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DCE Magazine

Winter 2022

A One-Stop Center for Success

UCI DCE Career Services adds premium resources and one-on-one advising sessions to select certificate programs. Free resources also available to students and the general public.

A continuing education certificate can provide a solid foundation for anyone looking to advance in their career or transition to a new one. Learning from experienced professionals and capitalizing on networking opportunities are vital building blocks for success. But the certificate alone is just the beginning of the journey.

Honing interview skills, crafting a standout resume, and finding the best employment and internship opportunities are key to landing a lucrative dream job. And that’s precisely the mission behind Career Services, a recently expanded one-stop center for DCE students and alumni that offers a range of valuable resources.

“We empower our students to take control of their job search by providing access to one-on-one career advising sessions and technology like VMock, Big Interview and Handshake,” said Dakota Serafin, UCI DCE Career Educator. “Our technology, in combination with the one-on-one career advising appointments, provide students assistance in formulating job application documents, interview preparation, and access to UCI’s job and internship search platform.”

Launched a year ago to serve the Project Management and Paralegal certificate programs, Career Services has expanded to include Esports Management, Data Science, Human Resources, and E-Learning Instructional Design. The idea was to focus Career Services resources on programs that reach the largest number of students, Serafin said. The benefits are significant, providing a comprehensive pathway for participants to take their DCE education to the next level.

“Students in these programs are able to access our technologies to search for employment opportunities, practice their virtual interviewing skills, and receive 24/7 resume help through the use of our VMock resume-review platform,” Serafin said. “Additionally, they are able to schedule 30-min one-on-one advising appointments with me to discuss anything career-related.”

Career Services platforms feature a number of easy-to-use tools. Handshake has an interface for searching targeted job opportunities and internships within a chosen field, allowing candidates to directly connect with employers who are actively recruiting DCE students and alumni, as well as network with former students who have worked for these companies.

VMock, powered by AI, allows candidates to upload a resume and get instant feedback, then edit it accordingly and resubmit until it receives a top score. And Big Interview provides challenging virtual mock interviews for all experience levels, covering dozens of industries. It also has a database of thousands of typical job interview questions, along with tips on how to answer them.

These technologies are complimented by private counseling sessions that allow students to discuss specific concerns and career goals. For Serafin, meeting and interacting with all the participants is her favorite aspect of managing Career Services.

“To me, the one-on-one advising sessions are the best part. It’s so much fun. Students will come in because they want help with their resumes, and once we get talking, we end up covering so much more than just resume writing. I’ve met a lot of them beforehand. I have a great rapport with the instructors, and they sometimes invite me to give talks to their students. And I love meeting returning students and see how far they’ve come, how they’ve managed to advance their careers even during the pandemic.”

Dakota Serafin

“We empower our students to take control of their job search.” Dakota Serafin, Career Educator

Blazing a career path

The Career Services website features a number of free resources including recorded webinars and helpful how-to Career Guide videos, tutorials that address resumes and cover letters, networking, interviewing and job searches. The site has links to Career Success Specialization open online courses presented by Coursera — a series that includes subjects such as Project Management, Finance for Non-Finance Professionals and High-Impact Business Writing. Each course can be taken independently or all together in any order, culminating in a certificate of completion following a capstone project.

Career Services also links to CareerZot, UCI DCE’s official blog that covers a broad range of current career-related topics. Recent posts include Managing Your Team in a Virtual World, Finding a New Career During the COVID-19 Pandemic, and Writing a Captivating Bio in 10 Easy Steps. “CareerZot is a great blog,” Serafin said. “It features current, curated topics, and it has become very popular. It really took off during the COVID lockdown.”

After expanding to six certificate programs, Career Services will likely be adding more in the near future, along with a new lineup of Career Discovery Series webinars featuring panels of experts addressing current issues and topics relevant to the participating programs.

“We are excited to once again host a Career Discovery Series panel in collaboration with the Division of Career Pathways. The success of last year’s Project Management panel is getting us very excited to start brainstorming this year’s event,” Serafin said. “Additionally, we are looking forward to hosting webinars that appeal to all of our programs with topics ranging from virtual interviewing to networking in a hybrid world.”

Preparing for growth

Following a year of expansion and early success — along with rave reviews from participants — Career Services seems to be just getting started.

“Definitely! It’s great to see the progress we’ve made in our first year, and our hope is to continue expanding to other DCE certificate programs over the next few years,” Serafin said. “We have grown from two programs to six this year — and we want to keep that momentum going.”

Learn more about Career Services.