Student Union

The University of Tennessee has numerous resources for their students that oftentimes fly under Vols’ radar. Lots of students start and finish their degrees without even realizing all of the offices dedicated to making students' time at UT better and preparing them for their future beyond Rocky Top.

One of these offices is the Center for Career Development and Academic Exploration (CCDAE). Under the Division of Student Success, this office is home to a plethora of knowledge and resources for students looking to develop their professional skills to prepare them for a future career.

According to their website, CCDAE’s mission is to, “empower scholars to create and achieve career goals by providing comprehensive career education.” The staff in the office do this through resources such as career coaching, resume critiquing, academic advising and so much more.

One of the most intriguing programs that the CCDAE offers is the Peer Career Advising resource. Through this program, students can receive professional guidance from fellow UT students. Peer Career Advisors (PCAs) offer resume and cover letter critiquing through scheduled drop-in hours, practice interviews upon request, and presentations to organizations and classes on professional skills.

It can sometimes be intimidating to talk to adults who you have never met before, so this is a great opportunity for students to receive professional advice from a peer. The PCAs go through a semester-long training program where they learn about professional and personal skills that make them uniquely qualified to help out fellow students during their drop-in hours. You can also do a practice interview with a PCA, allowing you to practice your interviewing skills in a relaxing and welcoming environment working directly with a peer.

You can schedule one of these practice interviews with a PCA through the Career Center section on Handshake. All you have to do is sign in to Handshake with your school account, click on the “Career Center” tab, select “appointments” and follow the instructions to finalize your practice interview. This is a fantastic way for students to get more comfortable with the whole interviewing process or to get feedback on potential answers in order to be in tip-top shape for that big interview.

Another amazing resource that the CCDAE offers are academic coaches to help you navigate your studies throughout your time at UT. There are academic coaches devoted to specific schools within the university, so they are sure to be extremely knowledgeable with any major that walks through the door.

There are also coaches to help with all students regardless of area of study to help out in general academic queries, as well as coaches dedicated to undecided students. Paired with a plethora of free online resources to help figure out a major, academic coaches are a phenomenal resource for students to help decide an area of study, something that can be an extremely difficult decision for students.

Further, the CCDAE has online resources so that students can receive help with their career or academic exploration without having to attend a meeting in person. The “Vol Guide to Resume Writing” is an online PDF booklet filled with information on how to build a professional and informative resume. 

This handbook includes a resume checklist that articulates everything that should be included in each section, multiple resume templates that can help decide how to format a resume and even an extensive list of action words so that students don’t repeat words throughout their document. It also includes two pages on how to write a proper cover letter for when students apply to jobs that require one.

All of these incredible resources are completely free for students and are easily accessible on the CCDAE’s website. This is a resource that all Vols should be aware of, but especially new Vols who are looking for help deciding a career path or area of study heading into college. 

Drop-in hours for resumes and cover letters started again on Monday, May 17, from 1-4 p.m., and you can access the Zoom link on the CCDAE website.

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