DiscoverWork: Anchor Your Career

Think about when you bought your first car. With so many options out there, your “must have” list was probably a mile long. You probably did extensive research and took your choice for a test drive before making the final decision.

The same is true for other memorable decisions in life, like choosing your career path. So, how exactly do you test drive a career? What is the big deal anyway? In the Career Development Center, we believe that undergraduate students need to have a strong understanding of the world of work, as well as solidify interests in order to engage more fully with the employment process. One great way to begin to tackle these interests is job shadowing, which is the opportunity to join a professional in your desired field for a period of time and see what their responsibilities entail. It’s a great way to make connections and find out what a job is really like behind the scenes.

Did you know that Hope College is expanding our job shadowing opportunities specifically for our students through a program called DiscoverWork?  The DiscoverWork program provides students with a unique opportunity for career exploration. Through an application process students are matched with alumni, parents, and friends of the college based on career interests to explore a particular profession and work environment.

We have been fortunate enough, through the support of some amazing alumni, to send students all across the country to explore, experience, and engage with a variety of industries and companies including but not limited to:

  • United Nations Foundation
  • Harley Davidson Motor Company
  • Royal Technologies
  • Vander Meulen Builders
  • LifeCircles Pace
  • Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Hospital
  • Resthaven
  • Macatawa Anesthesia, PC
  • Kohl’s Corporate
  • Steelcase
  • Fathom Drone
  • Spectrum Health
  • US Air Force
  • Stanwich Church
  • EverGreen Ministries
  • Dematic
  • GMB Architecture + Engineering
  • Legal Action of Wisconsin
  • Riverside Lutheran Bible Camp
  • Crown Motors
  • Athletico Physical Therapy
  • The La Penna Group
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory

These 1-2 day experiences through the DiscoverWork Program allow students to engage with a working professional to see first-hand what a certain profession looks like day-to-day.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, make sure to keep an eye out: you’ll be receiving an email regarding Discover Work on September 27th, in which you’ll find a link you can apply through. You’ll also want to submit a resume and letter of interest to

Here are some important dates to keep in mind for the DiscoverWork program:

Application opens: September 27

Deadline for application: October 19 by 12pm

Notification if matched: October 27

Informational meetings:

November 8: 1pm-2pm Mass Auditorium

      2pm-3pm Maas Auditorium

November 9: 11am-12pm Anderson Werkman B03

      4pm-5pm Anderson Werkman B03

Placement Dates: December 2017-May 2018

If you have any questions about the program or timeline, click the following link:

See what you could be with DiscoverWork!


How to conquer email- Email vs Text messages

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This part of the email series will talk about some differences on communicating through text and emal.

With the instantaneous nature of email, it is easy to treat it like texting, but this is a mistake that should not be made. Email is more formal by nature than a text message.

As easy as it is to quickly draft or respond to an email, there are a few practices that will make you sound more professional and help keep you in the good graces of all of your contacts.

  1. Don’t use shorthand

TBH (to be honest) shorthand is simply harder to read. Emails are meant to be short, but to help convey information in a clear way. You may be sending emails to people who aren’t in the same generation as you, so they may not understand the lingo you are using.

By taking the time to type out all the words you want to say, you will sound more professional and leave no room for confusion for the person reading your email.

  1. Don’t include emojis.

Yes, smiley faces are cute and yes, they help to convey different emotions. However, emoticons have no place in your emails. They simply come across as childish and unprofessional, so it’s best to leave them out.

  1. Don’t send one word responses

No one likes one word responses. Just. Don’t. Do. It. If you don’t have more than one word to say, it’s probably not worth an email.

  1. Don’t put !!! at the end of your email

If you just won the lottery, exclamation points are acceptable. Other than that, it’s better to keep everything simple and use periods.

  1. Don’t use incomplete sentences

When you text it is easy to add commas between each new idea, but with email you want to keep everything more formal. Make sure that all your sentences are complete and make sense.

