Senior Christmas Break Checklist

The holiday break is almost upon us. For some of you, this may be the first time you’re experiencing the joys of the long-awaited Christmas and New Year’s break from the busy schoolwork and extracurricular meetings. For others, this may be the final time you’ll be getting time off before launching into the next season of life. If you’re one of the people in the latter category, there’s a few things to keep on your radar for over the break. Although it’s a break from classes, this time is precious and can be used to help get some things in order as you prep for the next phase.

  1. Résumé. Brush off the dust and update it if necessary. If you haven’t created a résumé yet, you should begin. Click here to see a good template to get you started. If you’ve already done so, update your résumé to make it more current, make several versions catered to different jobs if you have a lot of various experiences, and give it a thorough proofread.
  2. LinkedIn. Start or update your LinkedIn portfolio. There’s a whole series of blogs on how-to use LinkedIn. The first one is catered towards the basics of your LinkedIn portfolio. Basically, you want your LinkedIn to be your professional Facebook. Have activity on your account and make sure that you’ve filled out your profile page.
  3. Job Applications. Once we all return back from break, the months will fly by. If you haven’t started applying and locking-down a job for post-grad, it’s a great time to start seeking out and applying for different opportunities. Keep your options open and apply to plenty to give yourself the best chances and choices.
  4. Portfolio. Some majors may benefit from having a solid portfolio. Art, writing, and education majors are some examples of people who may want to exemplify their work via a different platform. It’s always a good idea to have another way to showcase your hard work, and sites like Wix and Weebly are highly beneficial to helping you get started.
  5. Cover Letter. You’re going to want to have a solid cover letter to go along with a résumé and application. It’s always a nice idea to have a letter on file that can be edited and tweaked for various jobs. You can have a couple of samples that range from more professional and direct to more creative. Here you can find a basis for writing a cover letter.
  6. Interview Prep. Take common interview questions and write out answers. When you’re thinking about answering questions keep in mind the S.T.A.R. method. This acronym stands for situation, task, action, and result. Keep in mind how your experiences can showcase how you’ve handled situations, specifies your skills, shows the ways in which you’ve demonstrated those things tangibly, and what were the overall results and takeaways.
  7. Get the Garb. Dressing the part is an essential aspect of the interview process. You may already have interview and job-appropriate clothing options, but, if not, the holiday season is a great time to invest in some new garb. For ideas of what is appropriate, check out our Pinterest page. Your garb is a great way to display your professionalism as well as to showcase your unique style and personality.
  8. Know Your Options. You have plenty of resources to utilize here at Hope to help make the next stage of life feel a bit easier. The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career offers plenty of choices for various sessions and appointments. Be sure to check out our offerings on our website. For any further questions or to schedule an appointment, feel free to give us a call at 616-395-7950, or stop by the office in Dewitt.
  9. Do Your Research. When interviewing with a company, it’s essential to have a basic grasp on who the company is. Be sure to check out their website and also look into the benefits and other perks of the company. Things like pay structures, stock options, travel allowances, and especially benefits like insurance and retirement can end up being big factors in what makes you choose one job over another.

Whatever you spend your break doing, make sure to take some time to rest and rejuvenate. With graduation coming in a few short months, it’s important to refocus and re-energize to prepare yourself for the next steps in life. If you want to learn more about practices in self-care, this article is one that will hopefully challenge you to grow as you prepare for another busy season of life.

Student-Athlete Résumé Sessions

Are you a student-athlete and currently applying for internships or jobs? At the Boerigter Center, we want to help you set yourself apart from the competition.

This semester we started to offer new group résumé sessions tailored to student-athletes. In fact, we kicked these sessions off by working with 90% of the football team by position group!

These sessions consist of learning about how to format as well as what type of content is best to include when building your professional document. Participants are then able to workshop and get feedback on their résumé from a Career Advisor. Student-athletes get to learn what sets them apart from other students and how to best represent the unique skill set they gain by participating in a college sport. 

