This past December, Jane Evarian joined the Lundquist College of Business as the new director of the college’s Career Services office. With more than twenty-four years of experience in higher education, Evarian is passionate about empowering students with the resources they need to identify and accomplish their career goals.
Get to know Evarian—and learn her three key steps for student job-search success—in the interview below.
UO Business: You have been involved with undergraduate and MBA career services and academic advising for many years. Are you noticing particular trends in the industry that you would like to integrate in our plans?
Jane Evarian: Thanks to new communication technologies, students have a variety of convenient new ways to connect with potential employers—and with our office, too.
For the past seven years I worked in an environment that was extremely resource challenged. And resource limitations can actually create significant innovation. My previous team adopted electronic career advising and coaching to meet student career education needs, and within three years the team tripled the number of students served.
This shift actually meets the needs of busy students because they don’t have to physically appear for career advising. They can use electronic means to have a similar experience.
Additionally, with limited recruiting funds, employers are typically pleased with more options to reach out to students.
Connections fostered through virtual networking, e-career fairs, web-based interviewing, and LinkedIn engagement create opportunities for students to connect with employers in an efficient and meaningful way.
My early plan here at the Lundquist College includes replicating many of the technology tools used in my previous position to provide more opportunities for students to access career advising and to creatively engage employers with similar tools to support connection with our students.
UO Business: What qualities are potential employers looking for?
JE: Employers are interested in speaking with confident students who can provide evidence of their potential to add value to a company.
Employable students invest in internships, job shadowing, volunteer activities, clubs, and organizations. These students also learn how to leverage and promote these experiences.
Employers expect a well-informed student who has taken the time to research the company and then connect that knowledge with their own skills and potential.
A student who can successfully use evidence, energy, and enthusiasm to articulate how they fit into an organization will be impressive, and he or she have a better chance of getting an interview—as well as a job offer.
UO Business: What are some of the challenges you see facing undergrads as they navigate their career choices throughout their time at the college? What about MBAs?
JE: Every student is different in terms of planning and preparation. That said, I believe students face two primary and related hurdles. One is time, and the other is the lack of an action-oriented career road map. All students are challenged by the lack of time required to devote to activities like career exploration, continuous self assessment, job search preparation, networking, and applying for positions.
To help combat the challenge of time, we need to present students with an action-oriented career road map early during the college experience, ideally during the first year. This road map must include specific measurable benchmarks.
MBA and other graduate students have some advantage in this area because most graduate students have a much more defined idea about future career options based on previous education and experience.
All students should work with career development professionals to outline a road map with the idea that efforts around career investigation and preparation be treated like a one- to three-credit class each quarter.
UO Business: What can students do now to ensure they are highly marketable upon graduation?
JE: After many years working in career services, I believe in a very specific recipe to ensure career option success. The recipe includes the following three primary ingredients:
- Invest in education beyond the high school degree.
- Actively participate in applied experiences including job shadowing, volunteering, internships, academic research, and other related activities that create opportunities to build and enhance skills employers seek in job candidates.
- Learn the powerful art of networking and confident self promotion.
UO Business: What are you most proud of in your career in higher education so far?
JE: Students! Students are at the core of what we do in higher education. I’m not sure I have a specific moment of pride other than feeling strong satisfaction when students I have closely worked with achieve their goals and confidently move forward to make a difference within a very complex world.