7 Tips for a Better Handshake Experience

Handshake is a great resource for current students and alumni to get their name out to employers, sign up for events, and find an internship or job! It’s a resource that’s easy to use and so beneficial when you capitalize on the features it provides. The following are 7 tips to help you make the most of your profile on Handshake. 

First, tailor your profile so it represents who you are and gives seeking employers a chance to get an initial sense of you as a person. Keep the different aspects of your profile updated, such as your past experiences, your profile picture, your resume, your skills/courses/projects, and your career interests. Adding career interests is often overlooked by students, but it’s actually very beneficial to include. Handshake will give you tailored job suggestions based on the interests you add, and it will help recruiters find you. Interestingly, 80% of students who share their interests on Handshake receive a message from a recruiter, so taking the time to do this step is definitely worth it. 

Second, upload your resume. This step isn’t complicated and will make applying for jobs much faster! All you need to do is go to Documents under your name. Click Select from Computer and then add a Word Document or PDF―Handshake will try to change every document into a PDF, so I recommend you simply upload a PDF since the conversion Handshake has to do does not always work, resulting in a failure to upload. After you choose your document, make sure you set the document type as resume so that it shows up to employers.

Third, use filters during your job search. Searching for a job is easier than you think when using Handshake. All you need to do is use one or more of the many filters available under the job search bar, such as Full-Time Job, Part-Time Job, Internship, and On-Campus. These filters will narrow the job pool, making it less overwhelming to look through and will help you save time since it takes out the jobs that don’t fit what you’re looking for. As you look through the job options, you can favorite those you’re interested in and might want to apply to later. All you need to do is click the star button which will  allow you to quickly find it later. Also, while you’re there, don’t miss out of the save your search option! 

Fourth, make your profile public. This way, employers who are connected with Hope College on Handshake can see who you are and potentially recruit you. A public profile helps get your name out there and will better your chances at connecting with an employer and finding a job or opportunity you desire. 

Fifth, it’s okay if you have trouble finding a job. If you find yourself struggling, you can schedule an appointment with the Boerigter Center through Handshake! There are appointments for job search, internships, mock interviews, and more. You can schedule an appointment by logging in, clicking Career Center, select Appointments, choose Schedule a New Appointment, and set up what you need. If you have any questions, send an email to careers@hope.edu and someone will get back to you. 

Sixth, know that jobs aren’t the only thing you can find on Handshake. The Boerigter Center offers a variety of sessions and events that you can register for through Handshake. All you need to do is look for the Events button on the top of your homepage. Check them out and sign up for what interests you! 

Lastly, be active on Handshake. Being active is the best way to find and get the job or opportunity you want, so take the necessary steps by registering for events, using the filters when searching for jobs or internships, interact with employers, apply for a job/internship, join the Hope College Connection, or schedule an appointment―get your resume reviewed, network, make a plan, or have a mock interview―to practice and prepare. Remember if you ever feel stuck, do not hesitate to reach out to the Boerigter by sending an email to careers@hope.edu, they love to help students! 

I hope you now feel more prepared and ready to make the most of your Handshake account with all the features it offers. Take a few minutes to update your profile today and use the other tips to begin the hunt for your next job or internship. You got this! 

Shadowing for Success

In the first few months and years of their college experience we work with many students tossing around ideas of what they would like to do with their future. Enter our DiscoverWork program, a formal job shadowing experience that lets students “test out” what their future could look like.

After students attend their opportunity we ask them to reflect on the experience with their host and share how it helped inform their next best step. Here are a few highlights from the most recent cycle:

Rachel Foy | Host: Derek Root ’02 | Supply Chain Management

Rachel (left) and host Derek Root (right)

“I think the most important thing that I took away from my experience was that people take many different paths in life. There is not one set path to get somewhere. It was cool to learn Mr. Root’s background since this supports this idea. I would have never guessed someone with an undergrad in Religion would end up as a supply chain manager.”

