Planning Your Life On Line

Anyone who doubts that we have entered the age of the Internet need only look at the soaring stock prices of web-related companies. But in some ways the Internet is like a toddler: unstable, unpredictable, and unsure of itself, but “cute” and lots of fun. Lest we pile too quickly on the bandwagon, Richard Bolles in his book “Job Hunting on the Internet” points out that only 16 percent of American households go on-line in some way (only eight percent of that group accesses the Internet regularly), and less than one-tenth of one percent look for jobs on line.

However, the Internet is a powerful tool for students, and they must become adept in navigating that world. A significant amount of information is available to them on-line, which can be very useful as they get involved in the career and life planning process.

This year for the first time, the Career and Life Planning office will offer a workshop for students on using the Internet for career and life planning. Some students are already adept at surfing the web, but we have been impressed with the number who are not, and we want to give them access to these tools. Participants in the workshop will learn the basics of Internet use to:

  • research companies
  • check the classified ads in major newspapers
  • access job listings and job search help
  • research graduate schools
  • get information about the Graduate Record Exam and other tests
  • get financial aid information
  • find ministry and missions groups
  • find an internship

We have just completed our own website (www.westmont.edu/student life/clp), and I encourage you to take a look at it. Students and alumni now have a variety of helpful resources at their fingertips: information on resume writing, interviewing skills, job search techniques, choosing a graduate school, internships, etc. One of the most valuable sections of the web site is the one titled Internet Resources, which provides links to the best sites we have found.

While the Internet is a great resource, there is no substitute for the kind of human contact that occurs in events like our third annual Job Expo. Scheduled for March 15, this event brings to campus representatives from companies such as Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Infogenesis, Nickelodeon Animation, and Kinkos; various ministries and social service agencies (including the Peace Corps); schools; and temp agencies. Some employers may offer part-time and internship opportunities as well. Students will have an opportunity to meet with these representatives and give them a resume.

The Internet may never replace traditional job-search strategies, but it offers additional opportunities for students looking for a good position. We want to make sure that Westmont alumni know how to use all the tools at their disposal as they plan their life after graduation.

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