Internships Shouldn’t Scare You

Do you have an idea of what you would like your dream career to look like, but aren’t sure how to get there? Or maybe you have no idea what career you want, but are looking for ways to find out? Either way, having an internship is a great way to open doors for future opportunities! Often paid, they provide great ways to earn money while getting relevant experience in your intended career field while networking with potential employers. They will not only offer glimpses into what certain fields are actually like, but will also allow you to meet both friends and mentors at the same time while exploring your career.

Career Advisor Gaby Vazquez commented on her internship experience, saying,

“I had an internship in Grand Rapids last summer which is what helped me land my dream internship in Chicago the following summer.”

There are many ways to go about obtaining an internship. One great way is by attending internship fairs. Internship fairs generally consist of multiple employers setting up booths in a relaxed environment where students seeking internships can walk in with a pile of resumes and walk out with a pile of business cards.

Internship Fair
Maas Auditorium

These opportunities are not hard to find. In fact, there will be an internship fair here on campus on Thursday, February 4th from 3:30pm-5:00pm in Mass Auditorium. No registration is required, so students can drop by and jump in on the networking. Business casual is the expected dress code for this event. Come with a few printed copies of your resume to pass out to select employers, and don’t forget to prepare a couple questions to ask while networking with the professionals. We at the Career Development Center would love to help you with the preparation and follow-up processes, so stop by today and talk to us!

See you at the fair!

New Year, New Career!

If you’re like most college students, your Christmas break was likely filled with family and friends who lovingly asked questions like “So, what are you studying? What can you do with that major? What are you going to do after college?” targeting some undetermined and sometimes frightening topics. They can cause you to stand there, stammering to find an answer, and anxiously looking for a quick way to change the subject.

Luckily, those questions don’t have to be scary, and you can easily provide answers for all of them! Come to the Career Development Center (CDC). No matter where you find yourself in your career exploration process, we are here to help you.

Looking for a fun summer job? The CDC is hosting a Summer Camp Fair on January 20th, from 11:00am-2:00pm in Maas Auditorium. This is a great opportunity to network with numerous camps, located anywhere from right here in Holland, to Warwick, New York.

Hope College first-year student and devoted counselor at Covenant Harbor Bible Camp (which will be represented at the Fair) commented on her employment experience, saying,

“It doesn’t feel like a job to me. It’s an incredible way to spend your summer! It’s super rewarding, and you build a great community among your staff members.”

Come as you are, no resume needed! For more information about the event and a full list of the camps attending the fair, click on the following link: Summer Camp Fair Information


The CDC has also created an event discussing important steps during the transition between Hope and “The Real World” called From Hope to Hired. Kevin Deane from the Image Group will offer tips on finding a job, CDC Career Counselor Megan Fisher will discuss how to effectively network with people in your field, and CDC Director Dale Austin will highlight how to prepare for interviews.  The event will be held from 7:00pm-8:30pm in the Martha Miller Rotunda. No pre-registration or outside preparation is required. See you there!

Lastly, don’t forget to stop by and see us at our office, located on the first floor of the Anderson-Werkman building! Set up an appointment with our front desk, or call us at 616-395-7950. We also hold Drop-In Hours from 3:00pm-4:30pm every weekday for ten minute appointments and reviews.

We look forward to working with you this semester!

Steps to Exploring Out of State Careers

Is there a city you’ve always wanted to live in? A town that you can totally see yourself living and working in, but you have no idea how to make that happen? Starting a career in another state can be a scary yet exhilarating time. Being away from the security net of your home and school can offer a new found independence which can allow you to grow. Although it can be challenging, it can prove very beneficial.

Diving into it is made easier by the many wonderful resources that Hope College provides us. The Career Development Center (CDC) offers resources such as Job Stop, externships, and career fairs that enable us to tackle the challenge of finding a job.

The CDC offers numerous events for students to explore out of state opportunities for a variety of majors and interests. For a list of all the events the CDC will be hosting soon, follow this link: CDC Events. The CDC has also created a handout outlining suggestions for how to prepare for career fairs (which often can lead to out of state opportunities) which can be found here: Career Fair Handout

Although a lot of these resources initially connect you with in state opportunities, sometimes the companies you get to know in state also have offices out of state. Building relationships with them can be a great way to build your network, as they can put you in touch with all the right people in the state of your choice.

Keep in mind past connections, and use social media sites such as LinkedIn to get in touch with recruiters outside the state. Although may seem daunting at first, LinkedIn can really help your networking.