Senior Jake Kozlowski is a business major and Hope football player. Jake will be graduating this winter and already has a job lined up after graduation working for Amway’s southern distribution center in Atlanta. Jake commented on what it looks like to represent yourself to an employer.

“Being a college athlete gave me a leg up as compared to the other candidates I was competing against for the position I secured at Amway. I found it was important to represent and communicate the qualities I gained by participating in football on my résumé and in the interview process. I was naturally able to highlight leadership, time management and communication skills. I encourage other athletes to do the same.”

There is one group session left this semester on Tuesday November 27th at 4:00 PM. To sign up for the session, please click here. If you have any questions, stop by the Boerigter Center in Dewitt and we would be happy to help you!

LinkedIn How-To: What Recruiters Look For

LinkedIn has become the more prominent way that many people are seeking jobs and finding people to recruit. It is a platform that heightens the concept of a traditional résumé by constantly being updated and interacted with. Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at the how-to of the basics of your profile as well as networking and job search. In this blog, we’ll touch on what exactly stands out to recruiters.

With how many people are on LinkedIn, it’s vital that you are able to be set apart enough so that employers and recruiters see how you could be a good addition to their company. That being said, LinkedIn isn’t much different from your résumé in terms of how little time is spent going from one person to the next.

Just like a traditional résumé, recruiters are sorting through potentially hundreds of potential candidates. With this in mind, you have to catch the eye of an employer. By having a brand and tone to your profile, you create consistency. Each company and employer is going to be looking for something different, but if you have a brand that matches who you are, you’re more likely to find a good fit.

One of the most important elements to your profile is your photo. Statistics have shown that around one-fifth of the time someone views your profile is spent looking at the photo. Seeing your face allows someone to feel more personally connected to you, and you want your face to come with your name and brand, so having a solid profile photo matters. Don’t have too distracting of a photo. You want it to be just a portrait of you, and the background should have minimal going on. If the background is busier, it should match who you are and you should be what’s in focus.

Recruiters will see that your profile is complete and that you are engaged with it. The more you post and interact, the more frequently people will see your profile. Once on your profile, you want words, phrases, and other things that show you are well-accomplished. You want your accomplishments and experience to match what you’re interested in and applying for. Ultimately, showing that you are passionate and excited will bode well with potential future employers.

Get to know Kasey Petro!

“All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”  — J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Kasey Petro is the Employer Relations Liaison at the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career. She began working at Hope College in September 2016.  We asked Kasey 10 questions to give us the chance to get to know her a little better. This is what she had to say:

  1. What is your role at the new BOERIGTER Center for Calling and Career?

I first began working at Hope in the Development and Alumni Engagement Office and this September I moved into the Employer Relations role, at the Boerigter Center. I really wanted to be in this role because I love working with students and I am in a better position to use my skills to be able to connect students to the outside world.  I oversee HandShake, work with employers to build relationships that students can later use, and meet with students for mock interviews.

  1. What is one thing that is still on your bucket list?

I would love to hike to the Base Camp of Mount Everest. I love adventures and doing things that stretch my limits!

  1. What is your FAVORITE activity to do outdoors?

I would definitely say mountain hiking and camping.

  1. When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

I actually wanted to be a lawyer. I have always enjoyed debating and love playing devil’s advocate. I remember once when I was in 6th grade, we had a mock trial in which I was the prosecutor. I kept talking and talking even after we had won because I needed to get all of my points across. To this day, I still care about justice and being able to understand both sides of any situation.

  1. What song would you burst out during karaoke?

I would just like to say unless this was a life or death situation I would probably be not singing in public. That being said, I would pick Sweet Caroline, because I know everyone would sing with me.

  1. If you could master any language, which one would you choose?

I would have to say Spanish. My husband speaks fluent Spanish and I would love to be able to use it communicate when we travel.

