Philadelphia Fun

Interested in studying off-campus for a semester while getting a taste of independence in a big city? The Philadelphia Center offers an awesome program that does just that! Hope College senior and Career Advisor Jaclyn Van Dyk writes about her experience in the program:

Jaclyn enjoying a sunny day in Philly!
Jaclyn enjoying a sunny day in Philly!

“I had the opportunity to spend the past fall semester on the East Coast at The Philadelphia Center in which I took part in an off-campus, experiential learning program that was made available through Hope. My time in Philly consisted of working 32 hours a week at my internship, taking two classes, and exploring the city and surrounding areas. Experiential learning is at the heart of this program as you dive right into finding housing upon arrival to the city and securing an internship the following week. My internship took place at The SHARE Food Program, a non-profit in North Philadelphia that offered various programs that would promote affordable access to healthy food. I was able to gain incredible experience at my internship by bringing on of SHARE’s food package programs into four schools within the city.

My experiences went far beyond my internship as one day a week I had my city-seminar class in one of the Philadelphia County Prisons with half of the students being from our program and half being inmates. Outside of classes and internship hours I was busy exploring the city of brotherly love, the historic sites of Independence Hall, Penn’s Landing, The Liberty Bell, visiting museums such as The Franklin Institute, Eastern State Penitentiary, and the infamous Art Museum and Rocky steps. Outside of being an everyday tourist, I was able to get involved in a local church, visit the many neighborhoods of the city, attend improv shows, theater performances, grocery shop at the Italian Market, and take in all the art, culture, and history the city has to offer.

My semester in Philly was the most incredible experience. The forced independence allowed me to try new things, be pushed out of my comfort zone, and develop a great appreciation for all places, spaces, and people. To check out more about the program visit The Philadelphia Center.”

If you have any interest in learning how to fit the Philly program into your time at Hope, stop by the Career Development Office and we’d be happy to discuss possibilities with you. Experience the City of Brotherly Love!

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.

Meaningful Work – Why Start Now?

The average American will spend about 23,000 hours of his or her life working.  That’s over 11 years.  It seems natural to turn to hobbies and activities outside of work to find a sense of purpose or meaning, but when so much of our lives will likely be spent in the workplace, it makes even more sense to pursue work we find meaningful.

Why it Matters

Meaningful work looks different for everyone.  We’re all created with unique skills, gifts, and passions, and we find meaning in the spaces or opportunities where those parts of ourselves intersect.  It’s that intersection – or “sweet spot” – where we operate at our very best, make the greatest contribution, and are the most satisfied.  

Choosing to forgo the pursuit of meaningful work has two important consequences: missing out on the opportunity to do the work that will be most satisfying to you, and failing to be a responsible steward of the potential you have been created with to contribute to society with the work you uniquely do best.  The pursuit of meaningful work, or work within that unique “sweet spot”, matters for your own life and for the good of those around you, but it won’t happen by accident.  You have to own your career by making the conscious decision to discover your sweet spot and then actively pursue work within it.

Getting Started

There are different avenues one can take on the pursuit of meaningful work, and the Career Development Center is here to help you sort out which avenue is best for you.  The most important piece is simply to start now.  The earlier you start, the sooner you will discover where your skills and gifts intersect your passions, and the sooner you can start to learn about the work that exists in that intersection, which then allows you to start gaining the experience you’ll need to eventually do that kind of work.  

Starting early is your best chance to ultimately have a career doing work that is meaningful to you.  Which, you’ll recall, translates into the 11 years of your life spent in your workplace made more meaningful.

So start preparing and planning now, whether you’re a first year student or approaching graduation.  Start networking and thinking about internships.  Consider the resources that exist around you, and take full advantage of them now.  

The Career Development Center (CDC) offers a plethora of resources to help you get started in pursuing meaningful work.  For students still trying to discern their skills, gifts, and passions, the CDC offers access to strengths and interests testing.  For students who have an idea of what kind of topics they find meaningful, but are unsure of how to translate that into a career, the CDC offers a “What can I do with this Hope College major” page on its website.  For students who know the exact career they’re aiming for, the CDC’s various handouts and guides as well as an online resume review service and employment listings through JobStop are excellent resources to explore. These sources can help with building a professional network and securing internship experience to prepare for full-time work in such a career.  All of these resources, and many, many more are available for you to take advantage of now, whatever year or stage you’re currently in.

Stop by the office in the Anderson Werkman Financial Center, or call to make an appointment with a CDC staff member today, to start now in preparing for a lifetime of meaningful work.  We look forward to seeing you soon!

Living and Working in Grand Rapids and Chicago: Networking 101

Living & Working in Grand Rapids!Living and Working in Chicago!

 

As you may know, two of the Career Development Center’s major events coming up–Living and Working in Grand Rapids (4/1) and Chicago (4/15)–networking is something that you should feel comfortable with. Well you are in luck because we have some networking tips just for you!

First, it is important to know that networking is a continual life long process. When you are networking, always look for the next step in gaining information about your field. Also, networking is not only limited to professionals in your field. You never know when a position you are interested in may come available at a company you might not have expected! Networking is the best way to find a job or internship!

Here are a list of some do’s and don’ts for networking:

DO:

  • Wear something with pockets, or carry a small bag so you have a place to stow business cards
  • Jot notes in a small notebook
  • Keep one hand free at all times to shake hands with people you meet
  • Dress professional, sharp and modest
  • Thank your network partners and keep in touch with them
  • Develop lasting relationships, not just contacts
  • Look for ways to help the people in your network
  • Ask two important questions: “What is your story?” and “What advice would you have for me as I consider entering this field?”

DON’T:

  • Brag or exaggerate the truth in your conversations
  • Spend too much time in unfocused conversation; respect and appreciate their time
  • Gossip or share inappropriately; stay professional and relevant
  • Allow your networking relationship to become one-sided
  • Ask personal questions or about money/salary
  • Ask for a job

We hope that these tips will help to make you feel comfortable in moving forward with expanding your network. Make a connection between yourself and the other person and follow up with them. Be sure to be genuine and sincere in your interactions and always thank your contacts for their time!

Lastly, there is still time to sign up for Living and Working in Chicago! This event is always well-attended and fun for students! Email fundaro@hope.edu to register!

 


If you would like to explore appropriate networking further or would like to possibly find some contacts who you may connect with in your field, call our office (616-395-7950) to make an Networking appointment with Joelle Fundaro! Be sure to keep in touch with your contacts!