Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Career Development

If you know anything about Saint Mike's, you probably know how much it prides itself as a whole on being an extremely supportive community. As a small liberal arts college with just about every student living on campus, how could it not be?

Something that shouldn't go unnoticed, though, is that the community aspect does not apply only to students--it applies to faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors as well. I can't think of a place where this would be more evident than in the Office of Career Development.

Although I've only just begun to visit the Office of Career Development, it's an on-campus resource that's available for everyone to use, from first-years to grad students or even alumni. Now that I've started getting serious about looking for a summer internship, I've been scheduling appointments with career development to work on my resume and discuss my options.

I started out by going to a resume workshop, which is an event that takes place almost every week to help students figure out what they should put on their resumes and how to format them to suit different internships or opportunities. The workshop that I attended had been run by Ingrid Peterson, and she was incredibly helpful in answering my initial questions. After that, I decided to schedule a one-on-one meeting with Ingrid so that I could figure out what I wanted to do this summer and where I should go to look for internships.

During our first meeting, Ingrid looked over my resume and helped me make a few small adjustments to showcase the experiences I've had that I want my employers to know about. She asked me some questions about what kind of work I was looking to do, and had me fill out a form by checking off which types of jobs sounded interesting and which major cities or regions I would like to work in. As an MJD major with a lot of experience in blogging and writing or editing content for the web, I am mostly interested in finding an internship that would help me further those skills. I also checked off subjects like photography, web design, newspaper writing and editing, service work, and non-profit organizations.

After that, we looked at a few websites that would be useful in finding internships that cater to my interests. Ingrid also showed me how to get the best use out of SMC JobLink, which is a database that allows anyone in the SMC community to set up a profile and browse resources for finding jobs, internships, careers and other opportunities.

Today I had a second meeting with Ingrid just to follow up on my final resume and cover letter for a specific employer. We talked about application deadlines, how to go about setting up interviews and how to graciously turn down other interviews once an internship is landed.

Although it's a lot of pressure to make yourself look awesome on paper to a complete stranger, I found that the right resources really do help. Everyone in the Office of Career Development is incredibly nice, and they know exactly what you're going through. Most importantly, though, they really care. Ingrid was as excited as I was about the interships I was finding, and she told me to let her know once I hear back from the employers.

I think that this attitude is definitely one of the things that has always set Saint Mike's apart from other colleges for me. Everyone here helps each other out, and it really is a supportive community. From professors to fellow students, from the office faculties to shuttle drivers to the custodial staff, everyone is looking out for each other. I think that's also why we have such a huge network for such a small school. We keep in touch with every contact we make; we touch base to see how everyone is doing. It's not that we're just thorough--it's that we care. That's why, when people look at a resume and see a Saint Michael's student, they say "Hey! I know that place!"

So, not to get off topic, but I think that all really does relate to Career Development and the wonderful work that they do here. Shout out to them!

And to all of the other members of this fabulous community, know that you are appreciated. It's nice to know that someone's got my back. Remember that I've got yours too.



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