For some UK students, the month of May brings graduation. And while this marks an ending, it also signifies a very important beginning for many— the beginning of a career. It is the start of this new journey that the James W. Stuckert Career Center hopes to help students with, before they even have their diplomas.
The Stuckert Career Center works to prepare students at the University of Kentucky for a lifetime of career possibilities by collaborating with the college-based career services offices in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment; the College of Engineering; the Gatton College of Business & Economics; and the Lewis Honors College to successfully launch students’ careers.
“We focus on providing comprehensive career services in order to support students at all stages of the career development process,” said Ray Clere, director of the Stuckert Career Center.
Students enrolled in a degree program at the university have access to unlimited use of career services at the center. These services include individual appointments with career advisers, mock interviews, workshops, on-campus interviewing and the use of the career resource library. Graduates of less than six months retain full access to services, and career services are available beyond the six-month post-graduate time period if new graduates choose to join the UK Alumni Association.
For seniors trying to navigate the job search, the center provides a number of resources.
“Our career advisers are available to meet with seniors for individual appointments covering a wide set of services ranging from resume development, practice interviews, and job search strategy sessions, to salary negotiation, advice on planning a ‘gap year’ and many other types of support,” Clere said.
The Stuckert Career Center opened in the summer of 2000 and now employs 15 full-time staff members, including embedded academic advisers to help with major exploration, career advisers and administrative staff. Clere said the staff and resources at the Career Center exist specifically to help students navigate the career planning process, free of charge, a process that he encourages students to deliberately set time aside for.
“Develop a strategy and action plan for your job search. Job boards like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and others are fine, but they’re a passive resource and don’t often yield good results for job seekers. We recommend a more active networking approach focused on researching and connecting with employers and industries that align with your knowledge, skills, experience and career interests,” Clere said. “The Stuckert Career Center and the college-based career services offices are eager to help seniors prepare a strategy and start this process.”
Since K Week of the 2018-2019 academic year, more than 3,100 students have made individual career services appointments at the Stuckert Career Center, and many more have attended center-sponsored career fairs, career services workshops or presentations. Because the support that the Stuckert Career Center provides is only available to new graduates for a limited time period, Clere urges students to take advantage of the staff expertise and resources they have access to now.
“We encourage students to approach their job or internship search with a sense of purpose and direction, but it’s important to cast a wide net and apply for multiple career opportunities. If the end result is multiple job offers, then that’s a good problem to have, and it’s a far better outcome then only applying for a small handful of opportunities and delaying your career launch,” Clere said.
Students can make appointments with career advisers using their Handshake account and can learn more about the Stuckert Career Center and the services they provide by visiting their website at https://www.uky.edu/careercenter/.