Summer Career Accelerator

What is it? The Summer Career Accelerator, sponsored by the Boerigter Center and the Van Wylen Library, is a program to help you jump start career preparation activities you may have been putting off. It will include hands-on learning activities, such as:

  • Researching career tracks and top employers in your field
  • Networking with alumni and others
  • Crafting a well-polished résumé, cover letter, and online profile
  • Earning micro-credentials in TableauSalesforce, and/or Intercultural Fluency (click on links for more info)
  • Completing early interviews with recruiters at key organizations

Who is it for? This program is geared toward current juniors, sophomores, and freshmen that have declared a major (in any discipline) and are ready to actively pursue internships and jobs next year. If you haven’t yet picked a major and are still undecided, no sweat. Plan on applying next summer.

When is it? The program starts May 9 and runs through August 11. Most activities will be self-paced on your own time, so you will be able to work around your job, studies, or research commitments. We will want you to hold the days of August 9, 10, and 11 for live online events involving events with Hope staff, alumni, and employers who want to meet you.

Where will it be held? This will be 100% virtual, so you can do it from wherever you are this summer. 

How does it work? Applications are due by 5:00pm on Monday, April 25, 2022. We will notify you shortly afterwards if you have been accepted. You will be charged $250 to your Hope student account as your way to commit to follow through on the program. The good news is that you get a FULL refund when you finish! In addition, if you complete all of the assignments by the end of June, you will get a $30 gift from the Hope Bookstore. You will not pay extra for the micro-credentials (Hope is covering those costs).

Why should I apply? Top organizations recruit for summer interns and new grads right away in the fall. We want you to stand out and be a prime candidate for those positions! This program will get you ready and give you a jump start for great opportunities for your future.

TL:DR Check Out a Brief Video About the Program

It is a Fulltime Job Looking for a Fulltime Job

Are you a senior who is looking for work? Then this is for you! Do you feel frustrated and overwhelmed with your job search? Are you not quite sure where to start or which direction to go? Does it feel like you are spending so much time yet getting nowhere? These are all normal feelings for those looking for work but if this is your first time seeking fulltime employment you may not know this. THERE IS HOPE, pun intended! There is a team of folks on campus who have years of experience doing just this-helping students and alumni process, plan and look for work. We are the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career. On April 7th from 5-6pm we are hosting a session for seniors. I will give you more details in a minute but first I want to tell you a story.

Long ago, in the ancient land of 1989 there was a soon to be Hope College graduate named Amy. She was a good student, had studied abroad, completed the Philadelphia Semester Program, had a Psychology/Sociology Composite major with an English minor, and a strong work ethic. It was March, two months until graduation, and she was ready to leave college and start adulting. BUT she had no idea how to do that!

She had a resume, compliments of the Philly Semester, so signed up for a couple of on-campus interviews. Nothing happened. She continued to search newspapers, remember, it’s 1989 so we still did that, and applied for a few random things. And got discouraged. She needed a plan. What were her goals? She knew she didn’t want to return home to the small south-central Michigan town she was from so what did she need to do to be independent?

First, she needed money and a place to live. Amy had a waitressing job so was able to add hours and start to cook to make more money. Second, she and a friend found an affordable brand-new apartment. They didn’t have much furniture and Amy didn’t have a bed, but it was a safe roof over her head. After two weeks of sleeping on the floor her dad drove to Holland and co-signed for her first credit card so she could purchase a bed. Success!

While she liked her waitressing job, she really did need to put her college education to the test and get a “big girl” job. Maybe her resume needed some tweaking. She paid $60, a lot of money back then, and had someone help her strengthen her resume and cover letter. She knew she wanted to help people so started randomly applying to non-profit faith-based organizations, finally managing to secure part-time work that included healthcare benefits three months after graduation. Success!

After 9 months of hard work and picking up a lot of extra shifts, she got promoted to a full-time salaried position. Success! She had also gained new friends through work and was able to move to Grand Rapids, where she was working, and live with a colleague. More success! Amy purchased her first car, joined a volunteer group and made more friends, and after a couple of years purchased her first home all by herself. Major success! The story goes on with changes in career paths, continued discernment of what that should look like, marriage, kids, graduate school, etc… Successes but not without some failures too. Believe it or not the failures, while hard, are often the most informative learning experiences; who knew! After graduate school she found herself called to return to Hope College where she works to help students find their life and career paths. The End… but not really.

