Plan Ahead…. Take advantage of amazing resources

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“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” — Andrew Carnegie

My number one strength is Adaptability. The world is constantly shifting, plans change, circumstances change and life happens; being very flexible and living in the here and now is what works and makes most sense to me.

I used to think that plans and goals were limiting. It was not until sophomore year when I realized having a plan does not mean it has to be set in stone, but it is there to help you take the necessary steps towards accomplishing any goals you have. Someone who has the same goal may have completely different steps than you do but you can both end up reaching the same goal.

You can have long-term and short-term goals and they can be related to anything. These can be financial goals, career goals, college goals and so much more. The Career Development Center can help you take initial steps to help you towards your career and college goals.

Below is a list of the ways the CDC can help you achieve a few of these goals:

  1.   Four Year Plans –Aid in setting up classes for the next four years to help you make the most of your time at Hope
  2.  Major/Career Discernment –  Look at your strengths and interests and give you advice on what majors and career paths to explore
  3. Resumes and Cover Letters –  Collaborate with you to start or polish your resume and cover letter in preparation for internships and job interviews.
  4.   Mock Interviews – Prepares you for a real interview and gives you tips on what to work on before a real interview.
  5.  Networking – Give you tips and ways that you can start networking while still in college.
  6.  Internships- Assist you in your internship search, and encourage you through the process
  7.  Job Search-  Create a plan for how to best use job search tools and websites.
  8. Graduate School- Facilitate your Graduate school search and application process
  9. Handshake and LinkedIn- Teach you how to create and strengthen your profile to present your best self to employers
  10. StrengthsQuest, MBTI, Strong Interest Inventory – These are assessment tools that help interpret your strengths, interests, and personality preferences, what they mean, and how they are applied in your life


Grand Valley State University Career Fair is a great opportunity! It will be held at DeVos Place Convention Center in Grand Rapids, this coming Thursday February 22nd from 1-5 pm.

Call and make an appointment with the Career Development Center team and we are happy to help you towards your career or college goals.


The DiscoverWork Program: What Our Students Have Been Up To!

It’s early morning and a student has just shown up at their host’s office for a full day of job shadowing. The student starts the day with an amazing informational interview and quickly gets through most of the questions she came in curious about. Now the host is staring back at the student and a small look of panic comes across his face as he thinks about what to do for the next 5 hours.

Fortunately, this scenario is not one that plays out here at Hope College. In fact, our DiscoverWork job shadowing program offers a robust opportunity for students to not only connect with alumni, but live like them for a few days.

Open to all students at Hope College the DiscoverWork program gives alumni the opportunity to:

  • Make a positive and lasting impact on the career exploration process for an undergraduate student
  • Aid in informing students about the helpful and required skills needed to enter the workforce
  • Develop personal connections with current students in a coaching/mentoring capacity
  • Have a chance to meet potential new talent for positions they have open
  • Increase the exposure of their company and career field/industry

Curious as to what some of our students have been doing so far? Take a look…

Student: Junior, Prescott Binder

Alumni Host: Dr. Craig Kozler, Urological Surgeon, Chief of Surgery at Fort Memorial Hospital  

“The week I spent shadowing a surgeon in Wisconsin was one of the most rewarding and educational experiences of my entire Hope College career. I am forever grateful for Dr. Kozler and his family for being so willing to host me in their home for a week and to allow me to vastly expand my knowledge as what life would be like as a future physician.”… “The picture included represents the amount of fun that doctors can have with each other. Craig and many other college friends and physicians have created an almost full size ice rink in Craig’s backyard where people come from around the country every year to play at the USA’s first and only outdoor curling club.”

Student: Senior, Justin Richardson

Alumni Host: Rachel Romero, Energy Engineer, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

“This job shadow showed me that working at a government facility has its differences from the corporate world, but they are not bad. Now, I will always consider government research as a good possibility for my future work when searching. Rachel was a great host who allowed me to tour a large part of the campus, learn as much as possible in a day of work, and meet and connect with many of the employees there.”

