By Cheyanne Cierpial
Special to the Denisonian
J-O-B. We don’t even say the word in my house; we spell it. Quite frankly, my father doesn’t really understand the value and investment of a liberal arts degree. A lot of people don’t. In his eyes, as long as I get a J-O-B after graduation he doesn’t really care what I’m studying. I don’t necessarily agree with that, well, at all, but my summer internship as a PR/Marketing Intern in Career Exploration & Development offered some interesting insight. As both a student and a (temporary) member of the CE&D team, I was able to develop a unique perspective about career development by sitting on both sides. After spending 8 weeks learning the ins and outs of the office, I want to share the major takeaways I found during this experience as both an intern and a student.
1.Make a LinkedIn Profile…Seriously. It can be confusing at first, but just commit to it. Plenty of students have profiles (I guarantee some of your friends have stellar profiles and you don’t even know it). Ask them for help or use your peers’ profiles as examples. Don’t be afraid to fill out all of the information; it can be a really valuable connection tool. It’s like social media for your résumé. Check out www.students.linkedin.com for lots of tips.
2. Networking Takes Different Forms. Networking doesn’t mean cold-calling the CEO of a company because s/he’s an alum of your school. We network every single day, even when we don’t realize it. There are plenty of faculty and staff worth connecting with right on campus. Whether at an externship, a workshop, or during a family BBQ, ask for a business card You never know where a connection could lead. Check out DenisonEverywhere.com; it’s a directory of Denison alumni who are willing to talk with students.
3. Don’t wait to go on DULink. If you go on DULink for the first time with the sole purpose of finding a job or internship immediately, you will most likely find yourself frustrated/overwhelmed. When you have 15 minutes of free time (maybe at breakfast or between classes) play around on this site and other job boards such as CareerShift or SimplyHired.com.
4. Read Industry Specific News. Spend ten minutes a day scrolling through websites like Mashable.com, Forbes.com, PR Daily, or whatever floats your boat. Keep updated on what is happening in your desired industry. Find a company you might want to apply to and read their blog/articles twice a week. You’ll be surprised how many headlines catch your attention.
5. Do something & Know How to Market Yourself. The liberal arts builds some pretty impressive and transferable skills. Employers want this. But you can help develop and prepare your professional skills through internships (big and small), extracurriculars, workshops, etc. Of course an internship (or two or three) is ideal and holds quite some power, but there are plenty of ways to gain experience and build your skill set and résumé.
6. Utilize Career Exploration & Development. Of course I’m going to say this, but it really is true. They can help. It’s never too early or too late to ask for help. The career advisors are not going to judge you, I promise, so don’t feel intimidated or overwhelmed. You can come to walk in hours (M-F 2:00-4:00) for quick questions. Even if you go in only to grab a few informational sheets or just check out the website, it’s small steps in the right direction.
7. Being prepared feels really, really good. When you feel knowledgeable and confident about these things, you start to get excited about the future. The word “job” becomes less daunting with preparation.. There are a lot of jobs out there for us, despite the stigma, and CE&D can give you a myriad of resources and tips on where to look. You’ll feel better about your résumé, your interview, job boards, finding an internship, creating an action plan, etc.
Most importantly, remember that CE&D is there to help you with whatever you need, whether it’s writing a résumé, applying to grad school, practicing interviewing, picking a major, or using job boards. Life as a student does get busy, but after we complete our undergraduate studies, good ol’ Denison is going to kick us out… so why not take advantage of these resources and services while you are here?