Career Guidance and Assistance from the AIMS Career Services Team
Career guidance and assistance is often just as important as the education a school offers. Before making a decision about which school you’ll attend, it’s important to understand how that school will assist you after graduation. Whether you are attending a university, community college, or a technical school, the Career Services Department is a valuable tool that all students should take advantage of.
In the following interview we take an in-depth look at the Career Services Department at AIMS Education. This interview was conducted with the following members of the AIMS Career Services team: Smita Sharma, Nidhi Srivastava, and Richard Auslander.
What is the primary function of Career Services at AIMS Education?
Nidhi: The Career Services Department serves two primary functions. We ensure that our students are fully prepared to conduct an effective job search, and we also help students identify job opportunities that they can apply for.
When does the Career Services Department start working with students and what steps do you take to help prepare the graduates to join the workforce?
Smita: We actually start working with the students as soon as they begin their studies at AIMS, and we continue to work with them throughout their time here.
Nidhi: It’s definitely an ongoing process. And in addition to offering guidance to students, we also conduct training sessions to help them thoroughly understand the hiring process. The training covers a number of areas including job search techniques, cover letters and resume writing, how to dress for interviews, interview skills, and how to follow up with prospective employers.
Smita: As they approach graduation we’ll also work with them to find job opportunities that they can apply for. We’ll help them send out resumes and try to use our contacts to provide possible employment leads.
What do you feel are the biggest challenges you face in your efforts to help students obtain employment in their chosen fields?
Richard: For me the student’s communication skills can be a bit of a challenge. Often when applying for a position a graduate may not clearly demonstrate what they can offer to potential employers.
Our graduates have the skill set training, externship experience and certifications to be successful in their chosen fields, however if they cannot articulate their value to the employer, the process may not result in the graduate getting the job offer.
We work with the students to practice answering the “tough” interview questions and also to create a “30 second elevator speech”. The elevator speech helps the interviewee to clearly and quickly state who they are and what they have to offer.
Smita: It can range anywhere from lack of demand in a particular field to a lack of effort from the students themselves.
What topics are covered in AIMS Education’s Career Development classroom module?
Richard: We cover dressing for success, resume writing, interview skills, writing cover letters and thank you notes, job search techniques including internet searches, newspaper ads, and networking. One of the reasons we ask our students to practice their interviewing skills is to help build their confidence so they are well prepared by the time they have their interview.
Nidhi: In addition, we help them improve their public speaking and presentation skills through a variety of exercises. This is one skill set that students often need improvement in and it’s also one of the skill sets that they find to be most valuable.
I understand you have a program that allows students to work while they’re going to school. Can you tell me more about that program?
Nidhi: Yes, it sounds like you’re talking about the Earn While You Learn program. We started Earn While You Learn a little over a year ago. The program is designed to help students find part-time work in the healthcare field. It’s not only a good way for students to get some exposure to the healthcare industry, but it’s also a really great way for them to start networking with other healthcare professionals and potential employers.
How does AIMS Education assist their students and graduates in their job search?
Richard: We work side by side with the students. One step we take is having students work at externship sites in their chosen field. We have affiliations with many doctors’ offices, health care facilities and major hospitals. Some students may receive job offers from their externship sites and others we help search for the right position. We provide students with the skills to search on their own and we also provide solid leads as we find them.
Smita: The students from each program are notified whenever new jobs are available in their area. The job board in the school is also updated regularly for each program. Although we try to focus on the local areas, we also include some out of state jobs.
The idea is to give the students as many options as we can. Job Fairs are sometimes conducted on campus as well. This exposes students to a number of potential employers, and it also gives them the opportunity to hand their resumes directly to the hiring managers.
Nidhi: Developing contacts in the healthcare field is one of the most important ways we assist our students. That’s why we’re always trying to set up new affiliations with potential employers. This is done through networking, personal site visits, and attending job fairs. All of these new leads can potentially lead to hiring opportunities for our students and graduates.
Richard: We also encourage our recent graduates to work toward taking the necessary registry exams for their profession. Depending on the particular field of study, being registered through one of the professional boards can be a significant advantage over other job applicants.
Nidhi: Although we have no control over registry exam eligibility or approval – that decision can only be made by the credentialing organization – we still offer guidance to students who are navigating the application process. In fact, AIMS is a testing center for both NHA and NCCT, so students can even take those exams right here on campus.