Planning for the future

Danielle Schultz–Staff Writer

Résumés, cover letters, and interviews are all necessary for a job—but how, exactly, do students go about making these things happen? Dordt’s Career Development Center is a good place to start.

Missy Mulder, the Career Development Coordinator, lists reviewing résumés and cover letters and conducting mock interviews as only a few things the Career Development Center helps students with. It also offers LinkedIn profile reviews, graduate school application materials, career coaching, networking skills, and online reference materials to students.

“Some [students] come in for career coaching; some know exactly what they want to do after college—they just need help landing that first job and making those connections. Different students ask for different kinds of help,” Mulder said.

Career coaching, especially, is useful to students who are unsure of what they want to major in. Two career exploration assessments the Career Development Center recommends are Jobzology (dordt.jobzology.us) and StrengsthFinder, the quiz every Core 100 class is required to take. Once students know the direction of their pursuits, they should immediately get started on their résumé.

“The earlier you start your résumé, the more polished it’s going to look when you’re a senior…if you start it when you’re a sophomore, it helps you identify what skill sets you are missing,” said Mulder.

According to the National Association for Colleges and Employers (NACE), which Dordt is a part of, most employers look for eight competencies in a new employee: problem-solving, communication, collaboration, career management, leadership, digital technology, professionalism, and cultural understanding. To better fit the Christian worldview of Dordt, the Career Development Center added one more: wisdom that works. Although this is a relatively new study by NACE, Mulder anticipates that the information will be analyzed and used to maximize career readiness in students.

When asked what she would most recommend to students, Mulder said, “…everyone should activate their Hire Defenders or Handshake account (www.hiredefenders.com) because that is where we post all our opportunities we know about and that’s where employers are. It’s a great way to make connections.”

images.pngOther opportunities that the Career Development Center offers are job fairs, workshops, an etiquette dinner, and Career Conversations, which is a new reoccurring event that happens once a month in the De Yager Student Activity Center. The goal of Career Conversations, according to Mulder, is to encourage students to come chat about any career-related questions they might have concerning their futures.

If juniors or seniors are looking at graduate school as an option, the Career Development Center can administer graduate school travel grants that will reimburse students up to $200 in expenses for their visit. Students should be sure to notify the Career Development Center if interested.

Sophomore Erika Uribe recently sought help in the Career Development Center. “I got my résumé checked. They helped me format it to the specific qualifications,” she said, noting the professionalism in the completed document.

And though Uribe would advise others to set up appointments with the Career Development Center, she also mentioned the intensity of the experience. “It was really fast-paced, she got right to the point, but it’s because she had a certain time limit, so don’t let that deter you from going back,” she said.

As long as students are prepared to receive professional criticism and learn from it, they should benefit from the help the Career Development Center provides.

“Overall, Dordt historically has pretty high career outcome rates,” Mulder said, referencing the fact that 99.7% of 2017 Dordt graduates had either continued education or found a job by December 31 of that year.

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