Job Pursuit Career Fair: A gateway to your dream job

What is job pursuit?

Job pursuit matches employers who want to fill job openings with students who are eager to find a job. It is intentional networking and could end with a potential interview on the same day you meet with an employer. The itinerary for the day is a morning full of networking and the afternoon is meant for one-on-one interviews with an employer. This is an opportunity that could open a door to your future career, that’s what it did for me.

Job Pursuit is a large job fair with over 50 different employers and over 250 students from various West Michigan schools that congregate at the Crowne Plaza Lansing West hotel lobby and conference rooms. A few schools that participate in the event include Calvin College, Cornerstone University, Hillsdale College, and  Hope College. The atmosphere of Job Pursuit is business professionals for both students and employers. There are approximately 5 different rooms and in each room is roughly 10 tables that various employers have set up. The tables have job opportunities, trinkets to pass out, and most importantly a representative from the company that is interested in hiring.

The first half of the day is networking and approaching various tables to speak with representatives. There are so many students attending that some of the time is spent waiting in a line which is perfect because you get to prepare what you want to say to the representative. Once the networking portion of the day is complete then everyone takes a lunch break. During the lunch break, the employers decide who they want to interview for the afternoon portion of the day. After you return from lunch you receive an envelope and inside is a sheet of paper that gives details about the interview schedule. If you were not asked to interview then the paper would indicate that you have no interviews on your schedule. If you are asked to interview with one or more companies then the itinerary with the company name and time of the interview will be outlined on your interview itinerary.

Interviews are roughly 30 minutes long and are very basic interviews getting to know a little bit about you and why you are interested in the company. Once the interview(s) is complete make sure to ask for a business card to follow up with the employer. Then the day at job pursuit is complete!

Why did you decide to go?

The fair is primarily meant for Juniors and Seniors searching for internships or full-time jobs. When I went I was a second-semester sophomore and I attended in order to practice interviewing, networking and my elevator pitch. I had no intention of getting a job or an internship at that time. My goal was to use the fair to learn about networking and interviewing and to gain some confidence by having some experience under my belt.

What is it like there?

There were a lot of students and a lot of employers networking. After I approached my first table I gained . When I was talking to the employer, I realized that they were there to talk to me! They wanted to know who I was and what kind of job I was interested in pursuing. I was talking and learning about the employer and the company as much as they were trying to learn about me.

That was one of my biggest takeaways:  that networking and interviewing is a 2-way street. You want to make sure you match with a company and a company wants to make sure that they match with you. That is the purpose of networking and interviewing.

Preparation?

Preparation was also crucial. There is a list of information about the employers on the website that I used to make my own list of the employers I was interested in meeting. I made a list of the top 10 I wanted to meet with and then went to their websites and found some information about the internships they were offering. I tried to find out a little more about the company that I could speak into when I met with the employer. I also brought 20 copies of my resume that I had in the pocket of the Hope College padfolio I brought with me. The padfolio is also important to purchase because it looks professional and it has a notebook to write notes, a pen holder, a place for resumes and a slot for business cards.

Personally, Job Pursuit was life-changing for me. While I was there I went to the Cintas table and spoke with the representative, Chad. I approached the table with a smile, shook his hand, introduced my self and presented my elevator pitch as I handed him my resume. When I was finished with my spiel he smiled back and said, “All of this is great! But, tell me more about you and what you want in a career?” After 20 seconds more of a brief conversation about what I wanted in my future, he gave me his business card and we parted ways.

When I got home from the fair I sent him a follow-up email thanking him for his time at the fair and emphasizing that I was impressed with Cintas and was interested in pursuing an internship. He then set up an informational interview with the General Manager of the Grand Rapids Cintas location. After that interview I had a phone interview, then two more following that. After a long interview process, I received a call from Cintas offering me an internship for the summer of 2017! I thoroughly enjoyed my summer spent at Cintas and I was so impressed with the company that I wanted to continue working during the school year. I have been working a few hours every week at Cintas and I am looking forward to spending the summer of 2018 there as well. And it all started because I walked up to a table at the Job Pursuit Fair.

The Job Pursuit fair will always hold a spot in my heart because it opened a huge door for me. About a month ago, Chad emailed me and asked if I would be willing to help him at the Cintas table at Job Pursuit Fair this year on February 16th. My sophomore self never could have imaged the impact one step of courage could bring for my future.

Challenge yourself, take a risk, and go to Job Pursuit! You never know what doors it could open for your future career.

Working at a Summer Camp: More than just a job

 

If working at a summer camp sounds like the job for you please join your fellow Hope College students at the Summer Camp Fair hosted by the Career Development Center which will take place on January 17th from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm in Maas Center, Auditorium. Continue reading to see why working at a summer camp is more than just a job.

