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.

A New Space for Online Interviews

Skype interviews are becoming more and more common. In fact, it is likely that you will have a digital interview before actually going to an in-person interview or having a face-to-face interaction. Because of the commonality of this, it’s important to find a quiet, professional space to conduct an online interview.

Good news! One of the exciting new features of the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career is the private interview room for students. The room is a small, semi-soundproof area with a sliding glass door that provides natural light. There is also an outlet to keep your computer charged throughout the interview, so that you have one less thing to worry about.

Some people have already jumped on the chance to utilize the space when having an interview. Jenny Lussenhop, a Hope senior, recently used the space.

“The simplicity of the Skype room helped me to stay focused during my interview, and allowed my interviewer to stay focused on me, not my surroundings. There was natural light, accessible outlets, and pens and paper just in case. I also felt supported just by being in the Boerigter Center space. If anything would have gone wrong, I know I would have had multiple options of accessible people to ask for help.

I would recommend this space to other students. It was really easy to reserve and comforting to know that I had a space that I could arrive early to, set up, and be fully present in my interview without worrying about disruptions. If anyone would feel uncomfortable with others seeing you interview, it might not be the best choice.”

The small room is visible as people walk by, but a sign is put up informing people when an interview is in-progress. It can be hard to find an appropriate space to have an online interview given the nature of shared living spaces at college. So next time you are faced with this situation, be sure to call (616-395-7950) or email ( our office to reserve the space for your next online interview.

Grow Your Network in Three Easy Steps

Trying to build yourself a network of people seems like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be so intimidating. Here are three simple things that you can do to get started!

1. Be friendly with your professors!

Even if you don’t want to be a college professor, they often have connections and contacts in fields that you may be interested in. The same applies to faculty and staff in your department. Having a good relationship with your professors can make their connections, your connections.

2. Do some informational interviewing

An informational interview is not an interview for a job or an internship, but rather it is a meeting where you can ask questions and get advice about a field of interest. Basically, it’s a long conversation with a potential connection. Not only can you learn a lot from the person you meet with, but they could be someone to help you with your career or an internship in the future.

3. Come to the Boerigter Center!

The Boerigter Center offers many opportunities to network. Not only can we help you find internships and job shadowing experiences where you can make connections, but we also offer networking group sessions with our staff. At these sessions students will learn about how to use LinkedIn to network and can leave with contact information for alumni in their field of interest.

Stop by at the Boerigter Center, and check out even more details about networking here!

Where will you go with your connections?

Is a Gap Year Right for You?

That time of year is upon us where we will all return home for holiday breaks and be bombarded with questions about what our future looks like after Hope College. For some, maybe the panic starts to set in and you feel like you have zero answers. For others, maybe you have known for a while now what you are doing after graduation.

We want you to feel prepared and ready to take on the next adventure, no matter what that looks like. There are multiple paths that you can choose from and The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career wants to help you in the process to discern, prepare, and pursue. The Gap Year Fair is the perfect place to explore what opportunities and careers are available to you once you graduate from Hope. Several different nonprofit organizations and programs such as Teach For America and Peace Corps will be represented at this event, which will be held on Tuesday, October 30th from 11:00AM to 1:30PM in Maas Auditorium.

Hope College alumni Sarah Jane Carpenter writes about her personal experience with the Gap Year Fair:

“I always feel a little surprised when people ask me, “How was your gap year?!” or even, “How was your trip?!” I always interpreted the term, “Gap Year” as a period of time somebody takes when they have no post-college plans. For me personally, I was in the midst of applying to various graduate schools to receive my education degree for teaching 7th-12th grade English Language Arts. I worked as the 7th-10th grade English Language Arts instructor for a phenomenal school called Abundant Life Christian School in Gracias, Honduras. It’s part of a nation-wide school system, but my particular location was in sweet little Gracias. I view that year as a major stepping stone in my life. It was tremendously helpful and essential to my personal, professional, and spiritual growth. I often say that I think I learned as much during that one year in Honduras as I did throughout four years of college! And don’t get my wrong, the four years I spent at Hope College changed my life! So did one year in Honduras, and it changed me just as much, but in different ways that I never would have expected. After teaching my subject to my targeted grade levels for a year, I feel so prepared to now get my education degree.”

