Resources at Career Center prepare students for the future

Kate Pratt works at the Career Center front desk as she talks to Courtney Eddy

Mississippi State University’s Career Center provides resources to help students pick majors, search for career paths and prepare for interviews.

Leslie Neal, director of the Career Center's marketing and events, said the center offers two assessments to help students discover a major that fits them.

"The first one is a free assessment is called TypeFocus," Neal said. "TypeFocus is a personality-based assessment which means it'll ask questions based on your personality."

According to Neal, the TypeFocus assessment provides a four letter personality type after being completed.

"Based on those four letters, it goes into a lot of details about what that means for you as a person," Neal said.

Neal explained the second interest-based assessment option, the Strong Interest Inventory assessment.

"It's literally showing you occupations that align with your interests, and it's a very thorough assessment," Neal said. "That one is $20."

Neal described how the interest-based assessment provides a clear pathway to potential careers based on one’s interests.

"It compares you to other people who share the same likes and dislikes and then it tells you the professions that they are in and that they enjoy," Neal said.

As for recommendations, Neal referenced the center’s Connections application as a resource for researching and preparing for future careers.

"Connections is basically our job board that every student at MSU has access to," Neal said.

Martha Jones, associate director of the Career Center’s employer relations and recruiting, also emphasized the importance of the Connections service.

"One of the things that we want to do early on as a freshman is getting freshmen comfortable utilizing Connections but also coming into our office," Jones said.

Additionally, Neal mentioned the mock interview available for students on Connections.

"In Connections, they give you a mock interview, and it allows you to go in there and pick the questions that you want," Neal said. "Perhaps you're going for a marketing interview, you can go into like marketing interview questions."

Students have the option to meet in person, or virtually with a staff member to prepare or students can record themselves conducting a mock interview.

"We don't even know how we appear to others when we're interviewing or what type of quirks that we have," Neal said.

Neal explained how the mock interview works.

"A lot of times, we'll ask questions to find out what job you are trying to apply to, and once we know that information, we tailor the questions based on the job you're applying to," Neal said.

Neal said the most vital resource for freshmen is the Connections board.

"It's a great resource to look for part-time jobs, full-time jobs or internships," Neal said.

Students can set up an appointment to meet with a career adviser.

"We have an adviser here in the Career Center for every major on campus, so somebody is designated to specific majors," Neal said.

Kylah Hooks, a senior majoring in kinesiology, visited the center during her sophomore year hoping to clarify her career path.

"This was a time when I was a biology major, and I had an idea of what I wanted to do," Hooks said. "This solidified it."

During her appointment, Hooks said her career adviser explained the purpose of the assessment and helped her realize what she wished to gain from it.

"I was basically trying to weed out different majors and career paths that I wanted," Hooks said. "It takes about a week or two for them to go through the process."

When Hooks returned to the center, she received a packet of majors and career options to choose from.

"I think it was 10 pages of what I would most benefit from and what I'm most likely going to want to do in the future," Hooks said.

Hooks said the center broadened her scope of possibilities.

"She (Hooks' Career Center adviser) had programs from the (Mississippi University for Women) and programs from other schools that I could do and still be a Mississippi State student," Hooks said.

Hooks said she found the center helpful when deciding her major.

"I think I switched my major that week too," Hooks said humorously.

Jones further explained how the center prepared new students for the interview process and finding employment.

"For freshmen, it is also to prepare you for career fairs," Jones said. "A lot of students right now, they are very intimidated by the career fair."

To overcome intimidation from career events, Jones recommended students to meet with a career adviser to prepare for interviews and to combat potential nervousness.

Associate Director Jones said the center prepares students for the end game of finding full-time work.

"We have employees that recruit for part time jobs locally in the Golden Triangle area," Jones said. "That's a way for them to gain experience."

Additionally, Jones hoped to add listings of student worker positions to the Connections board. 

For more information, visit the Career Center's website.

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