Four years. Four years of college and three summers in-between to figure out the first few steps of your future. Some students use the summer to work in an internship, others use it as a break to rejuvenate after a long academic year, and others work at summer camps. Rachel Gillespie is a Hope College junior who is fitting the pieces of life together one by one in order to figure out her life calling. One of the pieces that has allowed her to see more of the big picture was her summer spent at Gull Lake Ministries.

Her summer camp journey began when a mutual friend recommended that she stop by the Gull Lake Ministries table at an upcoming fair to connect with the staff. The idea of working at a summer camp had crossed her mind, but she was not whole heartedly pursuing the idea. After a brief, non-intimidating conversation with a Gull Lake Ministries staff member she was asked if she would be interested in interviewing that day. The interview took place an hour later and it gave her the opportunity to speak passionately and authentically about her love for people, the Gospel and ministry work. After God opened and closed the doors of different opportunities for the summer, she was able to work full time for the summer of 2017.

As a middle school and high school counselor her time was filled with pouring love into the kids, serving in the kitchen and spending the day as a Kayak instructor on the water front. Her work hours were all day everyday with 30 minutes of downtime each day and 24 hours off on the weekend. All the hours she spent working were filled with memories, learning moments, excitement, hard work and numerous blessing from the Lord through all of her experience at camp, and it all began because she approached an information table.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Rachel to hear more about her summer experiences and to ask her a few questions about the camp.

What advice or tips do you have for someone considering attending the fair?

It’s really important to do some research for any kind of fair before you attend. Look up the list of employers (or camps) who will there, and select a few that you want to connect with directly. Since summer camps are more laid back, business casual attire is just fine. Then walk in with confidence! You are unique and important and you have something to offer that no one else does. Let that shine. Bringing a few copies of your resume couldn’t hurt. But most importantly, have some unique talking points ready to share. Lots of people like the idea of spending a summer at camp. However, I believe that it’s really important to know why you want to be there. If you don’t believe in the mission/goals of the camp or strongly desire to commit to a summer of selflessness and giving, summer camp is likely not for you.

We are all aware that summer camp jobs do not pay much, do you still believe working at a camp is a valuable experience? If so, why?

YES!!! This is the time to invest your summer for something that will matter forever. After graduation, it’s a lot less likely that you’d work a full summer at camp. The great thing about camp is that you spend hardly any money. And the salary that you do make can be saved for the future. It’s easy to come up with excuses, as I know I did; “I can’t be gone for that long. I won’t make enough money. I won’t know anyone. I don’t know if I’m qualified to do everything they’re asking.” Sure, those are valid concerns. But I don’t believe that they should stop you from at least exploring what’s out there. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

Was there something you learned about yourself at the camp that you never would’ve learned about yourself if it wasn’t for your experience at the camp?

This summer was huge for me. I like to call it “my most important summer”. Over the course of those weeks, I learned about why I was created and the things that my heart beats wildly for. While I don’t know the specifics of when and where, I know that God has called me to use my voice, strengths and talents in a ministry context someday.

Do you have any closing thoughts you’d like to share?

This summer at Gull Lake I got to throw myself into something a little wild, and something I believed in with my whole heart. So take the leap! It may just be the most important summer of your life.

Rachel is a phenomenal example of a student who took a risk and passionately pursed a God-given calling and reaped the benefits from that decision. She gained experiences that she will be able to use in future interviews and future life choices.

 

 

How to Make the Most of Christmas Break

Well it’s that time of year again! You’ve made it through the first semester of the school year, and boy does break sound good! After finals have drained all of your energy, there is really nothing like getting to spend some quality time away from school work, relaxing, and being with people you love. Over this holiday season take time for some self-care and mental health with these five tips to make the most out of Christmas Break.

  1. Rest

Finals are like slow painful death for many college students, and whether or not they were that for you, you could probably stand a little extra sleep. For the first few nights you are home, try to prioritize going to bed and sleeping in. The holiday season can get a little crazy, so before it hits try to catch up on all of that sleep you missed over the semester.

2. Catch up with friends

College is a wonderful time to make new friends, but if you’re anything like me, you probably have some good pals back home as well. Take some time this break to catch up with the people you haven’t seen all school year while you’re all in the same place. Grab coffee, a meal, go see a movie, whatever it is you like to do!

3. Make goals for the new year

Break can’t be all play right? As the New Year approaches take time to make some goals for how you want to go about life next semester. Not everyone likes to set resolutions, but I find that making a list of things you want to accomplish in the New Year helps to set the tone for the future. Bonus, making this list will also help you feel more productive than if you just watched Netflix all day.