  1. Who would you most like to swap places with for a day?

The Notorious RBG (Ruth Bader Ginsberg)

  1. What is your favourite quote?

This is a hard one; there are so many amazing quotes! I really like a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt. She said “The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

  1. If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Curry for sure. I love all of the different flavors!

  1. What is something about you that people would be surprised to know?

I love all types of games! Board games, card games, sports- you name it. I love a good competition and if I lose a game I want to know why, so it doesn’t happen again.

We hope you enjoyed getting to Kasey Petro. You can head on over to Boerigter Center for Calling and Career to meet with her!

LinkedIn How-To: Networking and Job Search

As a continuation to a series of blogs about LinkedIn, let’s dive in with what it looks like to utilize LinkedIn. Once you have set-up your profile, your next step is learning to navigate the site. There are plenty of ways to connect with employers and find potential jobs to apply for. This short post will help lay some of the foundation of ways to get started with this process.

||It’s Never Too Early To Start||

Building a network is important, but it isn’t necessarily easy. It takes time to meet people, get your name out there, and feel like you have several connection. Start the process early. Take time to connect with professors, even if they are not necessarily in your specific career, they often have contacts with former students as well as plenty of employers or people who can connect you further. Additionally, don’t be afraid to talk about your career goals with family or in other circles of people in the workforce. Just expressing your interests can often go a long ways.

||Connect||

Don’t be shy. Add people to your network. Even if you don’t know someone super well, it doesn’t hurt to connect with them on LinkedIn. The more connections you have, the wider your pool of potential is. With more people on your network, you have more people who will see your posts, interact with your profile, and get your name circulating.

||Be Bold||

Reach out to people on LinkedIn. Send personal messages to people letting them know you’re job searching and if they have any connections to help you out. You should never simply ask someone for a job, but reaching out to people is always a good idea to build your network. Customize each message you send to show that you value the person you’re speaking with. Better yet, reach out to a recruiter on LinkedIn. Confidence shows initiative. After applying to a job, let the recruiter know and ask a question or engage with them. Don’t be afraid of putting yourself out there. The boldness may just land you the job.

||Browse Around||

Use LinkedIn as a resource to find potential companies you’re interested in. Plenty of employers use LinkedIn and frequently make posts about their companies projects and initiatives. You can get a pretty great sense about employers based off of their profile pages. Follow different companies and people that interest you. You can then share those posts and interact even more with companies that you would want to work for.

||Search||

Lastly, you can always search for jobs. You can narrow down filters to make it more applicable to you, and then you can often apply straight from LinkedIn to different opportunities. Try and follow-up and make a connection within the company in order to have a more personal relationship to the job you’re applying for.

There are so many ways that LinkedIn can help you find a job. The more you interact with the site, the more comfortable and easy it will be to understand how to use the site to its full potential.

LinkedIn How-To: The Basics of Your Profile

LinkedIn has become a vital tool in getting your face out there for employers to see. Additionally, the site serves as a way for you to seek out job opportunities and connect with employers after an interview or career fair.

The first step to making your LinkedIn account worthwhile is understanding how to set up your profile. While there are many things you can do over time to embellish your profile, let’s start with some basics.

||Headline and Photo||

You want to grab the viewers attention by using a short statement as your headline outlining who you are and what you’re looking for. For example, say your major (i.e. Business major) followed by what kind of job you’re looking for (i.e. seeking a position in public relations). You also want to make sure you’re well-represented in your photo. This photo should either be a professional head shot or resemble one. You want to be well-dressed and have a background that isn’t distracting.

||Give a good summary||

When you edit the summary section of your profile, utilize this space to quickly showcase your goals and career aspirations. The paragraph should be concise, give some information about your studies, and also showcase your unique self. Think of this as the start of your best cover letter.

||Fill it in||

Take some time to fill out your profile. Put in all of your education experience as well as extracurricular activities. Possibly most important is that you add in your work experience and volunteer work as well. The descriptions of your work should be similar to the bullet points of your résumé, but you want to make them more personable and put those skills and experience in paragraph form.

||Be active||

Treat this like your professional social media. This means you should interact with posts, share blogs you’ve written or articles you’ve read, and update people on new positions and professional moves. Engaging on LinkedIn gets your name surfacing more and allows employers to see your interests. This is also a great way to let people see the projects you’ve done that you’re passionate about and have spent time working hard on.

||Be Yourself||

Finally, it goes without saying, but it’s important to showcase who you are on your profile. You still want to keep things professional, but share things that you’re genuinely interested in and not just what will “make you look good.” Make your abilities and skills as well as your personality evident to employers.

