A Roadmap for Today’s Work World
Career Center Offers Tailored Services to Help Aggies Navigate a Career Path
Photos by Olivia Garza '24
The Career Center is dedicated to helping students as well as prospective and former students navigate today’s work world. Initially founded in 1939, the center offers comprehensive career planning and employment services to all Texas A&M students—regardless of degree, major or classification. The Career Center also serves employers by scheduling on-campus interviews and information sessions, posting job opportunities, connecting recruiters to student organizations and the campus community, engaging employers in and events, and providing strategic insights for those organizations recruiting Aggies.
By Dorian Martin ‘06
Hannah Bailey ’24 has always loved math and science—and especially chemistry. With those aptitudes and the growing need for STEM professionals in mind, the Huffman, Texas, native decided to study chemical engineering at Texas A&M University.
However, as she started diving into coursework, Bailey struggled with how her coursework would translate into a career. “It’s been tough. During my freshman and sophomore years, I didn’t use my resources; I felt super lost and confused,” the first-generation Aggie said. “There have been a lot of tears, a lot of confusion, a lot of time spent searching.”
Bailey, pictured below, did not give in to her fear. She began exploring options, and she credits Texas A&M’s Career Center, part of the Division of Student Affairs, for offering a wealth of services and support that helped her gain clarity about all of her career opportunities. Now she’s gaining the attention of recruiters and has the luxury of deciding between multiple offers for internships. “It’s a big decision, but it’s a really great position to be in, for sure,” she said.
A Step Ahead Professionally
The Career Center is dedicated to helping students like Bailey as well as prospective and former students navigate today’s work world. Initially founded in 1939, the center offers comprehensive career planning and employment services to all Texas A&M students—regardless of degree, major or classification. The Career Center also serves employers by scheduling on-campus interviews and information sessions, posting job opportunities, connecting recruiters to student organizations and the campus community, engaging employers in and events, and providing strategic insights for those organizations recruiting Aggies.
“We are a centralized career center on a large campus, and we serve all students, helping them to reach the goals they have for when they leave campus,” said Career Center Executive Director Samantha Wilson ’91. “Whether they want to go into a specific industry, start their own business or gain the skills necessary to work in a variety of fields, we work to provide them with the skills, knowledge and abilities to be successful.”
A fundamental part of the Career Center’s model are career coordinators, who provide specialized career advice specific to every degree program on campus.
The Career Center also supports Aggies with major and career exploration, professional networking resources, resume and cover letter assistance, interview preparation, compensation evaluation, and a career closet that helps Aggies have professional clothes to wear to interviews. As a result of the pandemic, the center now offers more online offerings, including virtual career advising programs and resume reviews, and hybrid events. Through a collaboration with The Association of Former Students, former students can also tap into this expertise, regardless of graduation date and work experience.
Additionally, the Career Center serves as the university’s central point of contact for companies and recruiting organizations. This single point of contact helps recruiters find strong Aggie applicants for specific job openings, across all industries and fields.
Last year, the Career Center made more than 26,000 advising contacts and facilitated more than 1,000 programs and presentations with more than 50,000 participants. To meet the ever-changing career needs of Aggies, Career Center staff continually stay abreast of the latest information and trends. “As we continue to move forward, what we really want to focus on are the needs of all the students we serve and meeting them where they are,” Wilson said. “As students enter college and as the economy continues to evolve, needs change. We work hard to ensure that we have the best processes, services and resources in place to meet those needs.”
As the daughter of a policeman and nurse, Bailey needed help navigating uncharted professional territory. “I don’t have any family members or family friends who are engineers,” she explained. “It’s been a whole new ballgame for me, and it’s been stressful to not have any idea what this world looks like, especially coming from a small town without a lot of engineering expertise.”
Fortunately, she’s benefitted from the Career Center’s timely and individualized support. “The main thing that has been most important to me has been scheduling a career advising appointment. I had no idea how much that was going to help me,” Bailey said. “Since then, I’ve dropped into advising 2 to 3 times to get help on a variety of issues and questions.”
She especially has come to rely on the guidance of her career coordinator, who helped her assess her strengths and skills so she could identify jobs that would be a good match. “I put a lot of trust in him,” she said. “He has experience in both the technical and business side of engineering so he’s provided me with a lot of expertise and hope that my degree could be used for so many different things.”
The Aggie also credits other Career Center services for coaching her in how she could put her best foot forward with potential employers. The first was an elevator pitch workshop to help her get noticed. “I didn’t even know what an elevator pitch was so when the presenter gave us a homework assignment, I practiced,” she said.
Well prepared, Bailey took full advantage of one of the many career fairs that take place across campus throughout the year to network with recruiters from various companies. “I talked to about 10 companies each day,” she said. “It was a really great opportunity to see what type of company I wanted to work for based on the people I was talking to and how explicit they were about benefits and job title.”
She credits the Career Center with helping her get recruiters’ attention, which resulted in five offers for internships. “I know some other students who didn’t go to that workshop, who didn’t do an elevator pitch, and who didn’t treat the career fair as professionally as the Career Center told us to treat it,” she said. “They didn’t get any interviews from the event because they didn’t utilize the resources.”
Ultimately, the Career Center helped Bailey find clarity about her future career direction and a roadmap of the appropriate steps to take. She’s arrowed her options and is now focused on becoming an engineering consultant, a career in which she can use both people skills and chemical engineering knowledge. “Talking to my career coordinator helped me realize that there are so many jobs that I am going to enjoy from this degree,” she said. “I was unaware of all the opportunities available to me until the Career Center showed me the light at the end of the tunnel. It was the hope that I needed.”
Texas A&M prospective, current and former students, as well as faculty and staff may learn more on the Career Center’s website. To learn more about how you or your company or organization can support the Career Center, contact Sarah Hamilton ’22, assistant director of development, at email@example.com or call 979-458-1689.