Hidden Resource Gems at CMU: CPDC Edition
The Career & Professional Development Center (CPDC) helps students take a step toward their future
By Marissa Pekular
As students navigate their higher education and consider future career prospects, it is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed or anxious for what lies ahead after graduation. Whether you feel completely lost in a sea of options or are fine-tuning your career interests, Carnegie Mellon University’s Career & Professional Development Center offers expert consulting services and programs that are dedicated to helping students with career exploration, including two consultants, Beth Jameson and Katie Flanigan, who are assigned to help Dietrich students.
Job Search Process
Students can make appointments with CPDC staff to explore job options, even if they do not have specific questions or a plan just yet. Career consultants work with students to brainstorm ideas and provide support early in the job search process. The support includes helping students navigate internships, career-oriented work and grad school options. Some consulting specialties include nonprofit work, federal jobs, careers in start-up companies and life after college. To schedule an in-person or virtual appointment with the Advising Center, located on the second floor of the West Wing, log into your student Handshake account and select “Career Center.” Handshake also offers various free resources linked within the platform to help students during their career journey, some of which are mentioned below.
Resume and Cover Letter Workshops
Resumes and cover letters are essential for connecting with potential workplaces, graduate schools or other networking opportunities. The CPDC offers guides that outline quick tips and examples by college, providing specialized formats and ways to include students’ information depending on their educational and career-oriented interests. The center also provides an online screening tool, VMock, that provides feedback that you can discuss with a CPDC career consultant.
The interview process for jobs or internships may be the most anxiety-producing step within the application process. The CPDC offers general tips and guidelines as well as interview prep and mock interview appointments with career consultants.
The CPDC Interview Center, located on the lower level of the Cohon University Center, provides students and employers a venue to participate in and host interviews. The center allows participants the space to practice their conversational skills and prepare for upcoming interviews. Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are recommended. To make a reservation, send an email request with your name, date and time of your interview. The space also serves as study rooms after hours.
Career Development Workshops
Throughout the year, the CPDC offers a variety of workshops and events that you can access on Handshake. The workshops and events are tuned to different academic career paths. Working with different departments, CPDC curates workshops for specific needs. Examples of events include a graduate student series, federal resume workshops, career fair prep and employer connection events.
Dietrich College students benefit from a wide variety of career paths, but this variety can be overwhelming to navigate. The CPDC offers PathwayU, a resource to help students discover their interests, workplace preferences and values regarding their careers. After completing the online assessment, the tool generates student-specific career matches. A career consultant can you process the recommendations. This tool is an effective resource for undeclared first-year students who need help choosing a major, students who are thinking about switching majors and students who need help honing their career path within their major.
CMUniverse is a virtual mentoring/networking platform that is a great opportunity for current students to connect with alumni. Students can filter their engagement by major, title, company or geographic region. This resource helps students envision what options are possible within their major while also receiving advice on job search and interview strategies, industry trends or grad school options.
Supporting Emotional and Cognitive Differences
A new resource offered by the CDPC supports and encourages students with emotional and cognitive differences, helping them to navigate their professional goals. The Olitsky Family Foundation Career Readiness Program provides expert support for students who face additional challenges by creating strategies to help them utilize their strengths to succeed in their career search.