Planning For The Future September 2013

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How can my student plan for the future?

On any given day in the Office of Career and Professional Development at the Paul L. Foster Success Center, you could can find Baylor students doing mock job interviews, getting coached on speaking and dining etiquette, working on a resume or attending a professional development workshop.

"The Success Center was one of the biggest assets I had in finding a job," Frank Dickenson, who took advantage of many of those resources, said. Just last month, Frank graduated from Baylor. He did so knowing he had a job in hand, and has now started in his new role as an Account Manager with Reynolds & Reynolds, a company that provides the software that runs car dealerships.

"Any question I had, big or small, I could talk to someone at the Success Center and they would help me," Frank said. "Anything from meeting employers at a job fair to interviewing once I started getting job offers, I could ask them about putting my best foot forward for each step."

Career and Professional Development de-mystifies the job search process for Baylor students and helps them build a plan throughout their college career. The list of resources offered is extensive, and their website featuring the Hire-A-Bear database is a great place to start looking. The website lists the resources available, provides students with important dates, lists available workshops, fairs and other important dates and helps guide students toward the resources they need.

For some students, it's as simple as walking in and asking for help with the most basic building block in the job search: a resume.

"From the resume standpoint, we have walk-in hours every day so students can come in and have them looked at," Career Advisor Kat Evans said. "We have resume and cover letter samples online, and a resume creator that can help them get one started."

That's just one resource. The job search can be intimidating. Career and Professional Development provides options to answer questions along every step of the way.

"We offer workshops and coaching in job interviews, speaking etiquette, even dining etiquette" Kat said. "What do you do if you are invited to have a meal with a prospective employer? We help with that."

Through it all, students gain confidence that they are not entering these new situations blindly. "We want to polish you up, so you'll stand out above the rest," Pat Weaver, Director of Career Exploration, explained. "If you practice a few times, you'll be better than someone who has never tried before."

To that end, Kat describes a number of additional resources for students to use:

  1. Mock Interviews
    "We can practice with students here at the Success Center, but we also have mock interviews in September specifically with recruiters or actual HR representatives before career fairs."
  2. Career Fairs
    "Our University-wide Hire-A-Bear Career Fair is coming up September 25th for students looking for jobs or internships. We also offer 7 or 8 others throughout the year tailored to specific majors or industries."
  3. Job Openings
    "Students can search databases with open jobs and internships, and may even sign up for on-campus interviews with recruiters. We hosted more than 2,200 on-campus interviews last year."

The available list of resources is too long to list in this article. But you don't need to know them all right at once. As parents, you can help your student understand the importance of taking that first step and being proactive.

"It's that encouragement piece, letting them know what's available," Pat Weaver said. "Empower your student to be their own advocate and remind them that we're here."

Frank Dickenson was proactive, and as he embarks on his career, he's thankful that he was.

"It's real world stuff. I really think students should get involved as early as they can," he said. "They'll get you on track, and they really care. I'd tell any student to visit them as often as they can."