In order to get a job, students need experience. In order to get experience, they need a job.
Students can often find themselves stuck in this trap. How do they get a job in their field when they do not even know where to start? Christine Routzahn has a simple answer. Come to the Career Center.
UMBC’s Career Center, located on the second floor of the Math/Psychology building, offers several services to students related to professional development. Students can meet with Career Specialists to discuss their options for future internships and research projects, review their resume or simply explore what different paths are open to them.
According to Routzahn, Director of the Career Center, they seek to “empower all students and alumni to create their own success story. We want to meet you where you are. Everything that we do centers around helping students understand what their career options are.”
Kacie Lawrence, the Associate Director of Internships and Employment, stated that what makes the UMBC Career Center unique is that “We do our best to personalize our services . … you get to form a relationship with somebody over the years.”
The Career Center offers drop-in hours from 2-4p.m. every weekday during which students can come in without an appointment and get their resume reviewed or meet one-on-one with a counselor.
“I wish [students] knew how important it is to come in here early-on in their college career,” Lawrence said. When students come in early-on, the Career Center can help them map out their plan for success.
One of the main goals of the Career Center is to connect students with internships. Routzahn advises that internships not only help students decide what they enjoy doing, but that most companies are hiring their full-time employees from their pool of interns.
Over the last year, the Career Center connected students with over 600 employers. They also encourage students to use multiple networks and resources. Routzahn noted that the Career Center “works in unison with faculty” to connect students with internships for which they can receive academic credit.
Routzahn explained that there’s a reason that companies like Amazon come to recruit at UMBC: “UMBC students have a strong reputation out in the work force [and] we value making sure that we get [students] in front of important people and decision makers,” she said. “UMBC students are in high demand.”
Ray Fox, a staffing lead for the National Security Agency, has been recruiting UMBC students for several years. Fox’s own three sons graduated from UMBC and he said that the agency keeps coming back because “UMBC produces outstanding students.”
Fox explained that NSA has a “really good partnership with UMBC, people from the agency come to [the campus] almost 20-30 times a year.” He noted that the agency focuses on applicants’ skills and work experience as well as academic background.
Routzahn encourages students to view the calendar of upcoming events on the Career Center website, notably the Fall Career Fair and Internship Fair on Sept. 27. The fair will have over 130 different organizations to recruit students for upcoming summer internship programs.
One unique feature of this career fair is its freshman-friendly component. Employers can designate themselves as freshman-friendly, meaning that they have opportunities available for underclassmen students. According to Routzahn, “There’s a perception that it’s just for juniors and seniors, but career fairs are for everyone.”
The overarching message of the Career Center is that it is never too soon to start considering your future. As Routzahn put it, “This is your time to look.”
Correction: A previous version of this article inaccurately named the event on Sept. 27. It is the Fall Career and Internship Fair.