I share this story as I am living proof you too will make this transition from college to career and the real world. It won’t be without bumps and it will be with successes and failures. Remember, success is defined differently for everyone so work on understanding what success means for you. The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career wants to help you navigate this process. We have our own stories and years and years of experience helping students continue the process of discerning next steps with regard to calling and career.

We invite you to attend a session on April 7 from 5-6pm in the Martha Miller Center Room 158 where you will hear about the process of job seeking and discerning and leave with import steps to take to be successful in this next chapter. Please use this Handshake link to sign up for this new event! We know you can be successful and want YOU to know we are here to help you step toward that success!

The Secret to Acing Your Next Interview

Interviews are a huge step toward landing a job, but the process is often accompanied by anxiety surrounding what to say, how to dress, or what steps to take after the interview. This week’s Career Camp focused on frequently asked interview questions and provided helpful tips from Dale Austin and Hope alumni, Morgan Seiler ’15. They covered a broad range of topics, beginning with how to dress and ending with closing remarks after the interview. 

Something that stood out in this presentation was the discussion on in-person and online or over-the-phone interviews. In today’s world, students must be ready for any interview format. The session did a great job of discussing various interview types and how students can best adapt. This Career Camp was great and left every participant with a feeling of preparedness and confidence to bring into their next interview.     

The Job & Internship Search

Hope’s Career Fair is right around the corner, and now is the time for students to begin preparing to meet employers and finding internships that align with their interests. This week’s Career Camp featured guest speaker, Niki Ramírez, from the Kellog Company and discussed the best ways for students to come into Career Fair confident and prepared to talk to employers. Niki highlighted the importance of networking, resume preparation, elevator pitches, and the steps to take after attending the Career Fair. 

A great way to prepare for conversations with employers is by researching their company to have a general overview of the company values as well as what positions they are looking to fill. Students should come dressed in business professional clothing and bring copies of a newly updated resume to hand out. Being confident and genuinely interested in a company is the best way to stand out and show employers you are excited to hear more about their company and potentially working with them. 

Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” is an ongoing question asked in interviews and opportunities by employers. In this Career Camp session of “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years,” Kamara Sudberry (’15) and Dr. Raquel Mendizábal Martell (’15) both encourage that the answer of this question can be identified in what each individual seeks for their future in terms of work-culture, values, and identity. We discussed the importance of workplace culture investigation and the purpose of corporate social responsibility. 

Dr. Raquel Mendizábal Martell (’15) suggests that seeking growth opportunities in the organization or company is also a method to answering this question. Touching back on the mission and value of the organization or company is also essential, says Kamara Sudberry. We were left to reflect on what is to come and what we will become stem from our awareness of what we want in the future.

Not Your Average Online Profile

When it comes to looking for a job, creating an online presence can be one of the most valuable tools in helping you stand out from other applicants. While there are benefits to creating a business-related social presence, it becomes pretty overwhelming if you don’t know where to start! In this Career Camp Session, alumna Hadley Roy ’15 joins Megan Scheldt in discussing the best ways to build your online profiles.

For many, the biggest question for online networking is “Where do I start?”; thankfully, Megan and Hadley had some pretty great suggestions!

Financially Savvy Students: Current Plans & Future Goals

What steps can I take right now to be financially secure? Starting to save money and opening a checking account are the first steps, but there is even more you can do today as a student. In this Career Camp session Dan Osterbaan (‘91) and Amanda Root (‘02) taught us how to be financially savvy and secure.   

Love of Learning: Your Guide to Applying for Grad School

Graduate school — what a daunting and thought provoking topic. What is graduate school? Is it the right fit for me? When and why should I apply? These are just some of the many questions undergraduate students have about this next step in their academic journey. On Tuesday, September 7, we had the privilege of hosting Rachel Van Den Broek from GVSU’s Graduate Programs and our very own Dale Austin to help us grapple with these questions.

First and foremost, the path towards graduate school is not a “one size fits all” process; rather, each route is different and unique to its applicant. Some students, for example, choose to attend graduate or professional school in order to start their career. Others attend in order to enhance their career, while others yet to change their career completely. 