Marissa Ervin & Abby Krueger | Host: Kelly Arnold ’19 Digital Marketing

“My favorite part of the day consisted of speaking with Kelly’s co-workers in the department about their experiences and path to the industry. I appreciate the collaboration within the work. It seemed like every person played a role in creating digital content and they really have to trust each other to do their job and do it well to ultimately create a polished product.” -Marissa

Abby (left), Kelly (center), Marissa (right) at Herman Miller’s Design Yard

“While we of course talked about specific career paths, including digital marketing, the bulk of what we talked about and what has a significant impact on me was the importance of finding a PLACE rather than a JOB. They highly encouraged us to find companies with which our values align, companies with great culture, and places that value you as a person. Almost everyone in this department had changed roles at some point, many multiple times. Their point was that, the specifics of your job of course matter, but the environment, culture, and care given towards you in your work environment generates far more satisfaction than any task or project ever could.” – Abby Krueger

Marketea Abbott | Host: Tawny Brooks ’00 | Law

Tawny Brooks ’00 (left) & Marketea Abbott (right)

“If I learned anything from Mrs. Brooks, it is that success is not “one route fits all”, it is expansive and flexible. It is unique to each person. I can earn a Master’s in Social Work and still go to law school if I choose. My passion for people can look very different depending on how I want it to turn out. I have been blessed to continue learning and working through those thoughts. I am eager to see where God will move me.”

Julia Loula | Host: Dr. Melissa Richardson (Hope Parent)|Medical

Julia (left) with Dr. Richardson (right)

“The most important thing that I learned from my shadowing experience is that medicine is something that aligns with who I am and is something that I could see myself doing every day as a future career. Additionally, it was helpful to ask about the work-life balance in Dr. Richardson’s job as that is something that I have been considering a lot lately. She encouraged me that having a balance, and things like a family that come with that, is more than possible and not something that should ever hold me back from the profession.”

Whether you are a student seeking to learn more about a certain profession or an alumni, parent, or friend of Hope that wants to host a student, The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career invites you to apply for our next round of DiscoverWork. Head into The Hope College Connection and click the DiscoverWork tab to get started.

Reflections from a Graduating Senior: Mentors Matter

With only a few days left of my senior year of college, I find myself reflecting on the people that have made a difference during my time at Hope College. Most of the people that come to mind have become very important mentors and I hope they continue to be. 

Over the years I have learned that a mentor is someone in your life who cares for you and they truly want to coach, motivate, challenge, protect, and connect you to opportunities. I was lucky to have quite a few mentors during my time at Hope. Some of them started as professors or advisors and the relationship grew into a mentorship, while others I sought out with the desire of them becoming my mentor. No matter how the relationship formed, each and every mentor that I have has played an important role in my life whether it be helping me network for my career or simply giving me the everyday life advice that I was seeking. 

I truly believe in the power of a mentor and lucky for us Hope College students, so does the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career (BCCC). The BCCC recently launched a platform called the Hope College Connection which allows students to connect with alumni, parents, and friends of the college. Through The Hope College Connection you can explore the directory by geography, class year or major and easily set up appointments for informational interviews for networking purposes. This platform is evidence of how special the Hope College community is because there are already over 2,000 mentors that have joined and want to connect with students. I had the opportunity to connect with a few of them and I wanted to share the insight that I gained from my time with them. 

Mentor Spotlight

Andrea Paolo Mainardi ‘86  | Disrupting the Status Quo @ New Dimension in Sport® | Milan, Italy

One of the things that stood out to me as I was talking to Andrea was how passionate he was about lifelong learning. He talked about how he still looks back on some of the notes he took during his business classes. Learning didn’t stop after he left Hope College and he is continuing to learn by constantly challenging himself with new material. Also, as someone who is in a sports market that is hard to enter, his advice of having a strong personal network was very insightful. 

Andrew Van Pernis ‘96 | Project Manager at DreamWorks Animation | Glendale, CA

Andrew is someone who believes in giving back and he loves to do so by coming back to Hope every once and awhile to share about his experience and offer any advice. This is evidence of the special Hope College community that we are a part of. Andrew also reminded me of how most people take various routes to get to the place where they are. Andrew pursued multiple experiences such as a grad program, teaching, and working for a startup company before he settled down at Dreamworks.

Justine Post ‘09 | Social Worker, Advocate for Rural Communities | Graham, NC

Justine graduated right after the 2008 financial crisis so she understands the struggle that some of the seniors are facing in the current job search. She reminded me of the importance of a network that can also support you emotionally and mentally especially during these times. Justine looks back and remembers that she pieced some things together to make things work in her first two years after graduation but she reassured me that she landed on her feet and found a way to make it all work. Justine also shared about how Hope allowed for her to identify her strengths and find her passions outside of academia. 