If you ever have questions about your LinkedIn profile, you are always welcome to stop in at the Boerigter Center to ask questions or get feedback. Drop-in hours run from 3:00-4:30 PM every weekday. Stay tuned for a post about how to use LinkedIn to network and job search coming soon!

Why Consider the Insurance Industry?

Michigan is home to some of the nation’s largest insurance companies. The industry employs over 50,000 people and serves millions of policyholders in areas such as health insurance, property/casualty insurance, and life insurance. Insurance companies work to provide financial assurance products covering a diverse range of financial risks.

Many students do not have the insurance industry on their “career radar,” but here are some reasons why you should:

  • The insurance industry offers significantly higher wages. Michigan’s insurance industry average wage is $85,000, whereas average wages across all industries is $60,000
  • There is a substantial need for talent – the industry is replacing a quarter of the workforce due to retirement and broadening areas of recruiting interest
  • The insurance industry is seeking students with all backgrounds of study, which means it could be a great fit for everyone and especially those in fields with fewer job opportunities.

Alumni, Julia Mills (’18), is currently working in the insurance industry after recently graduating and shared some insight into the field.

“The insurance industry can be an excellent fit for students navigating the post-graduation transition. As most insurance companies are large scale, there are frequently many roles to fill at any given time. By working for an insurance company, you begin to get a taste of what the real world is like, which is necessary to face after college. Although it is not all glamorous, and the type of work available may not highlight your Myers-Briggs, it is an excellent place to learn what you do (or do not) love in a work environment. Hours are consistent, benefits are substantial, and interviewing is relatively easy. Another perk to the insurance industry is their commitment to training you thoroughly. Because your expertise on insurance will contribute to the greater picture of the entire company, businesses are likely to put time and effort into your training. This means that many doors are open for you, especially if you want to continue in the insurance world. If you are a learner, and taking in new information everyday excites you, the insurance industry could be perfect for you.”

If you are curious or interested in learning and discovering more about a career in the insurance industry, we invite you to attend The Michigan Colleges Alliance Insurance Industry Recruiting & Informational Event on November 15th from 1:00- 4:00PM. The event is being held at the Crowne Plaza Lansing West (925 S. Creyts Rd, Lansing, MI 48917).

The event’s agenda will include small-group roundtable networking sessions with each company. These sessions will have overviews of current and future recruiting needs.

A special drawing for multiple $500 Scholarships will be held at the conclusion of the event. All students graduating in May 2019 or later will be eligible. You must be present to win.

International students are encouraged to review individual positions and attend. Select companies offer sponsorship opportunities. Below you can find a link to register as well as learn more about the companies that will be in attendance.

Please register here to attend: https://mcainsurance18.eventbrite.com

Review each company’s positions currently posted via https://tinyurl.com/mcainsuranceevent.

As always, the Boerigter Center would love to help you prepare as well as answer any further questions. Feel free to give us a call (616-395-7950) or stop by the office located in Dewitt.

RESUMES! RESUMES! RESUMES!

Here at the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career, we know that students are SO excited about résumés! And they definitely have extra free time to write and perfect those important documents. Right?

Some of you may have a drafted version of a résumé stored somewhere within the endless documents on your computer. Maybe you need to work on it, but you say will get to it eventually…

Résumés are very important – they are a culmination of all of your work experiences fit into a one-page document. Oftentimes, résumés can be the difference in getting a job or interview, and the employer tossing it to the bottom of the “no” pile.

So don’t put them off anymore!

