Libraries, Career Center collaborate on career research database

Amir Vera
Staff Writer

With graduation right around the corner for thousands of VCU students, VCU Libraries and the university’s Career Center have launched an initiative to help students research future careers.

Labeled as the “Use Company and Industry Research to Land a Job” website, the resource is geared toward helping students research their career choices by looking into company information and industry inquiries.

Bettina Peacemaker, a research librarian at VCU, worked to compile this information over two semesters with the assistant director of the University Career Center Kim Hanneman in an effort to better prepare students for the workforce.

“I talked with career consultants about the things employers and students want to know before the interview,” Peacemaker said.

The online resource helps students to find information on companies like annual reports to on a company’s financial health and industry trends. The service can help students better examine what field of study they want to go into and information about nonprofits and government jobs.

“Whether you’re in criminal justice, fashion or any other industry, you would still be working for a company and you need to do your research,” Peacemaker said.

Hanneman agreed and said the site is not just for upperclassmen. Freshmen and sophomores can also benefit from it because they can see the progression of the industry they want to enter.

“It also demonstrates how associations are tied to specific industries, such as PRSSA and SPJ, and how these associations want to help young people enter into the field,” Hanneman said. “They also want to provide detailed information about what’s happening, what’s current, what’s relevant.”

Since the program’s launch two weeks ago, Hanneman and Peacemaker have both received positive feedback from users. Prior to the website’s creation, students would have to visit to the Career Center or use Ram Recruiting to research information on companies and industries. The new service aggregates all these resources into one place.

VCU alumnus Roy King, who graduated in December 2012 with a bachelor’s of science in mass communications, said that his experience looking for jobs was arduous. He had to go to a number of sites to find information about the companies’ finances and trends.

“I think it’s great because we had to do a lot of legwork as far as going back and reading Fortune 500 articles and just different articles that would deal with company’s progression over the years,” King said.

King currently works as the sales manager at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Short Pump. He said he hopes to grow with the company to one day become a district manager. King also said he owes his success to the University Career Center and help from Hanneman because they helped him to better prepare for his interview, which landed him his ideal job.

“The fact that VCU has something like that in-house now is great for students because when it comes to applying for a job and you go in for an interview speaking the numbers — the potential and success the company has — it makes you stand out as a candidate,” King said.

Students like King are just the type of success stories that Hanneman and Peacemaker want out of the help from this new website. Peacemaker said that people don’t often have exposure to databases like this one often, so it’s an eye-opening experience for students. Hanneman said she hopes the collaboration between the libraries and the Career Center will bring in younger students who can develop their careers from the time they step onto campus.

“It’s still evolving, and that would be our ideal for students to really understand the opportunities to utilize this in a way from freshman through alumni just to help them navigate their early career,” Hanneman said.

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