4. Read

Reading probably isn’t at the top of your list given you have just completed another gruelling semester of college. But listen, you can read for fun! For you this may look like a magazine, a fictional novel, or even a nonfiction work if you’re really feeling it. Which ever way you go, books are a great way to let your mind relax.

5. Enjoy the good ‘ole outdoors

It’s a little chilly outside, but fresh air will do you good! It’s easy to spend the entire week cooped up in your house or dorm while at school, so taking time to walk outside, play in the snow, or go skiing. Being outside is a great way to relax and breath in some fresh air and have some fun while you’re at it!

 

Whatever way you like to relax, take time to prioritize your health this break. Enjoy your time away from school and mentally prepare to come back refreshed in the New Year! Hope you all have a Merry Christmas!

How to Get and Stay Organized

Do you feel overwhelmed with everything you have to do and not enough time to do it? Do you tend to lose items easily, forget appointments, or miss the due dates? If this sounds like you then, it might be time to get organized! Here are 5 tips to help you get started!

  1.     Tackle one area at a time

Getting organized isn’t something that happens overnight for most people. It’s honestly a lifestyle adjustment and you have to find the methods that work for you. Start with one area like your closet, your computer drive, or your bookshelf and clean. Once you have one area organized it’ll be much easier to work on other parts of your life as well.

  1.     Get a PLANNER

Whether this is on your phone, computer, or a hand-written version. Find yourself a planner and use it. Write down class assignments, plans for the weekend, and upcoming events. I like to map out dates that I know at the start of the month and then update my planner each day when new items pop up.

  1.     Set a Schedule

Utilize the calendar on your phone or your planner and organize your schedule. Schedule when you are working, when you are in class, and when you have extra activities. Look at what time slots you have available and utilize them! Give yourself a time to work out, a time to study, and a time to attend social events. Once you figure out a schedule, stick to it! This allows you to maximize your time every day.

  1.     Label everything…

Label your folders, note books, files, or drives on your computer so that it is easy to locate everything and you are not wasting time searching for an item. Labeling is a quick and easy tool that can be done by purchasing a label maker, handwriting with an easy to read writing utensil or naming the files and documents on your computer.

  1.     Folders people (IRL and on your computer)

Make a folder for each class on your computer, have a separate binder or notebook for each class or club you attend and then use it. Be sure to neatly save or file away any class notes, to do lists, or projects and be sure to place the date on the items to help with your organization.

Getting and staying organized can be a daunting feat at first, but after you start, you’ll never go back. Take one tip at a time and work your way through all 5. Give these tips a try, and enjoy the results of the new and organized you!

 

Written in conjunction with Christina Armbrester

Insta-Story: A Millennial’s Unique Internship

Intern: Kelly Arnold, ’19

Major: Communications, Digital Marketing focus

Location: Hope College Public Affairs and Marketing

Kelly Arnold is a passionate learner and lover of all things media. Two summers ago, Kelly interned with the University of Michigan’s social media team, and this past summer she worked as a social media assistant for Hope’s Public Affairs and Marketing.

In 2016, her time at the University of Michigan was formative: She was able to work alongside the best in higher education social media and learn hands-on digital marketing and social media strategies. She took initiative and led projects, wrote best-practice blog posts, and conducted a data report looking at the over 1,000 social media accounts connected to the university.

She had another fantastic experience in the summer of 2017 as well, right here at Hope College. Her responsibilities included planning and executing Instagram/Snapchat stories and writing about social media best practices for the department’s blog. In addition, she was advising different departments around campus on digital strategy, and so much more!

Hope College’s Instagram stories are fairly recent additions, thanks to Kelly’s hard work. She was actually the woman behind the magic in implementing that social media feature this past summer. She said:

“During my time this summer, we were able to begin crafting a brand voice on Instagram and creating content that has worked to reach our students in a more specialized manner.”

This was such a positive, hands-on experience. Now hundreds of students tune in to those stories to find out the latest scoop on Hope College.

Beyond that, Kelly noted that she was pleasantly surprised at how open and encouraging the full-time professionals were towards her ideas and work. Her workplace environment was inclusive and fostered creative collaboration within the office. She was able to flourish in her brainstorming and project execution, because of this.

Kelly has some fantastic advice for anyone entering an internship in the future:

“You may discover you do not really enjoy completing your main project, or you might not agree with your supervisor some days. However, this is okay and actually quite reflective of the real world. Internships are your opportunity to not only build your resume but learn so much more about your own workplace strengths and preferences.” 

Whether you have dozens of work experiences, or are just starting to discover the options out there, pursuing an internship is a fantastic decision. Like Kelly, you have the opportunity to explore your field of interest and cultivate your strengths in the working world. Head to Hope’s job search platform, Handshake, to see what might be a great fit for you next spring or summer.

Come visit Kelly and our awesome team of student Career Advisors in the Career Development Center!

