Embedding Career Guidance in Your Course

Laura Brade, History

The ACUE course has prompted me to help my European History 1500-2000 students connect their coursework to their career goals. I want students to make these connections for a few reasons. For one, many of them could benefit from a direct connection to campus resources. I am also teaching this class primarily to non-majors, so I want them to leave the class knowing why it was relevant to their career development. Additionally, many are interested in history but unsure of the career outcomes for history majors. I want to help them fill in the gaps.

I decided to provide ways for students to connect the writing skills built thus far in the course to the task of writing their resumes. The day they submitted a paper, I worked with them to develop language for their resumes that would explain the skills they had gained in in the writing process. I discovered that, as long as they can articulate those skills, they can easily recognize their usefulness in the job market.

I also had Troy Kase give a presentation on the services offered by the Career and Internship Center. This gave students direct contact with the Center. They were very engaged with Troy’s presentation. They took notes and asked questions, especially about the careers of Albion alums. I had prepped them for this activity in the previous class, so many of the questions were thoughtful and relevant. Multiple students commented that they were going to register for LinkedIn over the weekend and begin setting up their resumes. They also wrote reflections at the end of the class, commenting on how to translate skills and previous experience into “valuable resume material.” Last week, Troy followed up with our class by arranging for us to meet with an Albion alum via web conference. The alum explained their current job to the class, how they got the position, and how they use the skills that they learned as a history major on a day-to-day basis.

I would definitely do this again. Here’s why: students have come to class more prepared and more motivated to learn. I have also seen an increase in the number of students who utilize my office hours to improve their course work, to follow up with additional thoughts about our in-class discussions, and ask questions about history-related internships and careers.