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Fletcher Career Experts Get Candid

In this two-part series, senior members of the Office of Career Services share tips, tools and job-finding resources for students and alumni.

For students of all ages and stages of their careers, finding a job after graduation - let alone landing the dream job they’ve been working toward for a decade - can be an intimidating and overwhelming process. We sat down with Elana Givens, director of The Fletcher School’s Office of Career Services team and Associate Director Helen Anderson to learn more about what OCS has to offer and ways that students can position themselves for job-finding success.

When in your Fletcher tenure is the right time to get involved with OCS? 

Before you arrive! Admitted students are watching professional development program (PDP) webinars in August and complete the assignment to have an uploaded resume before they even get to campus.

Don’t panic if you haven’t even located the Office of Career Services yet (Mugar 243)! It’s better late than never, and the OCS team is here to help students at all stages of their Fletcher career.  

What is the Professional Development Program?

The nine-class PDP is mandatory for most Fletcher students and covers a range of relevant career search topics over a series of webinars and six in-class sessions. PDP participants are exposed to real life examples of career search do’s and don’ts and encouraged to ask questions.    

What are some of the most powerful resources that OCS offers that Fletcher students may not be aware of? 

The OCS team is organized by sector: private, public, and international organizations and nonprofits. We offer one-on-one coaching and mock interview sessions with immediate feedback for students as they prepare for their next big interview. We help students look at a job description, identify the key soft and hard skill requirements, and then develop evidence to show that they are qualified for the position. 

The career field guides live behind the Fletcher Careers Central portal online, and offer an in-depth exploration of 30 career fields including a description of each sector and related employers. All APSIA schools use and participate in updating the guides regularly. OCS staff can help “Fletcherize” these guides by identifying relevant courses that students should be taking and offering broader advice about fundamental skill building and gaining field experience. We look holistically and practically at what skills students need to have to get hired. 

Are there any new initiatives that students should take advantage of?

A new member of the OCS toolbox is VMock, an artificial intelligence resume review software. VMock analyzes a resume for things like spelling, grammar, format, and repetition of words, but also searches for soft skills like leadership and communication. Resumes are scored on five parameters and get a composite score between 1-100. We encourage students to work toward a score of 70 or higher and then come see us. This allows our career coaches to dig into what the student really wants to do and the content of their resume rather than spending time doing basic editing. 

Another tool OCS offers is Big Interview, an interview practice software that allows applicants to practice their interview skills 24/7. Big Interview offers mock interviews tailored to your specific industry so you can prepare and practice responses to common questions.   

In the second installment of our conversation with OCS, we explore broader questions about what makes Fletcher students stand out from the pack, resources for alumni, and how OCS keeps up with the ever-changing job market.