Give our office a call and make an appointment for a group résumé review session, you can learn valuable tips to perfect your résumé. Best of all, you will be in a small group with other students who are in a similar position as yourself. We know you have worked exceptionally hard in those volunteer or work experiences, let us help you show future employers that you are qualified.

After you have attended a group résumé session, we encourage you to come back for further help in a drop-in. Our drop-in hours are from 3:00-4:30 PM every weekday, where you can meet with a career advisor for additional information. If you are still seeking more résumé assistance, you are welcome to make an individual appointment with a BCCC staff member.

We look forward to working with you!

 

 

The Value of an Internship: Pam VanPutten ’87

With over half of the semester behind us, you may be starting your search for a job or internship for the spring or summer of 2019. This past week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Pam VanPutten ’87, Coordinator of Mentoring & Internships in the Center for Ministry Studies here at Hope. All who know her love her, and her advice is just as good.

What is the value of internships for college students?

“Internships are a wonderful way for students to get hands-on, practical experience working with an organization or business. Not only does this help equip students for working somewhere in the future, it also gives them insight into leadership, organizational structure, work ethic, and so many other valuable opportunities.

Students have been immersed in an academic culture for many years. Having the opportunity to be in the workforce allows them to see different expectations and give them ways to mature and grow. It also gives the student an opportunity to contribute to an organization and have a valuable impact. Students often come up with solutions or fresh insights that can be very valuable to an organization.”

How have you seen students grow personally and professionally through an internship program?

“Internships reveal the day-to-day details of a job. Administrative skills, communication skills, and specific expertise related to a job are often learned in an internship setting.  Students also have opportunities to learn the soft skills of life in an internship. Showing up on time, following through with projects, time management skills, adaptability, and working well as a team can be very valuable concepts to learn through an internship.”

How are the specific internship classes helpful in students reflecting and growing from their internship position?

“The Ministry Minor has an accountability component regarding internships. Every student is required to submit 4 journals each semester during their actual internship experience. The students are given prompts regarding their internship experience, what they are learning about various aspects of their internship and how they are developing personally. In the Ministry Minor, students are also asked to reflect on how their faith impacts their experience.

I have the privilege of reading and grading these journals for the Ministry Minor. The growth and development that comes from each student during their internship is amazing! There is a definite change in the student as well as a positive impact on the organization as well.”

VanPutten wanted to note how valuable she believes the experience of an internship can be and says,

“I highly encourage every student to take advantage of an internship experience during or after college. The amount of growth as well as the impact they can have an organization is limitless.”

Wherever you are in your internship search, the Boerigter Center would love to help you on your journey. Make an appointment today or call our office (616-395-7950) to get started!

Owning Your Internship Experience

Are you hoping to gain real-world work experience before graduation? Internships can be a valuable way for you to connect with employers, practice skills you have learned in your courses, better understand your skill set and identify areas for growth, and learn more about potential careers after graduation.

Although it can seem that most of the pressure is on you to prove your worth to a company, an internship is also an opportunity to decide if the position is a good fit for you. Some internships may fit very closely with the work you want to pursue in the future, and others may be filed as additional experience, helping you to decide what you don’t want. The main things to consider are whether you can see yourself in a similar position to the full time employees you are working with, and if there are additional courses or skill sets needed for you to hold this position. Ask about industry trends – are some skills becoming outdated, or are new areas becoming more important for newcomers who want to be competitive applicants?

Be sure to look at aspects outside of the work you are doing as well. This is a company you may spend a significant amount of time working at, and it is important that the industry or company culture fits your needs. What is that culture like? Do people participate in sports or activities outside of work? Do they seem to enjoy working together? It can also be important to know whether these trends are specific to the company you work for, or if they are normal for your industry.

This can also be a great opportunity to learn more about your coworkers. How long have they worked in different positions or with other companies? What have they enjoyed about their time in this industry, and what advice do they have for you as you join the workforce? An internship is a perfect time to build professional relationships and connections that can help you when you are ready to pursue full-time work.