Frequently Asked Questions
We understand that as a parent you are concerned about your student's well-being from the beginning. This is why we have created a list of our most popular parent-asked questions.
- What services does the Office of Career Development provide?
- How can my student learn about what career options are available?
- What is the connection between my student’s choice of major and ultimate career?
- My student wants to major in something that seems impractical. What are the risks or benefits of majoring in an obscure field?
- My student is deeply involved in one or two extracurricular activities, but his or her grades might be a little better if he or she cut back on them and concentrated more on studying. Will that help him/her get a better job after graduation?
- What are some ways employers look for new hires?
- What is the connection between earnings and choice of undergraduate major?
- How do employers evaluate when they consider job candidates?
- What’s the difference between a job and an internship? Are all internships unpaid?
- What resources are available to help my student find a job?
- Given our financial situation, my student needs to earn as much as possible during the summer and the school year. How do employers look at students who have a lot of work experience, but may not have much career-related experience?
- What is the range of graduate and professional school options available to Mount Union graduates?
- Is graduate or professional school necessary for being competitive in the job market?
- Is taking time off before going to graduate or professional school looked down upon?
- What can Career Development provide your student in his or her efforts to prepare for graduate school?
What services does the Office of Career Development provide?
Career Development offers guidance on all aspects of career planning, job searching, as well as preparing for graduate school. We provide individual counseling through scheduled appointments and “walk-ins,” where students can come without an appointment to get quick questions asked and answered. We host a database of internships and full-time post-graduate positions, and facilitate the preparation for their job search through assistance with resumes, cover letters, interviewing practice, and networking skills.
The Office of Career Development provides students the opportunity to post their resumes on College Central Network. This Internet based company allows students to search potential employers as well as employers to find a Mount Union student for their company.
We also work with students on the application process to graduate and professional school, including advising on application strategies, reviewing personal statements, and graduate school essays.Back to List
How can my student learn about what career options are available?Back to List
There are many ways for students to explore the vast range of career opportunities available to them. Students who meet with a Career Development staff member will be directed to many of the following resources and empowered to continue searching these resources to their satisfaction.
The career advisors are knowledgeable in the latest career and personality assessments. Students can take these short assessments and learn what career fields work best with their personalities.
Online Job Boards contain unlimited postings from around the country. Students who are questioning what to do with their major can look at these boards and see what jobs are available in the market.
Through extracurricular activities, jobs and internships, and volunteer service, students can “try on” different roles, experience different environments, and uncover the opportunities that exist in different types of organizations.
Students can browse College Central Network to see which employers are searching for Mount Union students.
Students can also utilize other campus resources such as Counseling Services, Student Employment, the Office of Alumni Activities, and especially professors.
What is the connection between my student’s choice of major and ultimate career?Back to List
This is a very complicated issue, because some fields of study connect very directly to specific career fields, while others may not have intrinsic connections, though lead to impressive and stable career options. For example, a major in Architecture or Education will prepare a student for graduate study in the field or jobs as an architect or teacher. However, students with these majors, and the skills attained from their studies, may also seek positions in fields similar, but not directly connected, to those degrees. The architect might opt to teach art in a private school and the education major may get a job as a consultant at a textbook publishing company.
Majors without clear “links” to specific career fields, however, offer students content knowledge and transferable skills that prove highly competitive both in employment and graduate study. Career Development distributes and analyzes a post-graduate survey that details the activities of our students after their time at Mount Union. This can give you a picture of what students from different disciplines have accomplished with their majors.
My student wants to major in something that seems impractical. What are the risks or benefits of majoring in an obscure field?Back to List
The most important element in determining a choice of major should be the student’s interest in and ability to do well in the field. In general, if students are interested and engaged in a subject, they will have a greater success rate and have a much more rewarding educational experience. When students are excited about their studies, they communicate that enthusiasm, to their faculty, to graduate schools, and to employers -- resulting in lifelong relationships with professors, in a broader choice of where to continue their education, and in a much wider choice of job options both during the summers and after graduation.
Often disciplines that seem impractical are highly attractive to a very wide range of employers and graduate schools. As examples, History and Sociology students have found themselves in positions assisting on clinical trials, continuing studies in public health, and/or working for national or international health advocacy organizations, like the Red Cross. Philosophy majors can hold great interest for consulting firms, political candidates, and/or government organizations, in addition to law schools.
Suffering through a so-called practical discipline in which a student has no interest or ability to succeed makes the educational experience much less rewarding and successful, both while at Mount Union and after graduation. Through elective courses, students can fill in the practical gaps while concentrating on subject matter that interests them. For example, a Finance major who might be interested in a person-centered career can take courses in psychology and communication to acquire easily transferable skills.
My student is deeply involved in one or two extracurricular activities, but his or her grades might be a little better if he or she cut back on them and concentrated more on studying. Will that help him/her get a better job after graduation?Back to List
Some employers consider it extremely important that students are “well rounded,” including involvement in activities outside of class. For example, participation in student government, on athletic teams, and in Greek organizations all provide opportunities for students to work in teams and on projects that develop skills different from those used in the classroom.
If students spread themselves too thin, and are involved in so many organizations that their academics suffer, they may be encouraged to narrow down their activities to one or two that they find particularly rewarding, and focus on improving their academic work. However, if the difference in academic performance is insignificant (for example, the difference between a 3.56 and a 3.68), then participation in extra-curricular activity can be beneficial to the student.
Finally, where extra-curricular activities are concerned, in general employers prefer depth to breadth. Substantial involvement in one or two activities in which a student has achieved a leadership role is far preferable to superficial involvement in a multitude of different activities.