Student: Freshman, Anna Hagner
Alumni Host: Scott Synder, Physical Therapist, Athletico Physical Therapy

“This experience was beneficial to me as I learned so much about what the job description of a physical therapist actually entails and how my strengths of working with people and being interested in the sciences could work in this profession.”

Student: Junior, Marissa Solorzano

Alumni Host: Brad Nordan, Nurse Anesthetist, Macatawa Anesthesia, PC 

“After this shadow experience, I have a lot of interest in anesthesia and I can not wait until medical school when I can learn more and have the possibility to specialize in this field of medicine. Hearing Mr. Norden’s process of deciding that becoming a nurse anesthetist was his lifelong goal was empowering. He decided in his junior year that he wanted to earn a degree in nursing, and became one of only a few men in the department -­‐ a story I find inspiring and encouraging. I am in awe by Mr. Norden’s drive to give back to the Hope College community; a personal goal I wish to fulfill as a health provider in the future. I am so blessed to have had this opportunity and I can not wait to keep diving into the health professions’ world.”

Student: Freshman, Matthew Dickerson

Alumni Host: Evan Boote, Director Physics & Tecnhonology, Spectrum Health 

“As my job shadow continued, I realized that multiple concepts from my courses were being used in diagnostic radiology and the hospital as a whole… I will forever treasure the opportunity I received to job shadow at Spectrum Health Hospital. I know in the future, I will look back at the knowledge I gained there and apply it to not only to my career decisions but to my life decisions as well.”

The Career Development Center is so proud of this growing program and the amazing connections we are building between alumni, friends, parents and students here at Hope College!

Do you desire to connect with students through the DiscoverWork program? Want to be apart of our 2018-2019 program goal of 100 alumni hosts? Email Megan Scheldt to learn more or to volunteer!

Helping Your Student Succeed: Tips from Career Development

Dale Austin, Associate Dean of Career Development

Many students meet with us and report they have no idea where they should even start when it comes to networking and the job search. As a parent of three college graduates, I sincerely wanted the best for each of my children as they attended college. I hoped that they would figure out what they would major in, that they would have quality advisor relationships, and that they would have a plan for what they would want to pursue following graduation. Frankly the college years at times, were stressful, even though I had been working in a college setting. Questions about major, questions about what to do with the major, hoping that as each of my children entered their last year and last semester, that they would take the initiative and seek out viable options following graduation. There came a point in each instance with all three, that I had to trust that as adults, it was their responsibility to do, or to not do it. And sometimes part of becoming an adult is learning hard lessons, which too many times, we want to protect our children from.

Through my own experience, I saw the value in frequently serving as a sounding board to each of my “collegiate children”, empathizing with their struggles, providing encouragement and support whenever possible.

Encourage them to explore options

As my oldest considered post graduate options, I listened to her choices and pointed out pros and cons of each, with her deciding on taking a gap year before heading to the University of Michigan for graduate school. My son reconsidered pre-med after his sophomore year when he took organic chemistry. I expressed to him that the core outcome of his liberal arts education should be to think, write and communicate critically (i.e., effectively) and he decided to study History and now works as an entrepreneur. Whenever he is back in West Michigan, he reconnects with his former History advisor.

Importance of Internship Experience and Contacts

As my youngest planned for study abroad during a May term, I suggested that it would be wise to gain an internship for the summer; she also thought it made sense, and through a personal friend, was able to provide an introduction that resulted in an interview and summer intern role.

Guide Your Student to Resources

Events Coming Up:

GVSU Winter Career Fair

Out of State Teacher Fair

West Michigan Teacher Search

Technology/Online Resources:


Spotlight on Careers (username: spotlightkey; password: lacn18)


One important part of the job search that will be crucial for your student is networking! Here are four helpful tools and tips from Megan Scheldt, Career Counselor-Networking, to share with your student to help them combat the anxiousness surrounding networking.

Come meet with us!

The Career Development Center offers appointments specifically tailored to students seeking to network. During these meetings students are able to tap into the Career Resources Network. This database is a comprehensive list of alumni willing to connect with students for informational interviews!

Build a Strong LinkedIn Profile & Use the Alumni Database

Just as we review resumes, The Career Development Center is here to help students build a professional online presence. We also navigate students through the LinkedIn database of Hope College graduates.


