Where do you turn to when you’re an online student and need career advice? Google? Your family? Colleagues? Friends?

Let’s be honest: Google may be mighty, but it doesn’t have all the answers, and your friends and family may mean well, but they don’t always have the best advice, either.

How about letting Ball State’s pros handle it for you at The Career Center?

About The Career Center

The Career Center at Ball State handles practically all things career-related, from networking with employers to job fairs to resume building. Don’t let the fact you’re an online student dissuade you from using their services, though; according to Brandon Bute, The Career Center’s associate director for career development, up to 95 percent of their services are available in an online format to remote learners.

What The Career Center is most known for is individual career coaching—which, conveniently, is offered both online and via telephone for online students.

“We actually have a number of students who are out of state, and alumni will take advantage of it too,” says Bute. “Certainly with the growth and boom of Zoom over the last few years, we‘ve really tapped into those video conference tools. We can also use Microsoft Teams if that’s more accessible. The career coaching service is probably one of the top resources students use.”

The Career Center also offers a variety of workshops on some of the core competencies that employers have identified that they want to see in new hires. These core competencies, called , include communication, critical thinking, diversity and inclusion, professionalism, career and self-management, basic understanding of technology, and leadership as a skill. Workshops that help students to learn about and bolster these competencies, then go on to utilize them, are held regularly online.

In addition, The Career Center offers several online resources, including but not limited to the Cardinal Career Link for job searching and recruitment, and VMock, a fully realized and renovated resume review system that utilizes AI technology to analyze and provide feedback on resumes. If you’re looking for salary information, The Career Center has that, too. All of this is available to fee-paying students.

Job Hunting in the Digital Age: Networking is Your Friend

As Bute notes, more and more of the job search these days is online or utilizes some kind of online platform, be it LinkedIn for networking, Zoom for interviewing, or Indeed or Glassdoor for job searches. The Career Center has had to pivot its content in recent years for this very reason, alongside pandemic-related concerns.

“At the start of the pandemic, within 48 hours, we had converted all of our services to a fully online format,” says Bute. “We had to. We’re a direct student service provider.”

In a way though, notes Bute, doing so was to students’ advantage. Moving the job search and resources online is somewhat of a training for a professional job since more and more jobs are incorporating online components or are going partially or fully remote.

There are a lot of different ways to go about the job search. Personal networking has always been the number one way to get a job. Building relationships with potential employers is key. With everything online these days, says Bute, that can easily be done via LinkedIn or other means—and The Career Center is here and ready to help with that, too, with online meetups with potential employers.

Giving Students Hope

Bute often sees students when they are at a point of confusion, despair, or stagnation with their career, and says that the most rewarding part of it for both students and himself is the change that occurs when accessing and utilizing The Career Center’s resources.

“We don’t prescribe, [or instruct a student on what to do moving forward]–a career coach listens, understands, and then we help [students] craft their own plan to move forward,” says Bute. Career development is lifelong. You’re going to be doing different things and changing and growing. That’s really rewarding for a career coach to see that change, to go from a moment of despair to a moment of hope.”

To reach out to The Career Center, you can email them at careercenter@bsu.edu, or follow them on Instagram (@bsucareercenter) or Twitter (@CareerCenterBSU).  Search for “Ball State Career Center” on YouTube and subscribe to the channel.  You can find their LinkedIn group page by searching for “Ball State Career Network.”