So what exactly is a gap year? Typically, a gap year consists of a one to two year-long opportunity 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 within that organization. However, even if it doesn’t, students usually benefit from these experiences as they learn more about themselves and what types of careers they want to explore and pursue.

If you would like more information about the employers attending the event and the event itself please visit Handshake. If you would also like more information on what questions to ask at a Career Fair or how to prep for a career fair, please visit our website or stop in to ask questions. All are welcome and no registration is required.

Get to know Shannon Schans!

“Not how long, but how well you have lived is the main thing.” -Seneca

Shannon Schans is the Career Counselor for assessment education and career exploration at the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career. Shannon began working at Hope College in August 2015. We asked Shannon to answer 10 questions to give us the opportunity 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 work with primarily first and second year students in the process of introducing and working through calling and vocation and major discernment.

  1. What was your very first job?

I worked at Dairy Queen for most of my high school years. It was the most delicious and the most disgusting job of my life. Pro tip: Do not get a dipped cone.

  1. What is the most interesting gift you have ever given someone?

I love giving personal gifts that mean something to whomever it’s going to. The gifts are never huge or expensive, but hopefully they are really meaningful. A couple of years ago, I gave my mom and my sister a necklace made from a coffee mug that belonged to my grandma. It was her trademark bright orange mug and it was always filled with coffee. When it broke, we were all pretty sad. So I sent the pieces to a jeweler on Etsy and she made necklaces for me, my mom, and my sister made from the glass.

  1. What is your favorite family tradition?

My mom hosting Thanksgiving. It’s the loudest and most insane party ever, but it’s the most fun day of the year.

  1. What is the weirdest food you have ever tried?

 I actually don’t think that any food is weird, it’s just different from your own normal. When I was in high school, I was an exchange student in Russia and I defiantly ate food that wasn’t normal to me, but was very normal to them! Probably tongue was the most unique.

  1. What was your favorite band/singer when you were growing up?

New Kids On The Block, hands down. Hangin’ Tough since 1987.

  1. Do you have any unusual phobias?

Yes. I am afraid of almost everything so if you name it, I’m probably actively avoiding it. Germs, flying, buffets…they’re all bad.

  1. What is your favorite place out of all of the places you have traveled?

I have been to some lovely places, and picking just one is hard. I think Orvieto, Italy takes it though. It’s so beautiful.

  1. What is one thing that you are better at than anyone else you know?

I am an excellent problem solver.

  1. If you could spend the day with any celebrity, who would it be?

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Oprah, and Michelle Obama. Can the four of us hang out?

We hope you have enjoyed getting to know Shannon Schans. We are excited to have you meet with her!

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching” -William W. Purkey


Growing in the Real World with an Internship: Student Experiences

Looking for ways to build your resume and gain professional experience? An internship might be the best choice for you! Internships can prepare you for your career and life after college by letting you explore your interests. Many Hope students participate in experiential learning opportunities during the summer and during the school year. If you want to hear some of their stories, keep reading!

Jason Gomory is a senior majoring in Business and minoring in Leadership and Mathematics. He interned at Steelcase this summer and said about his experience that

“One of the most impactful learning experiences since being at Steelcase is, you must be passionate about the work that you are doing. This passion will help you in solving problems you don’t yet know how to solve. This passion will help to calm the nerves before walking into a meeting with senior leaders, and this passion will flow into your work and will lead you to excel as a member of any team you are apart of.”


Another senior who had a summer internship was Daniel Foy. He is majoring in Communications and interned at the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. When asking about his experiences, Daniel responded saying

“My internship at BCBSM was challenging, rewarding, and fun. It was incredible to work collaboratively with other interns and professionals in the Corporate Communications Department. Throughout my time, I participated in projects and wrote blogs to share with others inside and outside of the corporation. It was great to be able to apply the concepts I have learned in my classes here at Hope to Corporate America. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity!”