Internships can also open doors for out of state experiences. Hope graduate Abby Wilhelm of the class of 2015 is currently working as a Project Coordinator for an organization in Washington D.C. She commented on her out of state career exploration, offering a little advice for current students, saying

It was the professional and social connections I made during the Washington DC Honors Semester [while at Hope] that made it possible for me to return here after graduation. I could not have found housing, job opportunities, etc. if I had not had a a supportive network to reach out to at graduation. Taking advantage of internship experiences and networking relationships, especially ones that are fostered in new places and during your time at Hope, will make for an incredibly smooth transition into a new state and a new season!

There are many resources in the Career Development Center website to help improve your out of state career search, or you can also meet with a staff member.

Taking risks is a part of life, and although starting a career in a different state can seem unsettling, there is no better time to do it than when you are young. Being willing to fight for what you really want will set the tone for the rest of your career.

IES Internships Around the World!

Do you ever wish you could travel abroad, but school and internships always seem to be in the way? We have a solution for you! Jena Szatkowski, Assistant Director of the Career Development Center, recently visited Rome and Milan to hear about the IES (Institute for the International Education of Students) Internship program.

IES Abroad is a program that offers study abroad experiences for college students. IES Internships is a department within IES Abroad that has 12 different locations for students seeking internships to explore. Jena said the purpose of her trip overseas was to “have people who work with internships at universities feel comfortable and secure about sending students abroad and making sure they’re having valued internship experiences.”

Jena Szatkowski met Hope College student Fonon Nunghe for lunch while he's studying abroad in Milan.
Jena Szatkowski met Hope College student Fonon Nunghe for lunch while he’s studying abroad in Milan.

The IES Internships program has a great summer internship opportunity. The summer program is perfect for student athletes or students who just can’t fit studying abroad in during the academic school year because of work, classes, etc. The summer internship: 

  •     Lasts generally between 8-10 weeks 
  •     Starts in late May and goes to late July
  •     Consists of a 40 hour per week internship commitment, along with having an internship seminar (3 or 6 internship credits back to Hope)


If you are interested in studying abroad during the Fall or Spring semester, IES offers internship opportunities during the academic school year, which are generally 10-12 hours per week.

If you’re interested in studying abroad, we encourage you to contact Amy Otis-De Grau for more information. Take advantage of exploring this great travel opportunity!

Steps to a Successful Interview

Dale Austin conducting a mock interview.
Dale Austin conducting a mock interview.

How do you sell yourself to a company and answer difficult questions about yourself and your experiences? Interviews can be overwhelming, whether it’s for a full time job, internship, or on-campus role. However, interviews are also incredible opportunities to reflect on your strengths and unique abilities when applying your experiences to a given role. Most importantly though, an interview is a great chance to be yourself and have a conversation about how you may fit with an organization. Dale Austin, the director of Career Development, splits interviews into three pillars:

  • Practice the Process
    • Put in work ahead of time and understand the process. Know and understand the organization and role. Do your research and know the job description inside and out.
    • Schedule a mock interview with a staff member at the Career Development Center.
    • Use Interview Stream, an online resource that can be found through Jobstop. It’s an automated question and answer system that videotapes you through your webcam and allows you to re-watch your interview. You can also use Interview Stream on your phone if it has a camera. It’s a free system and there are various question sets, dependent on your major or area of interest! Simply login to Jobstop and you’ll find the Interview Stream icon on the left side of the webpage. Click here to login and get started with Interview Stream: Jobstop Login 
  • Have Confidence
    • When an employer realizes you’re confident in yourself and your abilities, seeing that you know you would be a great fit, he or she will make that connection. 
    • Know yourself and be authentic. Reflect on your background, values, and experiences to build a connection between you and the company.
  • Take Examples from your Experience
    • Understand how your experiences have shaped you. Be able to give concrete examples of how they apply to the role or organization.
    • Context, action steps, and results. Offer the context and background surrounding your experience, the steps involved, and the overall outcome.

Once you take the time to go through these three pillars and fully understand them, you will be in great shape to wow whatever organization with which you are interviewing! Lastly, don’t forget to send either a thank you note or email to follow up with an interview. If you’re looking to schedule a mock interview or want to learn more about interview prep, please call our office and schedule an appointment at (616) 395-7950, or stop in for a drop-in appointment between 3:00pm-4:30pm any weekday. We can’t wait to work with you!

Career Night!

On Tuesday, November 3rd, The Career Development Center hosted a game show-themed event called “Career Night” at Phelps Dining Hall! Everyone who played the game answered questions about the Career Development Center, winning various prizes donated by businesses in the greater Holland area. It was a lot of fun and a big success!