Cathy Fall | Hope Parent | Occupational Therapist at Waterford School District | Waterford, MI

Cathy is a passionate occupational therapist who reminded me of the importance of using your strengths to discern your career path. As a parent of three students at Hope College, she understands how a Hope College education benefits individuals. She joined The Hope College Connection because she loves what she does and wants to share any advice that she can offer to Hope students. 

Lessons Learned

After meeting with each one of these mentors I took some time to reflect on the words that they shared with me. Here are the top 5 things I learned that I hope you can also find valuable : 

  1. Building your personal network is important to both your career and personal development. You can start doing this by joining the Hope College Connection. 
  2. Hope College parents, alumni, and friends are more than willing to give you advice and share their personal and professional experiences.
  3. Networking does not have to be intimidating or scary because there are people that want to help you. 
  4. You do not have to have everything figured out right after graduation. Most of the mentors shared that their journey after graduation had some unexpected twists and turns. 
  5. Pursue lifelong learning. It is important to keep challenging yourself even after exiting the educational setting. 

What if my summer internship is canceled?

The Boerigter Center is here to support you through these unprecedented times and we want to help you navigate plans for a meaningful summer. Please know we are taking appointments virtually through Handshake. Here are some ideas of what you can do if your summer plans have changed:

  • Ask the employer if you can continue your internship by working remotely – maybe they have projects that they could assign you that you can work on from home.
  • Prepare to be the best candidate moving forward by working on your interviewing skills (schedule a virtual mock interview appointment or use InterviewStream) and update your resume.
  • Find a summer job.
  • Consider a micro-internship or shadowing experience.
  • Volunteer in your community.
  • Explore PathwayU.
  • Focus on your professional development! Take online tutorials and listen to podcasts related to your potential career fields of interest.
  • Connect with alumni through The Hope College Connection and set up some informational interviews.
  • Research graduate programs.
  • Study for MCATs, LSATs, GREs, etc.
  • Learn a new foreign language.
  • Be creative! Build a professional portfolio. Start a blog.  Play music. Start a journal. 
  • Learn life skills or pick up new hobbies like cooking, gardening, or photography.
  • Practice self-care. 

Bringing Joy, One Cup of Coffee at a Time

How do you find your calling? What is your purpose – the thing that you just know you were created to do?

Mark Dykema ’07

I recently sat down with Mark Dykema, a local business owner and 2007 Hope College grad. As a student, he had opportunities to reflect on his strengths through classes and conversations with his mentor, professor Steve Vanderveen. He recognized that from a young age, he developed a sense of drive and determination to work hard, and he wasn’t afraid to take risks. He worked as an intern at an insurance agency, and continued in that profession after graduation. But his entrepreneurial spirit continued to be strong, and he decided to take a leap of faith and become the Biggby Coffee franchise owner in the Holland/Zeeland area.
Mark’s business got off to a strong start, thanks to his grit and resolve to make it successful. Then, through a series of unexpected events, Mark found himself in a position to re-evaluate his life’s purpose. Take a few minutes to hear the rest of the story: https://vimeo.com/375494181 

Whether you are a student, family member, or one of our many alumni, I hope Mark’s story shows that it’s OK if you don’t have your life’s calling figured out while you are still in college. As you journey through your career, take time to reflect on your gifts and the path God has put you on. Take a step back and recognize how your calling is bigger than a certain profession. Mark discovered his calling to bring perpetual joy to others. How about you?

Want to connect with other alums like Mark? Check out The Hope College Connection at connection.hope.edu

We’re here for you! COVID-19 Employer Update and Resources

To protect the well-being of our staff, students, and employer partners, Hope College has moved to online operations through April 13, 2020. Please note that this date may be subject to change as the college continues to monitor the situation and follows guidelines from Michigan’s governor. All on-campus recruitment events (interviews, tabling, employer visits, etc.) have been cancelled. We, however, will continue to provide virtual services to all of our students and employer partners. Students have been directed to use Handshake and other remote services to continue active job/internship searches and we encourage you to do the same.

Handshake Reminders

Please continue to post your opportunities on Handshake. If you are interested in conducting virtual interviews or events please contact our office (careers@hope.edu).

