It is important to note that career centers play a critical role in helping students to find jobs and employment opportunities while they are at the university or college to ensure a smoother transition to the labor market without any significant delays. The analysis will primarily focus on the virtual visit to the career and transfer center at Berkeley City College or BCC.
The virtual visit took place at 13.00 GMT -8 on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, through the official website of BCC’s career center. The center mainly uses its website page to provide all of the essential information to its students, and it also contains all the contact information for staff members accessible through the links. The webpage also has the main contact information, where it is stated: “please either call our office at 510-981-2811 or email us at [email protected]” (“Career and transfer center,” 2021, para. 1). In addition, it is stated that “the Career and Transfer Office will maintain remote office hours between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm on Monday – Thursday and 9:00 am – 12:00 pm on Friday. The center will offer Zoom appointments for transfer questions and guidance, updates for transfer” (“Career and transfer center,” 2021, para. 1). In other words, there are specifically allocated hours for consultation and online meetings via Zoom. The center’s webpage also has virtual chat support, which can be useful for more detailed and personalized career counseling. On the counseling page, a student can easily schedule an appointment with a competent specialist in order to obtain a piece of valuable information (“Academic counseling department,” 2021). Therefore, BCC’s career center can be considered well-developed and convenient to use due to a multitude of ways a student can have access to its services.
My overall impression of the environment and office is positive, and I think that BCC’s career center is among exemplary centers which provide all the necessary tools and information for a student to have his or her career and academic needs met. It should be noted that the main strength of the webpage of the career center is its literature. In other words, one can obtain almost all relevant and necessary information from the transfer and career resource pages. For example, a career resource page contains invaluable information on career research, career resources, as well as profile and resume-building (“Career resource,” 2021). Therefore, it is likely that a student might not even need to contact chat support or schedule an appointment to obtain more information since all the resources are provided on the page. In my experience, I was able to schedule an appointment and contact the staff effortlessly both through the main email and phone number. My email was responded to within half an hour, which I consider to be quick. Therefore, the second major strength is the timely response and reciprocity of the center when it comes to assisting students.
However, I would consider the layout of the website as the main weakness of the webpage. The main problem is that the entire webpage is designed as a column with large bodies of text, which are inconvenient to scroll through since it takes an excessive amount of searching to the link that might interest a student. Although the resource page is highly informative and self-sufficient on its own, other links are comparatively worse due to their topics diverging from the center’s primary purpose. In addition, the center does not utilize social media platforms as extensively as it could have, which makes it heavily reliant only on its website. In other words, one will have a hard time obtaining valuable information solely through their social media pages. Lastly, the chat support is also complicated compared to commercial chat support since its uses a pop window with a high loading time.
Although I would categorize BCC’s career center as superb in all regards, the changes would affect several areas of the center, which are designed to improve already decent services. The first recommendation is to advise students on the choice of a specialty and the construction of an individual educational route by students. The planned and goal-oriented implementation of which in the process of professional training will allow the student to become a competitive and unique specialist in the field. The second proposal is to implement a more open and frequent organization of meetings with representatives of various companies operating in the region, who answer questions from listeners, inform about the availability of vacancies, and voice the requirements for candidates. The main reason is that these events were not available when I asked the staff about such meetings. The third recommendation is a more modern and competent organization of training for teaching students how to work with sites for finding and selecting vacancies, writing a resume, and writing cover letters to a potential employer, which are not solely reliant on the resource page. It also applies to working with students on various situations that may arise during an interview with a potential employer. The internet remains the main source for employers in finding personnel today, so it is important to teach students how to work with this resource.
Fourth, I would include the conduct of intensive training aimed at helping in assessing their own potential and teaching technologies for effective employment. Fifth, I would conduct more detailed monitoring of the needs of the labor market for specialists, in particular, graduates of a particular university, and monitor the employment of graduates. The source of information can be Internet resources, the results of surveys and questionnaires of employees of enterprises and organizations, as well as former graduates of the university. Depending on the monitoring results, it is necessary to adjust the educational programs of the university. In addition, the results of the study are necessary for the students themselves to identify their weaknesses and strengths, understand the situation in the labor market, and adjust the educational route in accordance with its needs. Sixth, more precise coordination and development of interaction between local enterprises and higher education institutions are important in order to organize practice at enterprises for university students.
In conclusion, BCC’s career center is outstanding and exemplary in general when compared to other centers. The main strength is rooted in its strong and highly informative website, which provides all the necessary information a student might need. In addition, the staff and support are responsive to both email and phone calls, which means that personalized consultation is also strong. However, the primary weakness of the webpage is its layout, which requires too much navigation through scrolling due to its column design. The chat support also feels poorly set up since its loads for excessively long and does not meet the modern standards of good chat-based service.
Academic counseling department. (2021). Web.
Career and transfer center. (2021). Web.
Career resource. (2021). Web.