Here is another team picking out which awesome prizes they want!
Here’s one team checking out the prize table after winning!
Here is a team with their prizes!


The Career Development Center is fully prepared to help Hope Students in their career exploration processes. From certain areas of professional development, to figuring out what a student’s future may hold, we are ready and willing to help guide you. You should check us out! We’re confident you’ll benefit from your visit!

Thank you again to the numerous businesses that made Career Night such a success. We could not have done this without your generosity.

Thank you to the City Delicatessen, Butch’s, Phelps Dining Hall, Pincushn’s, Full Circle, Biggby, Crust 54, Kilwin’s, Karla’s Place, The Tin Ceiling, Teerman’s, Spring Sweet, BAM!, New Holland Brewery, Mizu Sushi, JP’s Coffee and Espresso Bar, JB and Me, Glik’s Men’s Shop, The Good Earth Cafe, the Hope College Student Activities Committee (SAC), Urban Found, Sarafina, Downtown Dogs, Frances Jaye, Lemonjello’s Coffee, Crane’s in the City, Russ’ Restaurants, and 8th Street Grille.

Networking Works

Networking works. However, we know it can also be a little intimidating. Hope has thousands of alumni, and you probably know hundreds of professionals!

How do you sort it all out?

First off, take advantage of the resources you have! Know some professionals in your potential field? Shoot them an email saying you’re interested in talking to them about their careers and asking what insight they would like to share with you. Also consider creating a LinkedIn account. The “Connections” page on LinkedIn is a helpful resource for connecting with alumni. Networking can lead to some pretty fantastic opportunities while pursuing your career exploration path.

Not sure about your own resources? Make an appointment with the Career Development Center! We’ll help you link with alumni and other resources to build your professional network. Megan Fisher is the go-to person for any and all networking questions, so don’t hesitate to make an appointment with her to get started in the networking process!

Career Advisor Hadley Roy speaks to her own personal experience with networking here at Hope:

 Last week I made an appointment with a Career Development staff member to talk about internship possibilities. That appointment got my name on an email list with the Office of Alumni Engagement, and that email list got me to a lunch with Hope alumnus who is a successful businessman in international travel. That lunch got me connected with staff in Alumni Engagement, who got me in touch with a Senior VP at a major ad agency back home. All because I made that appointment and talked to someone in Career Development about networking.

When it comes to networking and informational interviews, there’s one thing you have to remember: you can’t gain information unless you ask for it.

So get out there.

Start asking questions.

Start making connections.

You’re on your way to amazing things.

Judge a Book by its Cover.

First impressions matter. Whether you’re applying for a year long internship, a summer job, or a potential future career position, it’s essential that you make a good impression on your potential employer.

There are several factors that contribute to making a good first impression, such as having an impressive resume, strong interviewing skills, and a well-prepared outlook and overall sense of confidence. One factor that you should always take into consideration is your wardrobe. Although this may seem frivolous and insignificant, the manner through which you present yourself with your clothing says a lot about who you are and how much you value this potential position. Career Advisor Hadley Roy knows a thing or two about this topic, and has offered five tips to help you make a great impression with how you dress.

1.) Be professional.

Wear office appropriate attire. No flip flops. No jeans. Nothing torn. Nothing dirty. Make sure your hair looks nice and avoid distracting jewelry or makeup. Also avoid wearing any strong perfume or cologne, as this can be distracting for your potential employers as well.

2.) Dress for the job you want.

This is partially an extension of tip one, but there’s more to it than just looking professional. Read up on the office culture, check out LinkedIn profiles of higher-ups at the company or organization. Use your attire to mirror the values you see the company projecting. If you’re applying for an accounting or engineering position, a dark suit and conservative tie are always a good choice. If you’re applying to be a copywriter or designer, maybe consider something a bit more adventurous. My go to is a black sheath dress with a colored blazer, but always keep it professional.

3.) When in doubt, ask Human Resources.

Seriously. Ask. Don’t show up in a gray suit if you should have been wearing khakis. Don’t show up in jeans if you should have had on slacks and a blazer. Ask.

4.) Make sure your footwear is up to standards.

That means a conservative heel (if you can’t walk four blocks in them, leave them in the closet) or professional flats for women and dress shoes for men. Even the most casual of offices don’t call for sneakers at an interview.

5.) Make sure you feel good in the clothes.

If that means getting something tailored, do it. It’s a little extra expense, but it is worth it. Clothes that don’t fit don’t make a good first impression.

