Life After Spelman, Charting a Career to Success
When a student walks onto campus at Spelman, the Career Planning and Development team is already working to prepare her for the road to life after Spelman. It helps connect majors to careers.
In some cases, that road will lead to a competitive position in the global workplace, while for other students, the path will venture toward graduate or a professional school such as business, medical or law.
Harold Bell, director of Career Planning and Development at Spelman, says the first part of the journey involves a thorough assessment of the student’s skills, interests and values.
“Some students have no clue what they want to do,” says Bell. “But, we have tools that can help them narrow down the occupational fit for their personal profile. Basically, we look at how they’re wired.”
Spelman offers a wealth of programs and services that include career coaching, online job listings and resume development.
Resumes and Recruiting
“Resume feedback is a part of their first career-connection appointment,” says Bell, who requires students to bring a resume and cover letter to career counseling sessions. “We tell students if their format is too long, if there’s not enough context or substance to their resume. We also discourage them from long monologues.”
Spelman holds spring and fall career fairs, inviting the top employers from around the country. To help students prepare, the College offers mock interview sessions that provide constructive feedback on interview skills, background preparation and overall presentation, and appearance.
Students also receive coaching on their “soft skills, which assist in the ability to be nimble and mobile,” Bell says.
Career Fair: The Big Mistake
One of the biggest mistakes that students make during a career fair is not going in with an open mind about possible opportunities with certain companies.
“Students only know what they know as consumers,” says Bell. “Some of them are quick to write things off because they don’t have a good understanding of what it is.
For instance, a retail company such as Target offers employment opportunities far beyond positions that are at an actual store. They may actually have a position that is a perfect fit for the student’s major, but the student never visits their table because of the misconception about job opportunities.
Spelman also offers programs specifically geared to students by their year of study. Freshman can enroll in a program called FRESH, an acronym for Freshmen Reaching Excellence With Spelman's Help, which will expose first-year students to the many advantages of developing and implementing an early career plan that leads to internships, summer undergraduate research, employer career exposure programs, job/graduate school fairs, mock interviews and more.
For juniors and seniors, the seven-week SWEPT series, an acronym for Spelman Women Empowered Through Professional Training, helps students develop skills that will bridge the gap between the classroom and professional workplace.
And for students considering graduate or professional school, Spelman – in conjunction with Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University – holds an annual recruitment fair with representatives from 200 graduate, law, medical and business schools.