Conduct Informational Interviews

No matter how a student finds a contact it is important that they conduct several informational interviews. It gives them the opportunity to hear firsthand from a working professional and be given advice to confidently move forward in the pursuit of their career. Many of our students have reported back that their contacts have helped them tweak their resume, passed along this document, as well as provided helpful tips for interviewing with their company. In addition to this, students can potentially expect to learn about jobs that are not yet posted on a company’s website.

Follow Up!

As cliche as it may be, “thank you” goes along way. It is important to encourage your student to write anyone who supports them with their job search a thank you note or email. Being able to clearly express what they learned as well as their gratitude can help them make a great impression! In addition to a thank you note, following up with contacts days, weeks, or months later is very crucial. At that time they might be hiring or be able to provide an additional introduction to another professional of value.

We asked a student!

Nursing Major, Madeleine Goodman

The process of searching for a job can be a stressful time for students, but there are some things that parents can do to help. However, there is a fine line between helping and nagging, and the trick is learning to navigate what your student wants from you and what they don’t want.

With all the help you give your student, there are still some pitfalls that parents should avoid stumbling into. A student does not want to be told what job they should do by their parent. A parent might just be trying to give a friendly suggestion when they confidently say, “You should do this job,” but a student is going to interpret that as an order. Using an “I” statement instead of a “you” statement can make sure that your student understands your suggestion is genuine. For example: “I think that you would excel in this career.” Paying attention to make sure that comments don’t come across as controlling can go a long way.

Not being controlling is key with your student. They are already worried about applying for jobs and preparing for interviews and having their parent checking up on them too frequently can aggravate them. You might want to be kept up to date on what’s happening in your student’s job search, but they might feel like you are watching to make sure they don’t mess up. As hard as it may be to be more hands off with your student, it will help reduce any friction.

Following these guidelines should help you help your student, but remember, you can never go wrong with simply asking your student what they would like from you during this big change.



We are hiring

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The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. -Steve Jobs


January is almost over and we hope that you have found a good rhythm for the rest of the semester.

Hiring season is here! We are super excited to let you know that the Career Development Center will be hiring for next fall.  You will have the opportunity to join our amazing team and become a Career Advisor, helping around the office in a variety of manners.

Here’s a mini checklist which can be used if you are interested in becoming a Career Advisor, looking for an internship in the summer, or any other job opportunity.


  • You should have a resume and it should be updated. Feel free to bring it to our drop-in hours to get yours looked over.
  • If you know where you are going to apply to, use keywords for that certain field. (Most of this can be found in the job description)
  • If you are applying to different places, always tweak your resume to suit each place and personalize your skills.

2. Cover letter

  • Think of cover letter and resume as a marriage. Your cover letter should highlight you beyond what’s on your resume, and give you the opportunity to expand on a few things that are on your resume.
  • Include information about the organization you are applying to. This shows them that you are intentional and care enough to do thorough research.
  • Make sure the font and header match the style of your resume (remember marriage!).

3. LinkedIn

  • Create a LinkedIn profile
  • Be active in your online presence, especially if you are interested in a company. Like what they post, comment on it and re-post it onto your page with an insightful comment
  • Have a good profile and concise bio that captures who you are, your interests and reflects the work you would want to do

4. Interview practice and networking

  • Networking is a great opportunity to get your foot in the door of an organization that you might be interested in. Knowing someone on the inside may give you a better chance than someone who does not
  • Interview practice is important. Getting more detailed information about the company and doing a mock interview can make you much more prepared and confident. This will show during your interview!


If you have not started on your resume, cover letter, have any work experience, or have any idea on where to start, no need to stress about it. All you have to do is walk down to the Career Development Center during drop-in hours, which are between 3:00-4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. You can have a 10 minute sit-down with a Career Advisor to get you started in the right direction.

If you are interested in becoming a Career Advisor, be on the lookout for the posting on Handshake for more information!

A Quick Yearly Handshake Checkup


Handshake can seem very intimidating and can be tough to navigate around. Here is a brief breakdown of what you can do each year at Hope to ensure you stay on top of your Handshake account!