This is last of the, How to Conquer Email series! We hope that you have learned a few new things and are able to use some of the tips given.

How to conquer email- The signature block

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Something that I rarely pay attention to is the end of an email, however as you read this part of the email series you will see that your signature block is important.

Do you want to make your email to look and sound more professional? One of the quickest and easiest ways to do this is by adding a signature block to the end of your email. If you do not know what a signature block is, it is the fancy looking name and job description that often shows up at the end of an email from a professor or business contact.

Signature blocks are an easy way to communicate who you are and to add more contact information that you may not want to type out in an email.

Here are some of the best things to be aware of if you want to add one to your future emails:

  • Signature blocks should only have between 3 to 4 lines of text
  • Typical format includes your name, phone number, position & company, or major & college
  • You can include important social media links too: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • use (::) or (|) to break up information
  • Try to skip using color or graphics in a signature—just keep it simple.
  • Use only ONE email and phone number. Use your primary one and if you want your contact to reach you another way, include it in your email.
  • Please don’t include your address. You don’t want everyone to know where you live, so it’s best to leave this part off.
  • You can create a couple versions of your signature block and use them at different times. For example, you may not need to send a full block with every email, especially if it is a follow-up email.
  • Before your block include () to denote that it’s a signature.

Here are some examples:

John Smith

Hope College | Biology Major

555-555-5555 |


John Smith

Hope College | Biology Major


Up next will  be the last part of the email series.

Final Senior Thoughts

As the academic year draws to a close, the Career Development Office is getting ready for summer, and the Career Advisors are getting ready for finals week or graduation. This year, the CDC will be sending off ten of the fifteen Career Advisors that currently work in the office. That number is the most graduates the CDC has sent off at one time!
The CDC will miss the graduating seniors, but before they leave, each senior made one final statement about why they loved working at the CDC.
Senior Jessica White commented:
Jessica White

I loved working at the CDC because I was surrounded by a supportive community that was all about saying “yes” and helping you find practical ways of achieving your goals. The CDC was and continues to be a family that challenges people to grow. It was there there to lift me up through the tough times and as sad as I am to leave the office behind, I know it’s a place I can always return. It has truly become a second home.

 Senior Sophia Bouma-Prediger said:
Sophia Bouma-Prediger

I loved working at the CDC because I got to interact with other students and help them achieve their career goals, while learning more about how to achieve my own.

When asked this question, Hadley Roy stated:

Hadley Roy

My favorite thing about working at the CDC was the way it allowed me to connect with other students, faculty, and staff. My work at the CDC has helped me reach out and bring amazing stories to thousands of students every week through Facebook campaigns and has given me the privilege of meeting one-on-one with members of the Hope community who are willing to share their knowledge and passion with our office. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to have engaged with so many different people that are a part of this amazing place!

Spencer Westley

Spencer Westley, a graduating Management major, commented:

I liked working at the CDC because it was fun to be in a family of like-minded people who cared about professional development as much as I did.

Sarah Carpenter exclaimed:

Sarah Carpenter

I loved working at the CDC because the individuals who work there have shown me what living into my vocation looks like in a professional sense. Through excellent relational skills, this office has demonstrated how professionalism fits into one’s life as a whole, how passions align with careers, and how living out these gifts aids oneself and ultimately one’s community. I have loved working in the CDC and I’m so grateful for all they’ve taught me!

Stephanie Eiler remarked:

Stephanie Eiler

Working at the Career Development Center has been a great way to further my development both personally and professionally. The staff members in the office have become mentors to me throughout my time at Hope. The other CAs are a fun group of students that have also been supportive throughout my junior and senior year. I couldn’t imagine my college experience without working and being able to schedule meetings with everyone (and I do mean everyone) in the office. This office will always hold a special place in my heart and an office that every student on campus should utilize! 10/10 would recommend the CDC services.