Current Internships

We are encouraging students to pursue internships to the extent they are comfortable doing so at this time. We expect interns to follow the lead of employers in terms of social distancing and remote work.

For more information on how our campus is monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, visit hope.edu/coronavirus.

For any questions, please contact our office (careers@hope.edu). Additionally, while we are not onsite monitoring our phone system, should you call, please a voicemail and it will be returned as soon as possible.

Best wishes,

The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career Team


What Pre-Health Students Wish Their Parents Knew

Person Wearing Academic Dress

Parents are understandably invested in their students’ education in more ways than just one, but sometimes the questions and added pressure from parents can get overwhelming. To answer some of these questions for students and parents, I surveyed Hope College pre-health students on what they wish their parents knew about college, the pre-health tracks, or the health profession itself, as well as questions that they commonly are asked. Most of the topics were centered around the application process and what it takes to be admitted to medical school, including extracurriculars, classes and grades. Some students also responded with how their parents’ can support or have supported them through the process. 

The Application Process: 

Related questions: When do you apply to graduate school and how? How long does the application process take? What makes a good applicant? What does and what doesn’t matter? When should you take the MCAT? What is a gap year? Why are you taking a gap year and how are you going to afford it? How do medical schools look at gap years? When do you choose a specialty?

One of the most common topics that pre-health students said their parents asked them about was the application process. The first thing to know about the application process for medical school (or any post-graduate health program) is that it is different than it was 20 years ago; getting into graduate school, especially medical school, is harder than it used to be. Graduate schools now consider students holistically rather than from academic performance alone, so it is much more competitive to get in and extracurriculars have much more importance than they used to. While good grades get your foot in the door, valuable experiences and reflective essays are what secure your spot. The acceptance rate for medical school applicants with GPAs of 3.79 or higher and Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores in the 95th percentile or higher for the 2017-2018 and 2019-2020 cycles was 87.8%—that means 12.2% of applicants with the best scores and grades are still not accepted despite their academic achievements. The overall acceptance rate of all applicants to medical school was 41.9%. This demonstrates that grades are not everything when applying to medical school (or graduate school) and it is very difficult to get in. 

As for the “when?” of the application process, it depends on the preferences of the student and whether they choose to take a gap year or not. If students do not want to take a gap year, they have to complete all MCAT prerequisites by the end of their junior year and take the MCAT in April or May in order to begin applying during the summer before their senior year. However, gap years are becoming more and more common and many students use the extra year to gain additional valuable experiences in order to be more competitive applicants. The average age of matriculants to the MSU College of Human Medicine for the 2017-2018 and 2019-2020 cycles was 25 years old and to the WMU Homer Stryker School of Medicine was 24.7 years, demonstrating that many successful medical school applicants take a gap year. For students who are planning on taking the MCAT at the end of their senior year, a gap year will be necessary during the following year while they apply. Many students work with organizations such as Teach for America or the Peace Corps following graduation. It is very important for students to evaluate their candidacy prior to applying to medical school (or graduate school) because the process is very expensive between application fees, secondary application fees, and travelling to interviews. Since there is no way to know what the applicant pool with look like in a given year, it is important that students put their best foot forward when applying, which can sometimes mean taking a gap year. 

Some students reported that their parents commonly ask them when they choose a specialty, and the answer is—not until the third or fourth year of medical school. While students may have some idea of their specialty interests prior to applying to medical school, this has no impact on the application process unless they are specifically planning on working in an under served area of medicine which could influence where they apply. 

Blue and Silver Stetoscope


Related questions: Should you be doing extracurriculars? Shouldn’t you be focusing on your classes? Are you doing a lot of shadowing? 

As mentioned before, extracurriculars are very important for pre-health students. Extracurriculars are how potential medical students prove that they meet the competencies that medical schools are looking for through actions rather than words alone. Students could probably write a solid essay about working with diverse people, but experiences can demonstrate that the applicant actually has a history of working with diverse people along with a commitment to serving. Experiences provide the students with real-life examples to strengthen their essays for demonstration rather than explanation. Good experiences also tend to help students grow as people, so more, and higher quality, experiences help make students more well-rounded individuals who will be more equipped to care for a wider variety of people in medicine. Applicants are required to write short activity essays, usually for around 15 activities, in addition to choosing their top three activities to write more about. This does not include secondary, or school specific, applications which target different competencies that medical schools are looking for, and demonstration through examples, when applicable, is always better than descriptions with no evidence. These experience essays are also an opportunity for applicants to demonstrate how they fit with the mission of the schools that they are applying to. 

