Workshops Prepare Students for Careers

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Career workshop

BJU prides itself on sending out competent, responsible and Christlike graduates into the workforce every year. Resources such as the Career Services office help guide students professionally. Through career-oriented workshops, the center is able to meet the specific needs of the student body.

Meeting the Need

Natalie Smith, assistant director of Career Services, says that there is a demand for career-related preparation among the students. Many feel unprepared to go into the professional world, but there are no required courses or specific University programs to inform students. Smith said the two objectives of Career Services workshops are to teach students about specific career development topics and to promote the resources and events offered by the Career Center.

“My goal is always to give a broad overview in the workshop to inspire them to come in and work in detail,” said Smith.

Telling the Story

This semester’s four career workshops walked students through the steps of searching for a job. During the “Resume: The Art of Storytelling” workshop, Smith emphasized that students “need to know who you are, become self-aware so you can tell your story and market yourself.”

After self-knowledge, job-seekers must recognize their audience and what matters to them. Factors to list in a resume include avoiding generalizations, providing proof and focusing on the content quality.

“You’re trying to tell the story of your experiences and the skills you’ve developed in such a way that impresses the employer,” said Smith. “If you don’t know yourself well enough you can’t tell that story.”

Furthering the Plot

“Interviewing: The Rest of the Story” introduced the face-to-face portion of job hunting. There are some things a resume cannot communicate—such as an individual’s personality, behavior or additional work information. An interview picks up the story the resume began. By knowing their own story and what their target company is looking for, applicants can highlight their qualifications during the interview.

Smith invited students to “answer the (interviewer’s) question by telling stories. Introduce the information in a memorable way.” She proceeded to remind them a good story follows the four Rs—it is relevant, retained, (easily) recalled and repeatable. Smith also reiterated the importance of researching, preparing and practicing before an interview. Students can go to the Career Services office for mock interview opportunities and advice.

See Also: Career Fair 2019

Searching for the Denouement

While imagining a dream job is great, finding it can be difficult. “Conducting a Successful Job Search” helped students focus on how to find positions that match their interests and qualifications. Smith recommended questions and resources for students to further their self-knowledge. Then she introduced students to different job posting websites where they can find listings and information on the companies that interested them.

Once the student has a target company, there is homework to do. “Look for the mission and vision, staffing, growth, corporate culture,” said Smith. “But don’t rely on the internet exclusively. Conduct informational interviews and continue to network.”

Through sites such as Linkedin, students can find alumni who work all around the world, connect with them and find out more about where they work. In addition, BJU students and alumni have their own place to network—Career Central. This site lists dozens of jobs posted solely for BJU graduates.

Closing the Chapter

“Got the Job! Now What?” was the last workshop of the semester. Though few students may identify with the topic at this point of the year, it is important to prepare for the future. Learning about professionalism, setting goals and finding a mentor can help new employees transition from college to the workplace. After being on the job, employees can continue learning with conferences and certifications. They can also grow their network by developing relationships with their coworkers and leaders.

If you missed the workshops this semester, Career Services will be repeating them in the spring. Meanwhile, the Career Center continues to work with students searching for the career that fits their talents. Stop by their office in Alumni 205 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays for professional advice, networking and other career-related events.