Senior Gabriela Vazquez stated:

Gabriela Vazquez

I have worked at the CDC for two years now and I have loved my experience here. My role has changed from working in the events group, to working as Dale’s assistant; one thing that has remained constant however is my love for working here. I liked working here because I felt like a part of  a group and although we all worked on different projects and specialized in different aspects, we all came together to serve the Hope College student population.

Tyler Dunifin declared:

Tyler Dunifin

I enjoyed working at the Career Development Center because it allowed me to use my existing skill set while also cultivating new skills through personal and professional development. I have loved working with an amazing team of people, and this opportunity has opened many career doors for me as I near graduation. Working alongside staff as well as fellow students from various backgrounds in a professional environment has been a very rewarding experience, as it has shown me the results that can come about from having diverse input on projects. Overall, being a Career Advisor was one of the more rewarding experiences that I had as a Hope College student.

Finally, Nancy Benda expressed:

Nancy Benda

Working at the CDC gave me an abundance of opportunities to grow professionally and personally. I developed strong relationships with the Career Counselors which has been invaluable in my own development, and in turn I have used my knowledge to educate my peers for the future. It’s been a unique experience to be a Career Advisor, and I know I will always reflect fondly upon my work at the CDC.

The Career Development Center would like to wish all the graduating seniors luck with their future endevors. Their hard work and service to our office has been helpful and enjoyable, and we will miss them next year!

How to conquer email- Short, but Polite

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This part of the email series I believe is very important especially in today’s age where being polite is not something that is necessarily done.

Emailing is a fast way to communicate and is growing ever more popular each year in this digital age. However, unlike talking over the phone or face to face, this media doesn’t give you the power of facial expressions or tone inflections in helping to communicate your message. So how can you still sound polite and considerate when you are writing a short email?

Greetings that are personal and recognize authority are one of the best ways to start off an email. If you nail this part of your email you will already be ahead of the game. Building goodwill with your contact starts when they see your email in their inbox, so make sure that the opening line says exactly what you want it to. For more information about how to format a greeting see the “How to Conquer Email: The Greeting” portion of this mini-series.

Some other points you can follow to help keep your emails sounding polite are:

  • Keep it short, but use full sentences
    • This communicates that you are aware of your contact’s time, but you know how to write well. Include the most important details, and consider attaching documents if you need to disclose more information.
  • Avoid unnecessary jargon
    • Technical terms have there time and place, but don’t make your contact reach for the dictionary when they read your email. You want to strike a balance between sounding smart in your email and sounding like you are dumbing down your email. For instance, don’t say “from my empirical analysis…”, instead go for something like “based on the data…”.
  • Don’t send too many emails
    • It can be tempting to send multiple emails about the same topic. However, after going back and forth one or two times, consider scheduling a meeting or phone call to dive further into the details you wish to discuss. If a meeting isn’t possible, consider attaching a document with more information.
  • Be prompt in your response
    • A common practice for emailing is to get back to someone within 24-48 hours depending on the urgency of the email. If you are the one to send the first email, it is your responsibility to watch your inbox and send follow-up responses.
    • It is appropriate to include a follow-up timeframe in your email as well. For example, if you send an email that needs a response, but you know your contact is a busy person, you may include that you plan to send another email in two weeks if you haven’t heard anything from them.
  • Proofread!

Grammar and spelling mistakes happen to everyone, but an easy way to show politeness in an email is to watch for these problems and fix them. This helps keep your emails readable and shows your contact that you care about what you are saying

"Politeness costs little and yields much" -Mme. de Lambert.

I found this quote very fitting for this portion of the series and I hope you do to. Next up on the series will be the signature block.

How to conquer email- The request (part 2)

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Part II: The request part of the email series.

