Careers By Design

Students engage with office of career design and development
Student worker Carolian Doane, left, of the Office of Career Design and Development, talks with fellow students at the Careers By Design launch event.

What’s in a name? Your whole future.

That’s the message coming through the newly renamed Office of Career Design and Development, which more accurately reflects the philosophy of the office’s work with Widener students. Office staff celebrated the new name and all they do in partnership with students at a launch called “Careers By Design” recently in University Center.

The name emphasizes a twofold approach. Designing a career involves helping students learn more about who they are and what they want to do in life, and bringing aspirations into focus. Developing a career comes from honing critical skills like networking, interviewing and resume writing.

The changes brought the retirement of the old “Career Services Office” moniker, which may have suggested a passive, transactional relationship, instead of a partnership between Widener staff and students that empowers students for success.

“To me, design says more about intentionality, relationships and most importantly, that students are at the center of it. They take ownership of it,” said Janet Long, the office executive director. “We’re just trying to get them to step back and pause and think about what interests them, then introduce the resources.”

For example, it could be something as simple as encouraging a student to interview a few people who have jobs they admire, and helping to make those connections. To get students thinking, Career Design and Development staff this year began changing the way they contribute to freshman seminars. Now, they highlight mind mapping and free association concepts instead of standing before students and simply explaining the resources available through their office.

Students at Career by Design event for Career Design and Development
Students at the Careers By Design launch event were encouraged to share their thoughts on the career wall.

“You may have skills and abilities that other people see in you that you haven’t yet recognized,” Widener President Julie E. Wollman said at the launch event, adding students should be mindful their careers might not always go according to their initial plans.

“But you will be ready for that because of the way we’ve prepared you at Widener,” she added.

Long emphasized the design element of the office approach will continue to serve students as they move through life and their career expectations and interests change.

Students who attended the launch were upbeat about the changes. Sophomore Samuel Warner, who is considering a career on the business side of the hospitality industry, said he has already visited the career office for help with his resume. He liked the concepts presented at the launch.

“The resources are here. It’s up to us to take advantage of them,” he said.

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