Aside from extracurriculars, job shadowing is also important to the application process. Dental schools as well as occupational and physical therapy programs require a certain number of shadowing hours prior to applying. While medical schools do not require specific numbers of hours, shadowing is still considered during the application process. Shadowing is important because it demonstrates that the applicant has some idea of what it will actually be like in the profession so that they know what they are getting themselves into prior to going through medical school. 

Academic Life: 

Related questions: What GPA do you need to get into medical school? What order should you take classes in? Why can’t you graduate early? Are you keeping up with your classes? Will the courses you are taking really help you get into medical school? What happens if you do not do well on an exam or in a class? Didn’t you say you had a challenging semester last semester? Why do you have to put so much time into your labs, aren’t they the same as your regular courses? Aren’t you a pre-med major? 

On the topic of academics, as I touched on before, GPA and MCAT scores are the first step to getting at least an interview during the application process. Applicants must prove that they will be able to handle the rigorous curriculum of medical school successfully. However, not all of the MCAT and medical school requirements are physical science courses. There is a section on the MCAT titled “Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior” which requires knowledge in psychology and sociology. Other than the prerequisites, major and minor classes do not necessarily matter. Some can be helpful towards building other skills that will be valuable for medical school such as cultural competency and building an ethical framework for decision making. 

On the subject of major, there is no such thing as a pre-med major at Hope College. As mentioned above, there are prerequisite courses that are required for the MCAT and medical schools that pre-med students must take, but these are alongside a chosen major. Many pre-med students choose to major in sciences such as chemistry or biology due to the large amount of overlap between the major requirements and prerequisites, but it is not required to major in a physical science to apply to medical school. Many successful applicants to major in other fields such as psychology, a foreign language, economics, or history. 

As far as grades go, getting one bad grade on an exam or in a class is not the end of the world for your student. Although maintaining a good GPA is important, this does not mean that the occasional B or C will completely ruin a student’s chances of getting into medical school. And individual exam grades do not matter as long as the student does well in the class overall. However, the pressure to maintain good grades can be intense, which may be why your medical student always tells you that they are having a challenging semester. 

Apart from this topic, science labs are separate from lecture courses at Hope, although they are usually co-requisites. This means that labs have their own assignments and time commitments completely separate from the lecture portion even though it seems like they should go together. In addition, labs are three hours long and lab reports are normally not quick to write which ends up being a large time commitment for pre-health students while taking prerequisite science courses. 

Person Writing on the Notebook

Supporting Your Pre-Health Student: 
Related questions: Why don’t you take some time for yourself? Why don’t you go out more? Why are you ignoring me? How can we help you?

Many students responded to the survey saying that they wish their parents knew just how much support they need and want. Pre-health tracks are difficult because of the rigor of the prerequisite curriculum and the pressure to perform well in classes on top of the time commitment of required extracurriculars. Supporting your student is different for every student but some ways include listening, encouraging, and reassuring your student through difficult times. One student who responded to the survey wrote about how grateful they are for their parents’ support—specifically for listening without trying to “fix” and reminding them that there is more to life than classes and grades through updates from home. They added that knowing that their parents’ were always there with a listening ear is encouraging. Another student responded saying that students most need their parents’ support in times of doubt; if your student tells you that they do not want to be pre-health anymore, it is up to you to decide whether they are serious or not, but reminding them of what brought them to this career path in the first place can be the push they need to make it through a difficult time. Although each student is different, these are ways that you could try to help encourage your student through difficult times. Other ways that you might be able to support your student could be doing research on your own to learn about the application process and meeting them where they are at. Many pre-med students are very focused and driven and likely feel like they cannot take time for themselves lest their grades drop or due to the pressures of extracurriculars. Asking about a (non-existent) social life or lack of self-care can feel like criticism if presented in certain ways, so listening to your student with empathy can go a long way. Encouraging them through the busyness and trying to understand their situation can help to make them feel more supported. On top of this, students may not have very much time to chat on the phone or respond with more than a quick text message—as one student said: we are not ignoring you, we are just really busy sometimes (or all the time). 

