Connecting students with careers
by Tracy Kalytiak |
Three months ago, Christian Montana graduated with a UAA bachelor's degree in natural sciences, pre-medicine track, and now wants to find work as a medical support assistant or a translator for the federal government.
The hospital corpsman veteran knew how to put together a one-page-with-bullet-points civilian résumé, but an Equal Employment Opportunity officer who looked at it told him he had to have a federal résumé to get a federal job.
"He said it was good, but needed to be in paragraph format," said Christian, 29. "I felt overwhelmed, so I came here for guidance."
Career counsel and connections
"Here" is the UAA Career Services Center, located on the first floor of Rasmuson Hall.
The center offers a library of career-oriented publications, access to computers, a closet of donated workplace-appropriate free clothes and the expertise of counselors who provide one-on-one advice about crafting effective résumés and cover letters, hone interview skills, connect prospective employers with UAA students and alumni and coordinate career workshops and fairs.
"It's like bread and butter, why you come to college-to find a job that's fulfilling," said Natalie Elder, CSC's office manager, who found her first campus job with the help of a previous CSC office manager. "She sat down with me and we made a résumé from scratch. She looked at UAK jobs I qualified for, sent me to specific departments and I went to work for the Dean of Students' office. When she left in 2011, I applied for her position. I'm my own walking testimonial."
Offering useful tools, tips
In the month of January, 167 students signed in to use CSC services and resources. Six sought career counseling; 10 signed up for mock interviews; 34 received assistance with résumés and cover letters; 11 were connected with internships and five students chose items from CSC's Professional Clothes Closet.
UAA student Krystal Stimpfel sat at one of the tables in the CSC computer room, headphones on, as other people tapped on keyboards nearby.
"This is a quiet place where I can spread out, work on homework and job applications," she said.
Krystal, 21, learned about CSC from fliers she spotted on campus while heading to and from classes. She has worked in child care, as well as at restaurants, movie theaters, an on-campus convenience store and Residence Life. Now she is seeking a job that meshes with her accounting major.
"I came to get my résumé in order, see if it's something employers would be interested in," she said. "I'll use [CSC] again when it's time to get an internship. With my résumé, it wasn't that [CSC] told me things I didn't know, it was more that they reaffirmed things I did know."
One tip, Krystal said, is that "you should tailor a résumé as much as your cover letter to each job, and use keywords in your résumé" to reference specific job requirements and increase the chance it will show up in a hiring manager's search results.
Right now, Krystal wants to gain accounting experience by working in a large firm. For the long term, however, she has different aspirations.
"I want to have a small business, a restaurant or salon, and eventually want to be a cosmetologist," she said, smiling mischievously, "but a job or internship could radically change things."
Christian knew about CSC because he had once worked across the hall at the Student Health and Counseling Center. He booked an appointment with a CSC counselor and sent in his résumé beforehand.
"She found out what I wanted to do and gave me a format to follow," Christian said. "She told me what they want to see, what to say and not say, and gave me tips for the interview."
Christian used the CSC computers to reconfigure his résumé and then tackled the task of assembling and submitting numerous pages of required security-clearance paperwork.
"It offers free printing; I don't have to pay for printing, scanning, faxing," he said. "When you have 20-plus pages, it can get pretty expensive if you go to FedEx, and I don't have facilities at home. So I come here and really take advantage of this."
The following day, last Friday, Christian interviewed at Anchorage's office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for the medical support assistant job he had applied for.
On Monday, he reported good news.
"Today was my first day of orientation at my new job," he said.
Interested in scheduling a time to choose a free outfit from CSC's Professional Clothes Closet, or get other information about the CSC? Call (907) 786-4513 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The "We're Hiring!" Career Fair is scheduled for 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Thursday, March 27, at the UAA Student Union. Companies will be hiring for part-time, seasonal and internship positions. If you are seeking summer employment, be sure to come to this fair professionally dressed, with copies of your résumé to give to prospective employers. Also, CSC's Spring Etiquette Lunch, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Friday, April 4, at the Lucy Cuddy Fine Dining Restaurant at UAA, provides registered attendees a free lunch prepared by the UAA Culinary Arts department and a chance to practice fine-dining etiquette while networking with company representatives from various industries. Pre-registration is required; call (907) 786-4513 for more information.
Written by Tracy Kalytiak, UAA Office of University Advancement.