Virtual Career Center Provides 24/7 Job Search Guidance
Virtual Career Center Provides 24/7 Job Search Guidance

by Jackie Hennessey
Communications and Public Affairs Writer/Editor

Just because students will scatter around the region, the country and even the world over winter break, it doesn’t mean their internship or job searches have to stop.

UNH’s virtual career center provides 24/7 access to the latest job and internship posting and tips on cover letter writing, industry trends or preparing for an interview. 

“The beauty of the virtual center is that if students have a career epiphany at two in the morning, they can go right to the site and get much of the same kind of career assistance as they would stopping in to Bartels Student Activity Center,” said Matt Caporale, executive director of the Career Development Center (CDC).

UNH's Virtual Career Center offers students 24/7 access to information to aid in the job search.

“Our students live in the real and virtual world, and we want to be available to them in both,” he said. “The goal of the center is not to keep students at an arm’s length but to provide them with all kinds of resources they can use 24/7, and prepare them to sit down and work with us. It’s still about talking to people.”

What makes UNH’s Virtual Career Center so singular is that it is nearly entirely done in-house.  While many universities farm out their information to third parties or simply provide links to job-related websites, Caporale said their site is tailored to UNH students, their majors and their interests. Caporale and the staff encourage students to begin using these resources from their first year on. 

Tutorials – on everything from how to make an elevator pitch or write a resume that leaps out of a tall stack – are created by center staff and UNH students. Students blog about internship experiences. New job opportunities are continually posted. Students are able to upload a resume, record mock job interviews and have them critiqued by staff members or post a cover letter that CDC staff members can comment on and send back.

Each time employers, business or industry leaders visit campus, they are encouraged to create a quick video on any number of topics, so the students have a virtual library of tips from people working in music, hospitality, criminal justice and engineering, among other fields.

“The students want the material on the site to be customized,” Caporale said. “They want to see themselves in the sample cover letters and resumes, their field and their majors.”

With 6,400 students, 75 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and a staff of six, this is no small task, but this year Matt DiGiovanni ’12 was hired as the virtual technology coordinator. He’s pursuing his master’s in computer science at UNH while working full time. His focus is building content. “I like having the freedom to research and implement new features to improve the virtual career center and my own skills,” DiGiovanni said.

Caporale likens it to launching a tech start-up. After a soft launch last year, a marketing blitz began this fall. Content will continue to be developed and added throughout the academic year.  

Visitors have come from 38 other states and 35 countries, including UNH’s international campus in Tuscany, Italy. They don’t just click and leave; DiGiovanni said they stay around and explore.   

Earlier this semester, the CDC hosted its second Virtual Graduate School Fair, which allowed students to learn about nearly 50 graduate schools. 

“This is happening because we have an institution that is very much behind us,” said Caporale. “Our faculty and our staff all over campus are always working to provide experiential learning for our students, connecting them to internships, research opportunities and community service,” Caporale said. “The virtual center helps build our brand, blending academics and experience.”

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