Jump start your career with the CAS-STAR Center

CAS-STAR Center by Michaella Lesieur
By Michaella Lesieur, Staff Writer

The CAS-STAR Center had quite the week last week as the center launched their first “Jump Start to Your Career Week,” with the help of academic advisor Monica Faria, peer mentors, and other staff members.

“Jump Start to Your Career Week,” was designed as an aid to help students prep for life after college. It consisted of a series of events aimed at helping sophomores, juniors and seniors in the areas of networking, job searches, interviews and with the goal of always following your passion. “It was a way to promote the universities Career Development Center’s services, while also teaching students options for career development that they can harness themselves with,” said academic advisor for the CAS-STAR Center Monica Faria.

The events started on Tuesday February 21, 2018 and went through Friday February 23. The STAR-Center kicked off the week with “Resumes & More,” with collaboration from UMass Dartmouth’s Career Development Center. Students could bring a copy of there resumes and cover letters to have trained professionals help guide them in crafting their perfect pitch. These documents are far from just a piece of paper, they are a crucial supplement that is going to make you stand out in a series of applications, when applying with an employer for a job or internship.

Ben DeCastro, a man of many talents, was the highlight of the week, as students and faculty listened to his story in the University Club on Wednesday, February 22 for Jump Start Your Career. The event featured a discussion, question and answer session, photos,  and refreshments.

The Rhode Island native celebrity is an icon in the communications and marketing industry seeing that he has a lengthy list of accomplishments. From children’s book author, Because Your Mommy Does CrossFit, PawSox stadium announcer, t.v. producer, host of the YouTube series, “Car Pooling with Ben,” and musician, you can tell he does it all.

DeCastro has had quite the journey and encourages students through his experiences to never give up on your life goals. If you want it, go after it. The road getting there is not always easy, but it is not impossible. There might be bumps in the road but don’t let that get in the way.

DeCastro’s talk included words of wisdom. “Ben’s talk about the way of the ‘Solopreneur” illustrated that young adults like our students have the skills they need to roll up their sleeves and make their dreams happen. “But, it will take determination and most importantly hard work; the payoff however is that you accomplish what you set out to do,” said Faria. “I also loved his message that failure is just a process you go through on your way to accomplishing your goals. He encouraged students to use their resources.”

DeCastro believes that making and saving contacts is pivotal in any major, for these are the people you can connect with, and you never know when you might need to pull up your list of networks. Just think about it, they could be your next manager.

Success in not measured in size, days, months, years or by how big your network is or how you got to where you are today it is measured in your own self. One major takeaway from his speech is that no one person can measure your success but you, and you have to be your own creator.

On Wednesday February 22, “Creating Your Image,” with Kristin McGillicuddy UMass Dartmouth’s Director of Planning and Administration spoke on behalf of LinkedIn.

The resource is a wonderful tool that all students should be using stressed McGillicuddy in her presentation. “Kristin’s presentation on LinkedIn was the prefect action step to the conversation Ben started,” said Faria. “The College of Arts and Sciences is so lucky to have someone so experienced in, not only higher education, but also marketing. LinkedIn, as Kristin highlighted, is a huge resource that students can use to network with groups and companies that they are interested in working for.  It’s also a valuable tool students can use to market themselves.” She walked students through the process of LinkedIn and spotlighted all the different features one could do in order to personalize their page.

McGillicudy encourages students to come make an appointment with her to discuss all there is to LinkedIn and your career as she enjoys helping students look into endless opportunities. “Experts estimate that eighty-five percent of jobs are filled through networking. Many opportunities (including internships) are never made public – companies reach out to their colleagues for candidates, or people hear about an opportunity through their friends or co-workers. LinkedIn is the networking powerhouse that brings all these people together,” said McGillicudy. “College students should start now to build their profiles and networks, so they are ready for any opportunity that comes along. Plus, it’s a wonderful way to help others through your own network and keep up to date with all the latest news from your area of study” she continued.

To end the week the CAS-STAR Center held, “Career Resources at Your Fingertips,” in the center which was an all day long event, showing students all the various ways in which you can find your way into your dream job.

By using these resources made available at your fingertips you are setting yourself up for success. “Obtaining a higher education degree is valuable in many ways, and one of them is that it should allow students to gain opportunities to employment, but students do need to prepare for that opportunity, and we want to help them do that anyway we can,” stressed Faria. “That is why we have the Career Development Counselors do ‘Resumes and More’ at the STAR Center, and why our Peer Mentors promote on-line tools like Typefocus, Career Link, and Big Interview. These platforms are on-line tools that Career Development has invested in for our students.”

Don’t forget to meet with the professional themselves. “However, nothing is better than meeting with a career counselor in person, we want to encourage students to meet with the career counselors,” said Faria.

Students can mark their calendars for even more career orientated events happening soon. “The Career Development Center is hosting some important events this semester, that I feel are so important for our students to attend,” said Faria. “The Federal Government Panel on March 8, Annual Job & Internship Expo on March 21, and the Jobs and Internships for the Common Good on April 4. These events are great resources to help students network, obtain jobs, and find internships.”

Career development is huge for students and whether you are a freshman or senior it is never too early or late to start planning job recruitment strategies and knowing all the aids that can help you on your success. To stay up to date on all things happening with the CAS-STAR Center you can follow them on their new Instagram page at @starcenterumassd.

Photo Courtesy: Michaella Lesieur

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