  1. Include the Details

This bullet seems straightforward, I know. However, it is worth noting that when you email someone with a request you need to include all the details about whatever you are asking them. For example, you wouldn’t email your professor and say “I need help on number 9.” Number 9, what? No, instead you would include the problem set and page number or ask to meet them during office hours to discuss the problem in more detail. The same concept is true when you ask anything over an email.

Here is are some important details you want to include (if applicable):

  • Deadline
  • Resume
  • Contact information for yourself and anyone they may need to send something to
  • Requirements for what they will be doing (i.e. if they are filling out a form on a website include the web link and what they need to do once they reach the page)
  • Specifics about the nature of your request (i.e. why you need a recommendation anyway)
  • Job description or recommendation description

Please note, this is not an exhaustive list of all the details you may need to include in an email, but it’s a good start. The main point behind this section is that you want your contact to be able to immediately perform the task you’ve asked them to complete after they read your email without having to email you for more clarification. However, it is completely acceptable to include a catch phrase at the end of your email instructing your contact to reach out to you should they have any more questions. This is normal and expected!

  1. Please and Thank You

Remember when your parents would obnoxiously remind you to mind your manners anytime you went anywhere. It’s time to recall those lessons (maybe even call your parents and thank them for teaching you politeness!). Seriously though, “please” and “thank you’s” go a long way in an email and especially when you are asking for a request to be met.

As important as being polite is, be careful not to go overboard. This will make you sound insincere and over the top. Stick to using one please when you initially ask your request and a simple “thank you for your consideration” or “I greatly appreciate your time” in your conclusion.

  1. Re-Read Your Email Before Sending

Editing is the most important step of any email. Good grammar wins you points in so many categories so make sure you read and re-read your email before you hit that send button. By taking the time to check your email for simple mistakes and spelling errors you are communicating to your contact that you care enough about what you are saying to truly want there help. It also helps to make sure your email clearly communicates and that your request is easily understood.

We hope that you are learning new things in this series. Next up on the series, will be how to keep an email short but polite.

How to conquer email- The request (part 1)


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Hello, this is part one of the request email series. We will give you tips on how to ask people for help, because we understand how hard that can be sometimes. We hope that you learn something new, enjoy!

The Request

No one likes asking for help, least of all we dislike feeling like everything we are doing is riding on someone else’s decision. Asking for a recommendation or help can be hard enough, but nailing an email along with it makes the terror only double. So what can you do to alleviate some of that anxiety?

Below we’ve listed some of the best practices for conquering a request via email.

  1. Use the Subject Line

The subject line of an email is often one of the most underrated parts of sending a stellar email. Part of getting your request answered is having your contact actually read the email you are sending them. I’m sure you’ve faced the bombardment of email after email of campus distribution mail. It’s hard to sort through a bunch of emails and if you’re like me you end up deleting a lot of what is sent to you. One way to make sure your email isn’t lost in an inbox is to include a standout subject line.

To help your email make the cut follow these principles:

  • Keep it short
  • Make it direct
  • Use keywords (i.e. Recommendation, Meeting, Request for)
  • Include important details (deadline, project name, etc.)

Your contact will be more inclined to help you if they know what you are asking for before they even open the email. You don’t want your subject line to be misleading, for example if you write “Internship News” and then ask your professor for a recommendation letter, they may not be prepared for your request or they may wait to open your email until a later date.

  1. Keep Your Greeting Short and Personal

There is something to be said for buttering someone up. Now, I’m not saying to go overboard, but being considerate and asking your contact about their past weekend or wishing them well will go a long way. After all, if you are emailing someone with a request you probably have some sort of history with them and can draw on that. The greeting is important, especially when asking for a recommendation of sorts, because it makes you sound less demanding. You want to build goodwill with your contact and incline them to responding favorably to your request. By greeting someone before launching into what you want from them, subtly says that you care about them ahead of yourself.

If you need more help with your greeting, see the “How to Conquer Email: The Greeting” portion of this mini-series.

We hope that you have learnt something from this mini email series, part two will be out next.