

“It was nice to talk with my adviser and have them either confirm that I’m doing the right things or tell me that I should be focusing my attention somewhere else,” Yovel said. “I feel like I know that I’m on the right track when I check my progress with my adviser.”

Kavalukas said students should schedule one-on-one meetings for individualized advice.

“The most important aspect of the program, however, comes through one-on-one appointments where we meet students where they are and help them with their next steps and timeline,” Kavalukas said.

Kavalukas said a common mistake that students make when applying for jobs is limiting what they apply to, rather than taking advantage of all jobs that might be applicable to them.

“The number one mistake students make is spending too much time searching for the perfect opportunity instead of applying to every ‘good enough’ opportunity that comes along,” Kavalukas said. “We coach students to apply early and often, but also important strategies for how to customize applications, follow up and network to increase success.”

Capeci said her adviser looked over her resumé and made corrections to make it more attractive to future employers, giving her tips that she otherwise would not have known. Capeci said she will continue to use the Center’s array of resources in the future.

“The Center has really helped me build my resume to look professional, but it has also opened my eyes to several opportunities they have so that I can better myself for job interviews,” Capeci said.