By Jenna Caldwell | Web Editor
Not only do you want to have a rewarding college experience, but you also want to become gainfully employed after college. The College of Coastal Georgia offers free career services by providing various programs and resources to students.
It’s not enough to simply know which jobs are out there. Students must also learn how to position themselves to get those jobs. That includes creating a resume, crafting a cover letter, and learning how to interview, all of which a good career center can assist with.
Coordinator of Career Services Brian Weese said the benefits go beyond college. “Everything we do is not only to help students get a diploma in one hand, but a good resume and experience in the other.”
According to Weese, the most popular feature they offer is resume writing. “We do about 800 resume reviews a year, and this month alone we’ve done almost 300, mainly from seniors getting ready to graduate.” Career services will print out each submitted resume and send it back to students with handwritten responses. This process may take four or five revisions back and forth, but will make for a more valuable resume in the end.
Working as Career Services Ambassador for a year and a half now, Kerdansky Besson recalled that, “Starting out, I was able to receive help from Brian Weese on creating my first resume. After seeing how our advisors help students on resumes, I was able to learn how to build on my resume without much help. I’ve even helped students create a resume from scratch and got them hired.”
Another popular feature offered through Career Services are the personality tests. For these, Weese directs students to Focus 2, which can be found by logging in through D2L. “It looks at work interests, personality skills and values, then pairs your answers up with jobs and majors here at the college.”
Recent alumna Lexi Holloway spoke encouraging of her experience with the tests. “I wouldn’t have found the degree I needed if it wasn’t for that test. I gained more direction from this than I ever had.” Employed for two semesters during her junior year, Holloway would highly recommend these tests to students to help push them in the right direction.
Besson concurs, “[Focus 2] did benefit me a lot and helped me narrow down my career path.”
Career Services also hosts several job fairs throughout the semester. During job fairs, potential employers will be on campus to meet with students who are a good fit for their organizations and the kinds of employees they need. They may offer advice on etiquette, interviews, networking and job applications.
Weese said, “Written and verbal communication is the skill most lacking in college students. Employers are looking for it, and if a student doesn’t have the skill to work effectively with not only the employer, but the employer’s customers and fellow employees themselves, they’re likely to not get the job.”
Even if you have a job or feel pretty polished as a professional already, Weese believes there is low risk to attending a job fair, “You can walk through, win prizes, pick up free things,” and “it’s good practice to get out there and shake some employers hands.” These events aren’t just for seniors, either, “It’s good to practice your skills even if you’re a freshman, sophomore, or junior, so that by the time you enter your senior year, you’ve got all these skills along with experience.”
Weese said, “The degree alone is not going to be enough to compete with students from all other colleges. We want to make sure that students have a well-rounded education, not only in the classroom, but in the real world as well.”
Besson agreed that Career Services can help prepare students for the real world, “The most valuable attribute I learned from working with Career Services is having enough confidence to tackle the real world. Everyday you will be challenged as an individual and it is up to you to have enough confidence and be prepared for any obstacle that comes your way.”
Through her employment at Career Services, Holloway said that communication was one of her main takeaways from the whole experience, “While I was setting up for events or job fairs, I got to meet employers and get more face time with them than normal. Whether I was in contact with an employer or helping direct a student somewhere, I was always using both organizational and communication skills. Because of this, I felt like I could more easily communicate in my internships and jobs afterwards.”
Another skill that Holloway is thankful to have gained from Career Services is event planning. “Brian [Weese] is so connected in the community and I got to learn more about our community than I expected,” said Holloway. Currently, she serves as the main coordinator for the Wine Women & Shoes charity event held on Sea Island every year. “I have to plan and choreograph the fashion show and work with a lot of team members. The event planning skills I learned through Career Services made this easier to coordinate.”
Besson says he finds ways to practice real-world employment skills daily. “Due to the fact that I am a marketing major, I try to implement and practice skills that will help me become successful in that field on a daily basis. Skills such as creativity, decision making, persuasion, and of course professionalism.” Over the course of his employment, Besson has held the responsibility of “creating flyers for advertisements that garners students’ attention towards our events on campus,” and, “assisting our highly notable career and academic advisors.”
Holloway had nothing but positive things to say about her experience both working with Career Services and its’ Coordinator, “Brian is such a great person. He is an avid supporter of the student; If you tell him what you want to do, he’s going try and get you prepared for that or give you the skills you need to get there. Brian has given me multiple tools to be successful, and things I learned at Career Services were things I could put on my resume. This experience made my interview and resume skills better, and I felt way more comfortable in a job setting. I also got to meet a lot of students that I wouldn’t normally.”
For more information on Career Services, visit www.ccga.edu/careerservices or visit their office in the ACS.