As far as supporting your student through the actual process, connections for shadowing opportunities often come from friends of the family or people the student already knows, so parents can be instrumental in making these connections for their students. Do not do the work of setting the shadowing up for them, but connecting them with the right people is a way that you can help.

Getting into graduate school for any health profession is extremely competitive and supporting your child through the process can be instrumental to their success, even if that just means lending a listening ear. 

Sources: The Association of American Medical Colleges –  https://www.aamc.org/

Our New Platforms: Electronic Resources for Your Journey

There are so many new platforms that The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career has been rolling out in the past year! Which one should you use?

When searching for an internship or career after college, there are so many different places to begin looking. It can be overwhelming, especially if you do not know where to start. Hope College has three platforms that are easy to navigate, compliment one another, and are customizable for each student. Those platforms are PathwayU, Handshake, and The Hope College Connection. Each of these are unique in the resources they provide but each equally as valuable and helpful to students.

You might not know about: PathwayU

When starting your journey here at Hope, we recommend you begin with PathwayU. PathwayU is a platform that will make recommendations based on your specific strengths as it relates to a certain major or career path. This resource will be replacing two of the existing assessments we offer (MBTI & Strong Interest Inventory). When you first make an account, it will have you take a 15-20 minute quiz that asks various questions about yourself, from how you handle stressful situations to how you prefer your work environment. As with any personality assessment, it is important to be honest when answering the questions so you get the most accurate response. Once you have completed the various assessments, PathwayU will tell you all the jobs that you matched with and it will rate the match from “very strong” to “weak.” This feature can be helpful because it informs you of the wide variety of jobs that you may have not considered before. PathwayU also syncs up with Handshake.

You might be familiar with: Handshake 

Handshake is a platform similar to Indeed in that it is a centralized resource for jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities. Something that makes Handshake unique is that it is specific to Hope College students. If you login with your Hope email address, all the jobs and internships posted are listings that only Hope students can see. You can (and should) customize your profile to make it your own by uploading your resume, inputting the type of position(s) you are looking for, and including other personal information (like grad year and major). Handshake is also the one stop shop for a bunch of other resources. Most importantly, Handshake is where you can schedule an appointment with our team as well as RSVP for a variety of events The Boerigter Center is hosting. 

You might just have learned about: The Hope College Connection

The third platform is another one that is exclusive to the Hope College community. It was just launched and it’s called The Hope College Connection. The Hope College Connection is an online resource to connect Hope alumni, families, friends, and current students for networking and mentoring opportunities. Similar to LinkedIn, the site allows users to request to connect with each other, request meetings or send a message. 

Your step nexts

Now that you have some background on each of these platforms, how do you get started using them? 

  • If you are interested in PathwayU email assessments@hope.edu and you will get a link to make an account and take the assessments.
  • Hope students can make an account on Handshake using their Hope email address. Once you are signed in, complete your profile and then start exploring or make an appointment.
  • To get started with Hope College Connections, head over to connection.hope.edu and follow the prompts to sign up. Once you are approved, you can complete your profile (you can use LinkedIn or your resume). After your profile is complete head to the “Make a Connection” tab and start connecting! 

As always, we are here to answer any questions you might have. Please call us at 616-395-7950 or email us at careers@hope.edu You can always stop by our office or come to drop-in hours from 3-4:30 pm Monday through Friday when school is in session. 

We hope you find a platform to serve you on your journey!

College to Career: Figuring Out the World After Hope

Are you feeling confused about what life after college looks like? Do you wonder about how to manage your finances, understand benefits, 401ks, or know how to find a job that is right for you? You can have all these questions answered and more at our College to Career event being held on February 25th from 6 – 7:30pm.

This event is a “meet and greet” style that will allow students to learn from a variety of professionals and alum. There will be introductions from each of our speakers and stations to rotate around to each one of them. Below is a little glimpse into each of our speakers and the area they will be advising on.

Andrew Schut is attending the event to speak about personal finance. He is the Assistant Professor of Accounting here at Hope.

Lori Mulder is returning to this event to talk about human resources (benefits, contracts, etc.). She is the Director of Human Resources here at Hope.

Stephanie Forest is a returner to the event and will speak about financial aid (aka paying off those student loans). She is the Associate Director of Financial Aid here at Hope.