This leads us to the question of “How do you find the right fit?” when it comes to graduate school. If everyone’s experience is so unique and so different, how do we determine what is best for us? Rachel explained that the best way to dive deeply into this question is to do some self reflection and ask ourselves where our greatest strengths, excitements, and passions lie. From there, we can compare these personal assets to our short- and long-term career goals and ask our academic advisors (or BCCC team!!!) for guidance and advice.

Additionally, it is important to consider several institution-specific factors including track record of graduates, demographics and culture, faculty publications and research, admissions requirements, and funding when determining our “best fit” for graduate school. Comparing all of these components to our own expectations, interests, and values will greatly help narrow our search and find schools that most align with our personal needs.

We understand that figuring out all things graduate school can be confusing and intimidating, but have no fear! There is a plethora of resources available to you, and we are more than happy to help you along your journey. For more information about graduate school, check out the BCCC’s Graduate School page!

Under Construction: Your Resume/CV and Cover Letter

How do you get to the interview process when applying for an internship or job? Having a great résumé, curriculum vitae (CV), or cover letter will get you past the filtering programs and onto the desk of a recruiter. In this Career Camp session we learned how to create and improve these documents. We were also able to answer some current students’ questions.   

Starting with the most common documents, résumé and CV, and after explaining what the difference between them is. We discussed the sections to include on both, formatting, construction, and where resources can be found on Handshake. Then moving onto the less common cover letters. We discussed the reasons employers want them, and how to write it so it matches your purpose… landing that interview!

Spotlight on Experiential Learning

While today is National Intern Day, we would be remiss not to recognize the hard work of other Hope students who are participating in non-internship experiential learning opportunities, such as those who are a part of SHARP this summer. The Summer Hope Academic Research Program is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn while getting hands-on experience in their academic field. 

Olivia Jackson and Madeline Heter

Assistant Researchers on MMMI Accuracy of Test Weights Study

Madeline and Olivia are both working on the Mothers Milk for Michigan Infants Accuracy of Test Weights Study. Olivia states that she feels that the biggest thing she is getting out of her experience is improving her communication skills with participants which will help her when she communicates with patients in the future. Planning and scheduling have been quite important for her. 

Madeline elaborates more on how this opportunity is “ preparing me for nursing work experience by learning how to interact with patients and how to utilize the nursing role of education. I have learned how to teach moms about their breastmilk through my human milk analysis project. The milk analyses that I conduct measure the specific gravity, creamatocrit, fat, and calorie content of the milk samples. I would advise students to get to know other student researchers and professors in order to become more involved in the Hope College research community.”

Evan Thomas and Hannah Gray

Assistant Researchers on Study on Neurogenesis in Zebrafish

Hannah and Evan are working in the Biology department this summer studying Neurogenesis in Zebrafish. Hannah talks about how this experience is preparing her for the future, saying “We are using many techniques in order to determine how the zebrafish brain regenerates. This research experience is helping me decide on which career path I would like to go down. Make sure to get involved and apply for as many internships or research positions as possible, because there’s nothing like having a hands-on experience.” 

Evan’s thoughts bounce off of Hannah’s statements nicely, “This research is preparing me for work experience by allowing me to get valuable hours working in the lab while also exposing me to new areas of biology that I haven’t explored. It is nice waking up and being excited to go every day, and finding something that you’re interested in will make the experience a lot more fulfilling and enjoyable.”

Yeageon Song

Assistant Researcher on Biomechanics of Patient-Handling Activities

“I am doing Summer Research with the engineering department at my college. The project I am working on is called the Biomechanics of Patient-Handling tasks. 30 to 60 percent of the nursing personnel in the USA suffer from some sort of lower back pain. This is caused by stress on the lower back during manual patient handling tasks. In our group, we are validating the use of a computational simulation model in estimating this stress on the lower back of the caregivers during these tasks. I am planning to go into the Biomedical Engineering field after college. This research has given me valuable insight and experience on what it means to work as a biomedical engineer. The most surprising thing I learnt in my research site is that nothing (barely!) is figured out and done straight away. Behind the results shown by the research are countless hours of troubleshooting and revisiting past works. The results reported only show a small proportion of the researchers’ hard work.”