Get your Handshake profile started as a Freshman, it will make it so much easier in the coming years. Do not be worried that you might not have a ton of information to put on your profile right now, you will gain that over the coming years! With your profile ready to go, you can now begin to get familiar with Handshake and see events happening on campus, register for meetings with employers, or even discover other career paths.



Sophomore year is the time to start considering internships or work experience if you have not already. Your Handshake profile should have an updated copy of your resume and potentially any relevant classes you have taken in relation to your area of study. In addition to this, make sure to browse your Handshake feed as there are constantly new opportunities posted on there. The more that you put into Handshake, the more that you get out of it!



Time really goes by fast, and before you know it you will be a junior. Once you reach this stage you may want to consider more internship experience or maybe even start looking at future job opportunities. What this may mean for your Handshake profile is a more updated bio, more added interests, or even some uploading of projects or papers you have completed in relevant classes. Adding these things to your profile can help employers, know more about you and if you are the type of student they are looking for.



Finally, there is Senior year. This can be a very scary and exciting year as most people are trying to figure out what to do after graduation. Thankfully, Handshake can help make this process much easier for you not only as a graduate, but post-graduation as well! Nearing graduation you will want to make sure you have the most updated profile as you associate with employers and search for jobs on Handshake, In addition, make sure you are checking for any events posted by Hope that may involve your future career plans. As you do all this, you can hopefully have a smooth transition into post grad life as you begin a new job and transition into an alumni!

We hope that you can see Handshake is a useful tool to have, and we hope you take advantage of such a great resource! If you have any questions about Handshake, or need any help with it you can book an appointment with us.



Conquering Career Fairs

Last semester I had the opportunity to go to the Economics and Business Fair. Even though I am a Political Science major, I still valued and appreciated the experience. I had the chance to interact with a few employers and ask them for advice for college students looking for jobs or internships at a career fair. Some of the employers I got to interview came from different organizations like Sennco Solutions, Thomson Reuters Corporation, Commercial Real Estate Agency (CBRE), and Gordon Food Service. Although these companies have unique focuses, employers tended to give similar advice to candidates. Based on the answers from their interviews, here are a couple of things to take into account when going to a career fair:


  • Do Research


Find out what companies are going to go to the career fair and go on their websites to do research on them. Click on the “About Us” section to see what they their values and goals are. Also, search for the open positions they have and what they are looking for in a candidate. Keep exploring their websites until you have a solid idea of who they are and what they do. If it helps you to remember them, write down facts that got your attention.


  • Bring Your Best Resume


Before going to a career fair make sure you have prepared a strong resume. Most of the employers mentioned how students’ resumes are often too long or not well written. Hence, it is essential that you work on your resume before going to the fair because it is your presentation card. Use the resources you have at school like the Career Development Center, so that someone with experience can assist you.


  • Show Confidence


Once you go have done your research and prepared your resume, you are ready to go the career fair! The employers mentioned on the interviews that the top quality that makes a candidate stand out is confidence. Employers at the fair are looking for confident people that are able to portray themselves, their abilities, and their knowledge in the best way possible. Since getting nervous is common, practice your one-minute pitch in front of your friends or the mirror a couple of times.


  • Be Charming


Although confidence is key when you are at a career fair, you also have to be charming, approachable, and personable. Show them that you got the skills it takes to relate and connect to people. One way to do this is by approaching the employers with kindness and respect. Also, check what your body is communicating because they can tell a lot from your body language. Remember you got to portray the best version of yourself to them.


  • Demonstrate Interest


Another thing to keep in mind is demonstrating your interest in the companies when you are talking to the employers. You have to convey to them that you know who they are and the reasons why you are interested in them. One way of doing this is by mentioning what you learn from your research and by asking good questions about the company and the job. They are more likely to remember you if they notice you have a genuine interest in working for them.

These are 5 general tips that, if done right, will make you stand out from the rest of the candidates at a career fair. Even though career fairs can seem intimidating, you can conquer them if you are prepared for them. Follow these steps and you will be ready to go!

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 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.