Dale Austin is attending this event to speak into all the steps to be taking when seeking employment. He works in the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career. 

Garret Gormley is joining us to speak about life after college. He graduated Hope in 2018 and now works as an Inside Sales Representative at Gordon Food Service.

We hope to see you there at our College to Career event. Head to Handshake to register. This is a great opportunity to prepare yourself for what life holds beyond Hope in your career.

Speed Dating to Career Fair: Finding Transferable Skills in Unusual Places This Valentine’s Day Career Fair 101

With Valentine’s Day tomorrow, you may have some plans; maybe you are going out on a date, hanging out with friends, or chilling in your room with some nice chocolate, some tea, and a good movie. Whatever you are doing this weekend, I hope that you are looking forward to the Career and Internship Fair on February 19! Regardless of where you are in the process of preparing to go job hunting, take a little time and read through the five steps below to help you have a strong performance at the fair. And in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, reflect on the transferable skills you can bring in from speed dating!

Step One: Do Your Research!

When first preparing to go to the Career Fair, be sure to pull up the list of companies that will be attending and work on identifying which companies you think are interesting. Think about someone who catches your eye. You may look them up on social media to see if you can discover more about them. The same concept applies to a career fair! Check out attending employer’s websites and job descriptions to start identifying companies that may be a good fit for you. It’s best to go into a career fair knowing at least a little about who is there and what you are looking for, otherwise, it can be a touch overwhelming. For our fair, you can check out the Handshake event to see a list of employers who are attending.

Step Two: Build Your Resume!

When you are preparing to go to a speed dating event or a blind date one of the first things you may do is put together a list of stories and information about yourself that you can share with those you meet to give them a well-rounded idea of who you are. You should spend time doing the professional version of this before a career fair and build a resume! A resume should be a one-page document that has three main sections: a header, an education section, and an experience section. Alongside this, there are other sections you can add to expand on those three sections such as an objective section, college leadership, awards, and skills depending on what would be most helpful to showcase to a potential employer. If you are struggling to put together the perfect resume for the Career Fair, check out the guides that are on the Boerigter Center’s website or stop in for a resume review during drop-in hours. Drop-ins are available from 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm Monday through Friday and if you cannot make any of those times, do not worry, we also have individual appointments available!

Step Three: Prepare Your Elevator Pitch!

What are a few things about you that you try to tell someone you are interested in as soon as possible? How do you get their attention? How do you make sure they remember you and don’t look confused when you say hello to them? These are things you may think about with Valentine’s Day tomorrow or with speed dating, but have you ever thought about how to make yourself stand out during a career fair? That is what your elevator pitch should do at a fair! An elevator pitch is a quick 30-60 second pitch that you give to the recruiter at the fair. It should essentially consist of three parts: your key strengths, why you are interested in the industry, and what would make your contributions unique. It’s important that you take the time to think about what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. While what you say is important, how you say it sends a message as well! Make sure you make eye contact, give a good handshake, smile, and know enough about the company you are speaking to so as to be able to comfortably carry on a conversation.

Step Four: Dress For Success!

If you have ever been interested in someone before or have prepared to go to an event where you think you may meet someone attractive, you have probably spent some time thinking about what you will wear to look and feel your best. Appearance is also a focus at a career fair because first impressions matter even in a professional relationship. The dress code for the upcoming Career Fair is business casual. When in doubt about what to wear, it is better to err on the side of dressing too formally rather than too casually. But where’s the line? Check out the Boerigter Center’s how-to guide on the website. It’s important to be remembered by potential employers for your poise, professionalism, and experience… not what you wore.

Step Five: Follow Up!

Who was that engaging, nice, funny person you connected with while you were speed dating? Surely you got their number and are planning to connect with them soon, because once you made that connection you wouldn’t want to let it fall apart! If that is a concern when romance is involved, you can be sure the same idea applies to a job fair. Make sure that you get the contact information for and follow up with the connections that you made during the event. Sending a short, to the point email within twenty-four hours after the event to the recruiter mentioning where you met, what you talked about, and how excited you are is a great starting point. Don’t make your follow up emails too long though! You don’t want to scare away your contact but you still want to keep yourself fresh in their memory.

Relax, prepare, and we look forward to seeing you there!

We hope to see you at the Career and Internship Fair on February 19 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm in the Great Room in the Bultman Student Center!