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Career counselor strives to teach students how to thrive in the real world

Teacher. News reporter. Student media advisor. Public relations specialist. Career counselor. Lisa Littlefield has used her communications skills to master many jobs and hopes to inspire students to do the same in her current role as a Career Services coordinator at Georgia State.

Around 1992, Littlefield sat in classes taught by Georgia State professors Dr. Leonard Teel and Greg Lisby while obtaining her master’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Following a successful career, which utilized her communications degree in various ways, Littlefield returned to Georgia State. A little over a month ago, she became a coordinator in the Career Center, where she hopes to help students recognize their passions and achieve happiness through their careers.

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Littlefield said all of her career opportunities came by way of people who believed in her and saw her talents––even when she could not see them herself.

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Lisa Littlefield uses her diverse career experience to help students choose the right career path.

Shortly after graduating from Southern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, Littlefield became a general reporter for the ABC and NBC affiliates in Alexandria, La. She said she was initially interested in becoming a technical director but got the job after several of her peers and faculty realized her on-air talents.

Littlefield then went on to teach communications courses at Oglethorpe University, the University of West Georgia and the University of North Georgia. She explained that in many ways, she’s continuing to teach in her current role in the Career Center every day.

“I come in, and hopefully I teach you things specific to what you want and need, and this is what all of us in the office are trying to do. We’re trying to teach you how to do things that will make you successful and happy, and that go beyond just ‘how to write a resume,'” Littlefield said. “This is not about writing a resume. This is about knowing yourself and gaining some understanding and tools that will serve you the rest of your life.”

Littlefield said students often decide their majors with limited knowledge of the majors offered at Georgia State. Once they’ve conducted researched and chosen a major that best fits them, students should be open to various jobs within their field, not just the typical jobs.

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“They’re really set upon one thing, and yet in the world of work there is a myriad of kinds of careers all around probably that
one thing, and many ancillary areas that may in some ways make them even happier. But if you don’t know about it you can’t even begin to explore those things.”

Littlefield utilizes her public relations experience from working at Zoo Atlanta, Atlanta History Center and the Michael C. Carlos Museum to present and promote Career Center programs.

In addition to studying communications, Littlefield also studied psychology. She said career choices are at the core of people’s happiness, and suggested students be open to career changes as they grow and develop new knowledge and interests.

“The modern model for workers is not that you’re going to work for the same company for 30 years and then get a gold watch and you’re like an automated robot there doing the same job over and over again. You would be really unhappy if that were the case, so your expectation should be that you want the flexibility to change over time,” Littlefield said.

She said the Career Center’s main goal is “to help people live their passions through career.” The Center’s services are available to students for a year after they graduate.

“At the end of the day, your tuition and the fees that you pay when you come to Georgia State pay for all of these services for you, and we want you to use them.”

Q&A; with students who use the Career Center
Lillie Graves, freshman, education
Q: Are the jobs on Panther Career Net exclusive to Georgia State students?
A: Yes. The positions that you see posted on Panther Career Net are from employees that are specifically looking for Georgia State students, although they may post on other college and university sites as well.

Keisha Williams, freshman, marketing
Q: What are some tips for finding internships?
A: Become involved in campus organizations related to your career and develop leadership roles. Volunteer in organizations related to your industry. Network. Have the best possible academic career that you can have. Work on interview skills and your resume at Career Services.

Qali Ahmed, freshman, biology
Q: Does the career center offer help with interview call backs?
A: Through Virtual Interviewer Practice System (VIPS), students can self-record their interviews to critique their performance by themselves or with a career counselor. The career center also offers mock interviews. Career counselors and potential employers come in and give the mock interviews and sudents’ performances are graded on a rubric.

Ryan Deumegarde, junior, biology
Q: How do students go about finding non-traditional jobs in their field?
A: Students can search for non-traditional jobs using sites like WhatCanIDoWithThisMajor.com and OnetOnline.org. Students can also interview faculty members about what previous students have done in their perspective fields. Additionally, the career center offers an assessment that generates a list of potential career options.

Sylvenna Hutchinson, junior, chemistry
Q: If I need to change the contact information on my resume on Panther Career Net, do I have to get it approved again?
A: No. Only the first resume has to be approved. Send an email directly to the career counselor you worked with if you have any further questions.