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Career Services Office Prepares to Move Many Functions onto the Web

By Dali Jimnez
STAFF REPORTER

In an effort to simplify and aid in the job search process, the Office of Career Services and Preprofessional Advising has begun moving many of its functions onto the World Wide Web.

Although it is not yet fully functional, the office's web page, at http://web.mit.edu/career/www will eventually handle many jobs that currently must be done in the office itself.

The major reason for the move was student input, said Marriane C. Wisheart, associate director of the Office of Career Services and Preprofessional Advising. "We were also re-engineered and the main suggestion was to go online," she said.

In the past, students searching for a job would have to wade through a list of employers organized by interview dates, Wisheart said. They had to wait two weeks before the interview dates to see the recruiters' flyers.

The old system had other problems as well. "Most of the flyers were really hard to read," said Cynthia Hillier, the senior office assistant in the office.

New version adds features

The new system should make the process of finding a job significantly easier, Wisheart said. Biology students will not have to wade through all the computer science jobs to find those that apply to them, she said.

Students can just search within a specific field and even have different resumes and cover letters on file for different fields.

Using the web will also eliminate many restrictions on when students can do things. "Students can upload their resume, write a cover letter, or search for employers at 2 a.m. on Sunday night," Wisheart said.

"They can come into the office for help and advice, but they no longer need to adhere to the 8:30 to 4:00, Monday through Friday schedule for their job search," she said.

The system is available to all MIT students, Hillier said. "You definitely don't have to be a senior," she said. "Many companies will recruit summer employees."

Demand for MIT students high

The increased marketability of MIT students has created a strain on the small staff of the Career Services and Preprofessional Advising Office when it comes to recruitment. The online system has the possibility of reducing this strain and allowing us to concentrate more personally on our students, Wisheart said.

The number of visiting recruiters is expected to increase this year, following the recent trend.

"Last year we had 715 companies visit us," Wisheart said. "This year to date we have 500 scheduled. We're expecting a lot more."

Many recruiters are excited about the online move, Wisheart said. "We want our students to be competitive in the marketplace and this seems like the way to do it," she said.

"The information is a lot more legible and organized now," Hillier said. Everything should take less time and the students can be more productive, she said.

Computer problems slow start

Computer problems have prevented most of the features from becoming active on schedule. Most of the functions of the web page are not yet implemented.

"We had to switch back to the old system," Hillier said. There's not enough time to have everything working before interviews begin on Oct. 8, she said.

"Everything should be working pretty soon," Wisheart said. In response to some students' complaints, Wisheart said, "I want the students to know that they are not guinea pigs. It's a new system; it's not going to run smoothly."

But it is our hope that the students "feel like it's theirs and give us feedback," she said. "Feedback is very important, we're open to all suggestions," added Hillier.

"As soon as it's up, we will be giving demonstrations on everything and walking the students through the process," Wisheart said.

"Please check the web site often for updates," Hillier said.

For now, students must still submit a copy of their resume to the office, view the flyers there, and sign up for interviews there.