For more information check out these links:

Forbes “How to Dress for Your Next Job Interview”

Forbes “What to Wear for a Job Interview”

Be sure to check out our Pinterest page for even more tips! CDC Pinterest

If you’re ever in doubt about how to dress for an interview or how to make a good impression, stop by the Career Development Center. We want to help you build upon this foundation of making a good first impression by helping you with the entire interview process, so stop by today or call us at 616-395-7950 and we’d be happy to talk to you.

Gap Year Fair

Whether you’re a freshman, a senior, or anyone in between, graduation will sneak up on you before you know it, and we want you to feel prepared and ready to take on the next adventure life throws at you after Hope. The only question is, what will that adventure be? The Gap Year Fair is the perfect place to explore what opportunities and careers are available to you once you graduate from Hope. Over twenty different nonprofit organizations and programs will be represented at this event, which will be held on Thursday, October 29, from 10:30AM to 3:00PM in Maas Center. This is a great event the Career Development Center hosts that really showcases a variety of options for what to do after you graduate and are looking to take the next step in your career exploration process.

What’s a gap year, you ask? A gap year is a one to two year long time period, in which students who recently graduated take some time to explore different career options and vocations by getting involved with some type of non-profit organization or program. Sometimes participating in a gap year program can lead to potential employment opportunities, but even if it doesn’t, students usually benefit from this post-grad time, as they learn more about themselves and what types of careers they want to explore and pursue.

Hope College senior and Career Advisor Hannah Cutshall writes about her personal experience with the Gap Year Fair:

Other than internships, I have begun considering post-graduation life as well, which has lead me to the Gap Year Fair!  I studied abroad during my junior year, allowing me to appreciate the beautiful cultures of the world and instilling in me a true feeling of “wanderlust.”  If you are like me and want/need to travel and explore more, than Gap Years are a great option for you.  Hosting over 16 organizations that want to give you a chance to look further than Holland and gain real experience, potentially in a field you hadn’t previously considered, this event is catered around your needs!  Although I think I know where I’m going after graduation, I attended the event last year, skyped with women in Australia about their opportunities, saw how various organizations working in the nonprofit realm, and got to communicate with various teaching abroad agencies!  If I didn’t have a plan, I know I would be returning to find a new, incredible adventure and culture with which to spend a few years after graduation! 

This is an excellent event, chocked full of exciting opportunities for any and all students to explore. No prior registration is required. All are welcome. We look forward to seeing you there!

For a full list of organizations and employers, follow the link, or call the Career Development Center at (616) 395-7950. Gap Year Fair.

Seminary Day and Grand Valley State University Career Fair

What am I Going to Do After Graduation?

Thinking post-grad can be a bit frightening, but Hope has provided a number of opportunities to make your life after graduation (the one you’ve always dreamed about) a reality!  The Career Development Center (CDC) offers a variety of events for you explore different careers and post-grad options. Seminary Day and the Grand Valley State University Career Fair are two events that can help you learn about various career options in numerous areas and fields. 

Seminary Day

Seminary Day is the perfect event for anyone who is interested in exploring the world of seminary or theological studies. Thirty different seminary schools and institutions will be present at this event, including Western Theological Seminary, Duke Divinity School, and Princeton Theological Seminary, just to name a few. For a full list of the schools who will be attending the event, click here: Seminary Day Schools. Representatives from each of these impressive schools will be willing and eager to discuss their different programs and opportunities with students. This is the perfect event for students who are at all interested in the seminary field, so definitely take advantage of this special and exciting opportunity to explore your potential career path! Seminary Day is Thursday, October 22nd from 11:00AM-2:00PM in Maas Center. No prior registration is required. For more information about the event as a whole, visit the link above titled “Seminary Day Schools”, or contact the Career Development Center at (616) 395-7950.

Grand Valley State University Career Fair

The GVSU Career Fair is an excellent opportunity to network face-to-face with representatives from businesses and organizations, while exploring various career paths. There will be over 200 employers present and thousands of immediate openings and potential job opportunities for you to investigate. You can learn about potential internships and co-ops, building your professional network and developing your career exploration process. The GVSU Career Fair will take place on Thursday, October 22nd from 1:00PM-5:00PM in the Devos Place Convention Center, located on 303 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. No prior registration is required. The CDC is hosting a prep session for this event in our office (located on the first floor of the Anderson Werkman building) on Thursday, October 15 at 11:00AM. We’ll have pizza, so definitely stop by to eat and learn more about how you can prepare for this great event! For a list of employers who will be attending the Career Fair, please click here: Career Fair Employers. For more information about the event as a whole, please click here: GVSU Career Fair Overview. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the CDC at (616) 395-7950.

We look forward to seeing you at these two awesome events!