A Whole New World: Career Advancement Helps Students, Alumni Find Their Future

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Once upon a time, college students spent the end of their senior year sending out bulk cover letters and résumés, hoping to stumble upon a job opening that would become a position for life. These days, that's not at all how it works.

Technology is driving dramatic shifts in the way people and employers find each other. Northwood has been quick to understand these realities and adjust to them, which led to a name change for NU Career Services, which recently became the Career Advancement Center. This new name reflects a modern mission rooted in helping students understand themselves, what they want in life, and the best way to get it.

"Our philosophy is that this is a process, it's not just a service that's here and done," said Career Advancement and Internship Coordinator Deborah Schummer. "We help students to see that it's a long-term partnership, not just something you do your senior year."

The partnership begins soon after students arrive on campus.

"Early on, we help them figure out where they are best suited to be happy," said Gregory S. Stiffler, director of Career Advancement-Michigan Campus. "We never tell them, 'Don't go into this field.' But we talk about how they'll be working for about 50 years, so it's important to know who they are, what makes them tick."

As graduation approaches, the focus shifts to identifying employers who are likely to be a good fit, then doing what's necessary to present themselves in the best light. Toward that end, Career Advancement offers a number of services,listed below.

  • Myer-Briggs personality assessments to align preferences and strengths with well-suited careers
  • Tools for doing company research
  • Databases of job postings, including a proprietary list of employers looking specifically for Northwood grads
  • BlueLink, an online community offering contacts with an extensive network of Northwood alumni and friends
  • Feedback on résumés and other employment documents, including LinkedIn profiles
  • Interview tips, training and feedback
  • Career fairs, networking events, and workshops

Career Advancement benefits are open to all Northwood alumni over the course of their lives, which is especially important in the modern world, where the average person changes employers every four years, experiences three major career changes and must weather an economic downturn every seven to 10 years.

"It's a holistic approach," said Beth Bryce, director of Career Advancement-ADP & DeVos Graduate School of Management. "We're not here to help them find a job, but to help them find a career."