Kimberly Baker is the Career Services Manager at Bryant & Stratton College Online. She has been with the College for six and a half years and has a passion for helping students be as career ready as possible upon graduation.
What can students expect from Career Services?
We are here to offer support with job search assistance, including where and how to look for jobs, writing cover letters and resumes, and how to prepare for an interview. Our services are free to any student as well as alumni.
What are you hearing from employers about who they’re looking to hire?
Employers are doing less on the job training so they are looking for future employees who are career-ready. The ability to demonstrate in an interview that you’ve done applicable work is key, which is why we emphasize portfolio development as part of the curriculum here. Equally important are “soft” skills. We’re hearing more and more from employers that they are looking to hire people who can demonstrate emotional intelligence, critical thinking and information literacy.
How does the Career Services Department help students prepare a portfolio?
Developing a portfolio has been an important part of the curriculum for graduating students but recently we’ve been working on ways to integrate career services in to the whole life of a student. Now starting in their first year students will take a special one-day course once a year dedicated to portfolio development. The courses will examine strategies such as what to put in a portfolio, resume writing tips, advices for preparing for an interviewing and how to negotiate a salary. To complete the portfolio students will still be required, as part of their capstone, to have their resume and portfolio evaluated by an outside source. This last step has been incredibly helpful for some students, some of who have gotten a promotion after making changes to their resume based on feedback from the external review.
What are students most shocked by when it comes to entering the workforce?
One of the most common things I hear from students is they are surprised that looking for a job is a full time job in and of itself! In this competitive job market getting an offer takes some work. Students need to diligently search for positions, but that’s only half the effort. Once they’ve found something to apply to they need to make sure their cover letter, resume and portfolio are customized to match what is in the job posting. And, if they land an interview more time is needed preparing for that opportunity – don’t forget to grab a friend or family member and practice answering key questions. Last but not least of all, don’t forget that thank you note! Following up with a potential employer to thank them for the opportunity to interview for the position does not go unnoticed.
For more information about Bryant & Stratton College Online’s Career Services Department call Kimberly Baker at 1-800-836-5627 ext. 220.