Greek Life and the Real World

 “It takes community to maintain a human.”                     –Earon Davis

There are a lot of negative connotations that can be associated with members of Greek life. A lot of people assume that being part of a sorority or fraternity means that all you do is party, have a low GPA, and that it does not help you after college. However, what people do not realize is that a lot of this is not true. They are a lot of positives and learning opportunities that come with being part of Greek life organization.

 

  1. Networking
  • Joining a Greek organization requires you to network a lot  (what is even more important is to make a lasting impression)
  • The skills that you use to connect with your peers during Rush are skills that are transferable to impressing a future employer for a job or internship.
  • Once you are an active in a Greek organization you have made connections with brothers or sisters which may be beneficial to you in the future.
  1. Organization and time management
  • Being a part of Greek life means that you must fulfill various duties and responsibilities.
  • Being able to juggle your school work, attending events within your organization, having a social life, working and still managing to get a decent amount of sleep is not an easy thing to do. Managing to do this, will build on your organization and time management skills.
  1. Team work
  • Sororities and fraternities have events that they organize and participate in. This involves a lot planning and coordinating with each member of the sorority or fraternity. This also allows you to learn to work within a team, which is an extremely helpful skill to have.
  1. Leadership 
  • There are different leadership roles within a Greek organization. If you get one of these roles you have the opportunity to build your skill set and learn the dynamics of your leadership style.
  1. Communication
    • There are a number of meetings and events Greek organizations have. To make this work there has to be a lot of effective communication within the organization.
    • Being able to effectively communicate and having your ideas and messages understood is essential not only to your work life but your personal life.
  2. Conflict management
    • Members of Greek life have to learn to deal with conflict within the organizaton. It teaches indiviudals to work together towards a common goal even if members do not always see eye to eye.
  3. Philanthropy
  • One of the most important aspects of Greek life is giving back to the community.
  • Every member within an organization must meet a required amount of hours of community service per semester. This should hopefully instill a sense of selflessness, (which I believe is a great thing).

 

Being part of a sorority and fraternity gives members a chance to polish and perfect their skills that transfer into many aspects of life. One of the most important aspects for me is that it provides a strong support system, which I believe is essential for a human being to survive and thrive. Greek life has a lot of positives and I hope after this read you see that too!

 

 

 

How to Balance Work, School, & Life

Everyday we are faced with choices about what is going to fill our time. Sometimes we have the ultimate decision and sometimes our to-do list is made for us. Whatever the case, it is important to set boundaries for yourself around how much time you are going to dedicate each thing. College is all about getting a degree, BUT it is also about so much more. College is a time to learn about yourself, experience new things, and learn how to live with others. So as you move through the rest of this semester and into 2018, here are some tips for learning to cultivate work-life balance:

  1.     Make a calendar

Write down what’s important. You have to make decisions about what needs to get done and what can wait for another day. Try to map out a plan for each day, so you know what you should work on and what your time frame looks like.

  1.     Set alarms on your phone

Alarms seriously can be your best friend. It can be easy to lose yourself in whatever you are doing whether its scanning social media or writing a paper. If you set an alarm on your phone and give yourself time segments to work on different things, you may find that you have more flexibility in your schedule and that you get more things done. The hardest part of this method is making sure you stick to it.

  1.     Prioritize activities

Related to the first point, some people (and professors) may disagree with this statement, but NOT EVERYTHING IS WORTH YOUR TIME. Let me stress that one more time — not everything you have the opportunity to do is worth doing. This isn’t me telling you not to do your homework, but sometimes certain activities should take precedence over others. For example, studying for an exam is a little more important than attending a club meeting, and sometimes talking with a friend is more important than anything else you have going on. Be smart, but think through each thing on your to-do list and do the most important things first.

  1.     Schedule time for play

Trust me you can’t work 100% of the time all the time. You will get burnt out and you’ll end up not doing your best work. Each day take at least 20 minutes to do something for yourself. Whether this is reading a book, scanning the internet, getting on social media, going to work out, whatever you need to do to get your mind off your to-do list do it! AND don’t feel guilty about it.

  1.     Breathe and take breaks

Sometimes life gets a little hectic. It’s crunch time in most classes and the work (and group-work) is piling up. Don’t let this control you, similar to scheduling time for play, take a moment after between switching projects or completing work to breathe. Know yourself and take 5 minutes here and there to reset your mind, grab water, or stretch before moving on to the next thing.

Remember there are only 24 hours in a day, and you can’t be everything at once. Working on balancing life with work and school is an important thing to start practicing in college. I’ve spoken with a lot of people who have graduated from college and work full-time and they tell me it only gets harder to put boundaries on work and personal life. Learning what is best for yourself now, will help make future work-life balance easier!