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Fear not! Career Development is here to help

Updated: May 6, 2023


By Branden LaCroix

Editorial Staff

With finals week just around the corner and graduation approaching fast, stress among FSU students is at an all-time high.

Further complicating matters for seniors is the concern about what to do after graduation. According to a survey by OnePoll of 2,000 individuals at Colorado State University, approximately 17%, or 340 of those surveyed, replied they had no plans for after their senior year.

Luckily, FSU has Lauren O’Neill, assistant director of Career Development, to help.

O’Neill described the various services offered by Career Development while emphasizing that the whole process is not “linear.”

“It's going to be a different path for every single person. So we really want to make sure that we're personalizing each interaction we have with a student based on what their needs are and what their interests are,” she said.

One of the main services she said the office now provides is a Strong Interest Inventory, which is an assessment that consists of approximately 300 questions that gauge a student’s interests and personality and compare them with the responses people employed in similar fields have made.

A Strong Interest Inventory is a career assessment tool designed to provide “robust insight into a person’s interests,” and help “individuals identify their work personality,” according to the Myers-Briggs Company’s website.

She said, “It’s not saying, ‘Go be this,’ or, ‘Go be that.” It's saying, ‘You seem to have a lot in common with folks who work in this industry.’

“So that's a really good starting point for folks who aren't super sure what they want to do,” she added.

O’Neill also said Career Development can help prepare and walk students through the job interview process, as well as teach them interview etiquette, such as appropriate eye contact and handshaking.

“So, we're going to work with the student all the way from figuring out what they might be interested in through, ‘All right, you secured the interview. Let's do the interview. Let's make sure you're sending that thank you email after. Great, you got a job offer. Let's talk about negotiation,’” she said.

Aside from seniors and new graduates, O’Neill said she wants to focus on “early engagement” as well.

She said, “Our idea in the office is that you don't need to come in with any idea about what you want to do or even how to get started because that's our job, and we're going to help you get there.”

Another service provided is teaching students and alumni how to better use LinkedIn, which O’Neill explained can be used to network with Framingham State University alumni.

O’Neill said Handshake is also an important tool for students to find internships and jobs, adding that there’s a lot of information to vet through.

She added Career Development will add what she refers to as “one pagers” to Handshake that detail how to write “effective” resumés and cover letters, how to get ready for interviews, and how to prepare for any career fairs held on campus.

She said these one pagers will be available through the “resources” section of Handshake.

O’Neill said Career Development also offers GroupMe, a group messaging app, for students to join various discussion groups created for students based on their industry interests, including business and finance, STEM, and arts and communication, among others.

She said posters placed around campus feature QR codes students can scan to join GroupMe channels.

Career Development will also offer counseling over the summer, when students can schedule sessions with counselors over Zoom.

Career Development also has a subscription to, which O’Neill explained is a website that ranks various companies based on “industry guides,” as well as provides lists of what the most sought after jobs are currently on the market.

“So, if you're somebody who's, say, interested in management consulting, you can go and look at career guides for management consulting to learn a little bit more about what they're looking for in an entry-level role,” she said.

She added she encourages all FSU students to make an account on FirstHand’s website using their Framingham State email because the service is free if they do.

For the upcoming semester and beyond, O’Neill said she has a lot of plans as assistant director.

First is a “significant remarketing rollout” for Handshake. “I think a lot of students and faculty and staff in general aren't super familiar with how to use it,” she said. “So that's definitely something we are hoping to do.”

Another plan she would like to see implemented is the creation of more internships locally, such as in Framingham and Natick, as well as further developing ties with partner companies to co-host events throughout the fall semester.

These events will include resumé drop-ins and mock interviews and interview prep workshops.

She said Career Development is also hoping to work with local government offices as well, adding, “From what we understand, a lot of their workforce at the local government level, they’re retiring now, so they’re looking for new folks to work.”

“I just want to make sure that students know even if they can't find something on Starfish, we're still accessible,” she said. “Like, I want students to be able to know they can come see us.”

O’Neill said with the semester winding down and a large influx of students visiting the office, “We want to make sure that we're meeting the needs of the amount of students, we have and I think our staff has been doing a really great job of doing that.”

She added, “But it's just hard given that we are a small team.”

However, she said a new coordinator of employer and academic outreach was hired who will help the department with working with employers, and a new career counselor will be starting in the fall.

“I think that's going to take some of the weight off of us in terms of making sure that we are still able to meet with as many students as possible while also fulfilling our other obligations,” she said.

O’Neill said she encourages all new FSU students to stop by the office at some point and learn about what programs or services the Career Development Office offers.

Students who want to make appointments to see a career counselor can do so through Starfish. However, O’Neill said if students can’t find any available time slots, they can email either the Career Services email,, or email O’Neill directly.

“I just want to make sure that students know even if they can't find something on Starfish, we're still accessible,” she said. “Like, I want students to be able to know they can come see us.”

Despite the influx of students at the semester’s end, O’Neill said she finds students to be “eager” and “excited.”

“I love those ‘Aha!’ moments when students are in any of our offices, and they are like, ‘Oh my gosh. I didn't know about that resource. And now I feel more competent doing research on my own,’ or ‘That's not an occupation I've ever considered,’ or ‘Oh my God! I didn't know there were this many Framingham alumni on LinkedIn,” she said.

One thing O’Neill wants students to know is that “there is no right or wrong way to approach career development. I know I sound like a broken record, but it is not linear. It's going to be different for every person.”

She added, “Don't be afraid to come in to see us because we are here to support you no matter where you are in your career development.”

The Career Development office is located in room 412 in the McCarthy Center.


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