- Organization’s Internship or Co-op program
- On-campus Recruiting
- Career/Job Fairs
- Networking Contacts and Referrals
- Student Organizations
- Internet Job Postings
- Job Postings Sent to the Office of Career Development
- Social Media such as LinkedIn
What is the connection between earnings and choice of undergraduate major?Back to List
In the long term, there is no clear correlation between undergraduate major and earnings. The issue is one of career path, and that (as discussed above) is only indirectly connected to area of study. While some fields (law, medicine) are associated with higher salaries than others, there is often no direct connection between major and the ability to pursue these careers. For example, English majors who complete their pre-medical requirements apply to medical school successfully and religious studies majors are admitted to law school.
How do employers evaluate when they consider job candidates?Back to List
Employers look at a wide range of factors. As with most career-related issues, what will be most important will vary depending on the type of employer. They will consider curriculum, grade point average, transferable skills acquired, employment/internship history and volunteer work, extra-curricular activities, and “fit.” Depending on the employer, these qualities will be weighted differently. Some employers will focus more on work experience in their field; others will focus on level of leadership activity, and others on grades. In general, employers look for students who have performed well in a variety of areas.
What’s the difference between a job and an internship? Are all internships unpaid?Back to List
While often the terms job and internship are used interchangeably, in the case of post-graduate positions, the term job is generally associated with work that is ongoing (has no end date), while the term internship is associated with a time-delimited position, ranging from one semester to two years. At Mount Union, internships are more academically focused; students can receive class credit for internships.
In the case of summer positions, calling a position a job or an internship gets very murky, and is simply a matter of choice on the part of the employer. Some summer jobs are called internships, and visa versa, and all are time-delimited. However, the main difference in this case is that internships are associated with the opportunity for students to learn something specific or new.
Internships can be paid or unpaid. The term internship does not necessarily imply that a position is unpaid, though often that may be the case. For post-graduate positions, those specifically designated as internships are quite likely to be paid. Likewise, it is possible that an employer may offer an unpaid summer job.
- Through College Central Network and other online Job Boards, students can search for opportunities using a range of search criteria including location, type of industry, and type of job.
The University hosts on-campus and off-campus career fairs. These fairs are an excellent opportunity to speak with employers face-to-face, often by-passing cumbersome on-line application systems. The key to success at a job fair is to be well-prepared and walk in with a strategy which includes having thoroughly researched the employers.
The Career Development Office strongly encourages all students to schedule an individual appointment with a member of our professional staff. We will guide the student through the process of developing a job search strategy specific to the individual student; including their geographic, career, and employer preferences.
On most Tuesdays throughout the school year, the university hosts a variety of professionals who conduct mock interviews for our students. The interviewer will provide honest feedback regarding each students’ answers, dress, and communication style. Students must register for an interview spot early in the semester. Students may also schedule appointments with our staff to review interview techniques and learn how to respond to difficult questions.
Given our financial situation, my student needs to earn as much as possible during the summer and the school year. How do employers look at students who have a lot of work experience, but may not have much career-related experience?Back to List
Employers ultimately want employees who are hard workers, and a track record of serious hard work is impressive. While there may be some fields where lack of any experience can be an obstacle to permanent employment, Career Services Advisors will work with students to overcome these obstacles. There may be classes that offer practical experience, or other ways for students to develop the skills a particular employer might seek.
What is the range of graduate and professional school options available to Mount Union graduates?Back to List
Graduate school encompasses courses in fields of study as different as a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.), a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), a J.D., or an M.D., among many others. The thing to keep in mind about graduate study is that it is more technical and specific than undergraduate schooling,and it sometimes combines academic and practical training. Professional masters degrees, like the M.B.A. or the M.S.W., are practical degrees that prepare students for specific career paths. Their curricula are often multi-disciplinary and can include semester- and year-long practica.
Is graduate or professional school necessary for being competitive in the job market?Back to List
This depends upon the field. If one is working in software development, for instance, an undergraduate degree may be sufficient. Some business leaders, for example, are presently questioning whether an M.B.A. early in one’s career is an appropriate means to develop one’s soft skills, such as leadership, teamwork, communication and the ability to think creatively. There may be a growing preference for individuals who have improved their skills through real life experiences.
Other fields, such as medicine and other areas of health care, law, library science, or academic careers, require graduate training. Good background research will enable your student to determine the most appropriate educational path.
Is taking time off before going to graduate or professional school looked down upon?Back to List
Given the broad range of graduate programs and their various requirements for admittance, there is no single answer to this question. Many professional degrees prefer applicants with two to three years of experience in a relevant area of work. Certain career paths such as medicine or a Ph.D. in the Arts or Sciences require a profound level of personal commitment. With this said, it is best if an applicant has had enough related experiences in order to make an informed judgment about what the practice of medicine or a career as a professor entail.
On the other hand, certain fields, like a Ph.D. in Mathematics or Economics, require applicants to have quantitative skills in top form, and it may be best to apply early to Ph.D. programs in these areas so that the student will begin the program soon after undergraduate completion. Again, gathering information about the field is the best way to prepare for a particular graduate degree.
- What can Career Development provide your student in his or her efforts to prepare for graduate school?
Our advisors help students in some of the following areas: determining the fit between graduate programs, career plans and vocational interests; educating applicants about the details of the application process; and reading applicants’ personal statements to provide critiques. Finally, we also encourage our students to meet with faculty for current advice about the most appropriate programs in their disciplines.
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