With an internship you will not only build your resume, but also, like Jason and Daniel, you will be able to develop your skills, put class theory into practice, and grow professionally. If you have any further questions about internships or need help with the search process, please explore the Boerigter Center for Calling Career’s website and click on the “prepare” section and/or stop by the Boerigter Center’s office located in DeWitt.


Your Best Foot Forward: Navigating a Career Fair

Career fair season is knocking on our door and we want to help you feel more confident and prepared! First impressions are essential when you are trying to make an impact on recruiters who are encountering tons of faces within a few hours. Here are some tips to help navigate the room:


Bring copies of your résumé — lots of them. You may go in thinking you are only going to talk to a couple of employees, but before you know it, you may be talking with a few more employers and recruiters who catch your eye. You want to make sure you do not run out of copies before talking to the employers you had intended to target, so a safe bet is to bring about 15 copies.


Before heading to the career fair, try and get an idea of potential employers that will be there. You can head over to Handshake to get a list of career fairs that the Boerigter Center is advertising and see a list of companies there. Know the people you would potentially like to talk to, and take the time to check out their websites and have some talking points. Knowing details about the company shows initiative and can help you standout.


Dressing business professional is always a safe bet. Keep your color palette neutral. When it comes to dressing the part, you’re always better to be slightly overdressed than under dressed. Need ideas? Check out our Pinterest page!


Work on an elevator pitch. This is basically a quick rundown about yourself and giving the recruiter some information that sets you apart. You can read the blog on elevator pitches here for more information:


After you have a conversation, be bold and ask for a business card or a way to be in contact with the employer. Some employers will use LinkedIn and will want you to reach out via that platform whereas others may be more apt to a traditional business card. Either way, you should try and have a LinkedIn profile setup and you will want to reach out to the employer to follow-up shortly after the career fair. Send an email or a message thanking them for their time and expressing further interest in being in contact.


Do not just walk up to an employer’s booth and take all of the brochures and pamphlets. Instead, have a conversation with the recruiter and then follow-up by asking them what materials would be most suitable for you to take. This will help show the employer that you care about knowing more and that you are proactively observing what is around you. Additionally, taking small notes as the employer talks is not a bad idea. This shows you want to remember the conversation and makes your follow-up more personal.

Ultimately, show your best side and be confident. Confidence is key when it comes to the job search process. The more you know, the more confident you will feel, and do not forget to be courteous, respectful, and engaged. Even if the employer you are talking to is not your first pick, be sure to be present and show your best side. You may be surprised how much you will like a company if you give the recruiter time to give their pitch.



The Boerigter is Officially Open for Business

H Cookies get a face-lift for the Boerigter Center’s Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.

It’s official! The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career is now up and running in full swing after this past Friday’s Ribbon Cutting. Students, faculty, and staff all gathered for the celebratory event as the Boerigter’s were paraded in on golf carts. Trygve Johnson started the ceremony off with a time of prayer to bless the center. Fellowship ensued shortly after the ribbon was cut inviting students in to utilize the new space.

The Boerigter’s spent some time socializing and greeting people who were there to celebrate. After a brief conversation with Sibilla Boerigter, it is apparent that they are excited to give back to the college in this way. They were both so impressed with how quickly and efficiently the college got the project up and running. When the idea was first proposed, they were sure it would take several years to see the dream fully come to life. However, the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career is now excitedly welcoming students into the space.

The Voskuil’s (left) engage in a lively conversation with George Boerigter.

Thanks to the generous donation of George Boerigter from his company SoundOff Signal, Hope College is now able to cater to an even wider student population. The open-layout concept and central campus location were both highly intentional choices in order to make students feel comfortable and welcome in the new space. Whether you are a first-year student, transfer, or senior, the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career can help get you on the right path for a blossoming future.