Just thinking about the amount of work that goes into entering a career field after college can give a student a headache. Fortunately, there is an office on campus that is solely devoted to making sure Missouri State University students have the best opportunities possible to be successful after college. The Career Center offers a variety of services, events, and activities to students that can help making the jump to a professional career simpler.
I recently sat down with Caleb Jobe, a graduate assistant for the Career Center, to discuss the services that the Center provides students, and also the upcoming events the office is putting on to help prepare students for their career. The main upcoming event is the Fall Career Fair, which will be held on September 25from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM in JQH Arena. The event will feature over 80 employers and is open to all students.
Jobe did mention specific tips to help ensure that students better prepare themselves for the upcoming job fair. He said it is paramount that students bring at least 12 copies of their résumé that has been reviewed and worked on, so that you can ensure that employers are seeing the highest quality version of your academic and work background. He also advocated for the printing of business cards, because it gives a small reminder to employers of who you are. Another important tip is to bring a small pad of paper and a pencil or pen to record names and information from employers. Jobe feels this is important, because the last thing he would want a student to do is forget the information for an employer that he/she was very interested in working for.
Another important tip he gave was to dress professionally. A business suit should be worn by all attendants of the career fair, which is required for the College of Business career fair. This shows employers that you are serious about your future and the opportunities that an employer may have for them. Another equally important tip is to act professionally. Don’t walk around with headphones in, don’t be chewing gum, and don’t engage in other activities that could give employers the impression that you aren’t entirely interested in being there.
Although the Career Fair is the largest event the Career Center puts on this fall, there are other important events that can help students get on the right track towards a great career. These events include an etiquette dinner, where students are walked through basic dining etiquette by a Career Center representative, and a mock interview day, where students can sign up to undergo practice interviews with campus officials, to better hone their interview skills. The etiquette dinner will be held on October 23, and the mock interview day is October 24.
The Career Center also offers a variety of services that students can take advantage of throughout the year. Students can schedule appointments with Career Counselors to go over any topic they may need help with from résumé and cover letter construction, to information about internships and job opportunities. They also have walk-in hours from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday through Thursday, and 10:00AM to 1:00 PM on Fridays. If you choose to walk-in, you can discuss résumé and cover letter construction with a student peer advisor who can offer you quick tips.
At this point, you may be asking yourself when the right time to start working on résumés and looking for internships. Fortunately, Jobe helped outline steps students should take to stay prepared. It’s never too early to start thinking about your career, according to Jobe, and he feels that students should take time in their freshman and sophomore years to learn how to correctly construct résumés and cover letters, take time to create a “master list”, which includes every relevant activity a student has done, including high school work such as service and mission opportunities, and students should also register for JobTracks. JobTracks is an interactive network run by the Career Center that posts jobs and internships for students at Missouri State University. For freshman and sophomores, internships can be an important tool to gain experience in the field you may want to go into. JobTracks offers a variety of internship opportunities both locally, and in areas such as Kansas City and St. Louis.
Juniors and seniors need to work on honing specific skills so that they may be as desirable as possible to potential employers. Jobe listed important skills such as writing, critical thinking, personal communication, and interviewing skills. There are also skills that are growing in relevance, like the ability to social network through sites such as LinkedIn. Having a strong background in these skills will make you more desirable to future employers and make your path to Life After Missouri State that much easier.