Culture of Support

Five plus ways the Career Development Center helps students

August 31, 2018 by Brandman University
Kathy Pellegrino

Kathy Pellegrino, a career coach for Brandman University's Career Development Center, listens to a student's career questions. She helps students navigate the career exploration process.

The time to think about career opportunities isn’t when you graduate. It’s when you start taking classes.

Job and career goals evolve, says Katy Curameng, director of Brandman University’s Career Development Center (also known as Career Services). It’s a message she wants students to hear from the day they enroll.

“Our students are a mix of both career changers and career enhancers. Most are returning to school because they know furthering their education can help them in those career pursuits,” said Curameng. The problem, she said, is they don’t always know how to go about making sure their education does that. That’s where the Career Development Center can help.

“You have to be proactive. You don’t want to wait until you need it,” said Kathy Pellegrino, a career coach at the center and the person with whom most students are likely to talk. 

Pellegrino helps them explore career options, starting with assessments that give students a better sense of their interests and their strengths. “With that information, I try to help them navigate the process of what would be a good fit – the specific skills and competencies they should be looking for.”

Curameng and Pellegrino also stress that students need to pay attention to what’s happening in their industry and any other industries they’re considering for a new career. Many industries are cyclical. “I share my personal experiences (with layoffs),” said Pellegrino. “You only have so much control. Look at what’s in your toolbox and how you can put that to use elsewhere. It’s amazing how often you hear, ‘It (losing a job) is the best thing that ever happened.’”

Pellegrino also steers students toward the other career tools availablethrough the student portal: (Login required).The center’s email address is Services offered through the center are:

  • Help with resumes
  • Big Interview for virtual interview preparation
  • RecruitConnect to match students with a recruiter
  • Professional development webinars
  • CareerLink, a community directory of businesses and job openings with a specific interest in hiring Brandman students and alumni

Brandman students are automatically enrolled in CareerLink, which is similar to LinkedIn. Like the social media site emphasizing work-related information, CareerLink allows students to fill out a profile. It goes a step farther by letting students upload documents such as resumes, certificates and even relevant experience gained through their education. In the portfolio section, students can show school work that relates to jobs their seeking.

CareerLink remains active even after graduation. Students can access it as long as they remember their Brandman log-in, the same one used to access Blackboard.

The journey to career advancement or career change begins with knowing yourself, said Curameng. “They come back to Brandman for a reason, something in their life brought them back for more education. But they need to define exactly what that reason is.” Sometimes it's as simple as their boss telling them they need a degree if they want to be promoted. Other times understanding the reason involves self or career exploration to identify other paths that will bring them more satisfaction.

“Wanting a bigger salary or coming just because your company is assisting with tuition, isn’t enough to keep you motivated. People don’t always recognize what will (keep you motivated),” said Curameng.

A significant advantage for Brandman students is the flexibility and convenience of virtual sessions. “Online and virtual career coaching is still rare at most universities. Fortunately, we have the ability and the technology to support our students from wherever they may be, so geography or location is never an issue.”

Even if students don’t think they’re ready for the one-on-one help Pellegrino provides both in person in Irvine and virtually, students should take advantage of the webinars that look at specific career challenges. Upcoming webinars are:

Oct. 16: Reinventing your Career after 40

Nov. 6: The Art of Managing Up

Jan. 22: The Imposter Syndrome – Tips for overcoming feeling like a fraud

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