The Gordon Career Center (GCC)—the University’s office for assisting students in professional development through career advising, document review, recruiting, and educational programming—launched a new website in spring 2023. The new website is intended to serve as a digital career center that can provide comprehensive resources for students to explore potential careers and make informed decisions after graduation. GCC Director Sharon Belden Castonguay led efforts to develop the website starting in late 2021, and GCC Director of Operations Rachel Munafo and GCC Career Communication Fellow Dylan Shumway ’20 were closely involved.
The redesign places a new emphasis on student concerns that was missing from the old website. The old website was targeted toward viewers outside of the University, such as prospective families and employers, because Handshake—a job platform which the GCC adopted in 2016—was intended as the primary means for the GCC to interact with students online. However, as Handshake was integrated into the GCC’s operations, it became apparent that it could not replace the website for students.
“Our old website was primarily designed to give basic information to external viewers, like prospective families,” Castonguay wrote in an email to The Argus. “This was a strategic decision we made when we adopted Handshake, as we wanted to encourage students to engage with us on that platform. We have been very successful in that aim, but realized over time that we had a lot of resources in Handshake that students could not find easily. It was also difficult to demonstrate to other community members all that the GCC offers, because so much of that content was behind the Handshake firewall.”
As a part of the redesign, the GCC contracted the vendor UConnect to integrate its platforms—including Handshake—on the new website. This helps viewers find all available resources in one place and allows those without a University account to view previously restricted content, such as Handshake employment opportunities. By displaying Handshake employment opportunities to all viewers, the GCC hopes to bring on-campus employers and students closer.
“It provides a platform for employers to showcase their organization and opportunities and tap into our diverse pool of potential hires,” Munafo wrote in an email to The Argus. “We believe this will facilitate stronger connections between employers and students, leading to more meaningful job and internship opportunities.”
Focusing on student perspectives, the new website consists of three main tabs: Reflect & Develop, Explore & Connect, and Experience & Apply. The Reflect & Develop tab links to a variety of services, such as interview preparation, resume guides, and job search advice. The Explore & Connect tab offers a list of potential career paths, such as Film and Television or Sustainability, Energy, and Conservation. Each path links to a host of similar resources, such as related websites, industry guides, and pertinent courses. The Experience & Apply tab links to services directly related to employment opportunities, including campus employment, grant funding, and Wesleyan-affiliated jobs and internships. For those unsure of their career interests, there is an “Exploring” option.
The GCC hopes that the layout of the website itself can be a useful tool for students. The GCC emphasized that although these three tabs have a logical progression from one to the next, they should also be treated as a continuous circle. For instance, a job experience over the summer could lead to a realization that one wants to change career paths, leading one from Experience & Apply back to Reflect & Develop.
The new website also connects academics to employment more explicitly than the old website, including a feature that shows classes related to career interests.
“Students who plan to apply to law school might automatically consider courses in Government but might not know about relevant classes in the Classical Studies or German departments,” Castonguay wrote. “They are there! We want to encourage students to think beyond the obvious and design a broad, liberal arts curriculum that works for them.”
Students described the website as a useful resource for exploring employment both on and off campus.
“I always refer to their website when I need to update my resume,” Othmane El Houssi ’25 wrote in a message to The Argus. “I have used their website to check out grants and other opportunities.”
The website will continue to evolve as both the needs of the student population and the state of the job market change. While the GCC emphasized the importance of the redesign as a part of its goals, it highlighted that its work expands beyond the new website.
“We aim to empower students with the knowledge and tools they need to make informed career decisions and develop a well-rounded, adaptable skill set through their liberal arts education,” Munafo wrote. “While our website is a significant step forward, it’s just one part of our broader mission.”
Leo Bader can be reached at [email protected].