Art by Leah Bae
As the Pepperdine community begins another remote semester, students may be unsure how to get help with their academic or professional goals while they remain off campus.
Pepperdine students have access to numerous online resources, some of which they might not even know are available. The Career Center, Navigate and LinkedIn Learning are three resources that can assist students regardless of their locations.
“Our goal really is to work with every single Seaver student and equip them for lives of professional career success, to be competitive in the marketplace and connecting it back to the university mission of preparing students for lives of service, leadership and purpose,” said Marla Pontrelli, interim executive director and industry specialist for the Career Center.
The Career Center team offers a variety of services for students, all accessible remotely. Sarah Dillion, marketing and events manager for the Career Center, said last semester they worked to transition their services to an online format, and this semester, they are perfecting them.
“After the recruiters are gone, we’re leaving the virtual booths up and so students that may be in different time zones or have class during the fair can still explore the booths, see all the marketing materials, see what the companies are hiring for, and also reach out to the recruiters that would have been there,” Dillion said.
In addition to the Career Expo, students have the opportunity to participate in job shadowing this semester. Maile Hetherington, assistant director of programs and partnerships for the Career Center, said job shadowing connects students with an employer or friend of the University to have career conversations and experience a virtual work environment.
Hetherington said while students may not be getting the traditional hands-on job shadowing experience this year, there are advantages to the digital format.
“One benefit is we have alumni who want to do these kinds of things and support students in this way and we’re able to connect people from all over the country now because it’s virtual,” Hetherington said.
The Career Center also offers weekly office hours with industry specialists. Those hours and schedules can be found on Handshake.
“It’s a great way to immediately connect with our team, and through that they can learn about any of our services and upcoming programs and get some pretty customized recommendations about upcoming events and even direct referrals,” Pontrelli said. “We talk to them about how to network and find alumni and mentors through a couple different sites and systems that we have as well.”
Handshake itself is also a resource students may not be using to its full potential. Industry Specialist Judy Jacobs said students will benefit from keeping a resume posted on Handshake, as employers often look there for potential candidates.
Students will also have access to webinars hosted by the Career Center this semester. These webinars will most likely be hosted weekly depending on student demand, and can be found on Handshake, Jacobs said.
Various other virtual services offered by the Career Center for students include VMock, a resume review tool, Roadtrip Nation, a career exploration tool (Membership code: PEPP19), Real World, a program that teaches students about “real world” concepts (School code: PEPPERDINE2020) and PeppConnect, a directory of alumni mentors students can contact for career advice and information.
Industry Specialist Nancy Shatzer said these resources assist students beyond graduation.
“Career Center services are for life,” Shatzer said.
Another online resource available to Pepperdine students is Navigate. Navigate is available to use on mobile or desktop, with each access point offering different services. The mobile app gives students a daily to do list, with items “important to keeping you enrolled,” said Kendra Killpatrick, senior associate dean of Seaver College.
The Navigate mobile app also has a new weekly COVID-19 update feature, and resources specific to students who are currently living on campus, like their daily wellness checks.
The desktop Navigate platform offers students the ability to use an academic planner and schedule builder, something the Navigate team wants students to utilize this semester, Killpatrick said.
“We’re really making a strong push this spring to train our students on how to do those academic plans,” Killpatrick said.
With the academic planner and schedule builder, students can form different academic plans for themselves by dragging and dropping required courses into a planning template, creating multiple schedule possibilities, a feature which helps students with the registration process, Killpatrick said.
Killpatrick said an underused Navigate feature is Study Buddies, which allows students to indicate that they want someone to study with for a certain course, and to see who else in their class would be interested in meeting to study virtually.
“You can communicate through the mobile app so you don’t have to ask someone you don’t know for their cell number and if they want to study,” Killpatrick said. “It’s a way of connecting students in large classes that I think is really underutilized.”
One resource available to Pepperdine students that focuses on their professional development and goals is LinkedIn Learning. Pepperdine junior Umeesha D’alwis works as a Learning Champion with the program.
“LinkedIn Learning is an on-demand library of instructional videos covering the latest business, technology and creative skills,” D’alwis wrote in an email. “It provides personalized course recommendations designed to help students achieve their full potential. Pepperdine students receive a free subscription to LinkedIn Learning!”
D’alwis wrote that while students might think a program like LinkedIn Learning only deals with topics like business, finance or technology, there are actually a variety of lessons available.
“There are courses to teach students how to become a successful job hunter, how to motivate yourself during the pandemic, how to build self-confidence and so much more,” D’alwis wrote.
This resource is valuable to students because of how convenient it is to use and the access it gives students to in-depth but “bite-sized” courses from industry experts, D’alwis wrote.
D’alwis advises students to take advantage of LinkedIn Learning as early as possible to benefit their professional development.
“Take the time to learn new skills via LinkedIn Learning, especially while it’s free, so that you can strengthen your resume and your chances of getting noticed, even before you enter into your junior year,” D’alwis wrote.
Even as the student body remains separated and distanced physically from Pepperdine, student resources and the teams behind them are still available to help, Career Center Office Manager Madeline Abourched said.
“We’re only an email or phone call away,” Abourched said. “We’re just as accessible and willing to help out as we were on campus.”
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