Career Services preps seniors for graduation

Michaela Proctor
From left: Career Services employees Colton Griffiths, Morgan Kap, Sierra Pierson, Katie Zackrison, Aimee Colton, Mikayah Siufanua, Kiralyn Pili and Quinn Johnson show off their career boot camp T-shirts. (Michaela Proctor)

BYU’s Career Services office has tools and tips for students that can help them graduate and enter the workforce with confidence.

The Career Services office, located on the second floor of the Wilkinson Student Center, recently held a career boot camp for graduating seniors to learn how to polish resumes, develop LinkedIn profiles, search for jobs, perform well in job interviews and navigate job benefits.

BYU dance performance senior Courtney Olsen attended the career bootcamp in preparation for her April graduation.

“I thought it would be a good way to learn more about job searching and tailoring your resume in one place, instead of trying to find all these different resources on the internet,” Olsen said.

Career Services career director Colton Griffiths said he sees many students who visit the office feeling scared of the unknowns in the future. Griffiths outlined important advice for students nervous about their career path.

Start early

“Come to Career Services the minute you get here as a freshman,” Griffiths said. “The second you have questions and your career starts to weigh on you, start. Don’t put it off.”

Griffiths said some majors have clear post-graduation career paths, but most are broad enough that guidance may help in deciding on a career.  

Get experience 

Michelle Proctor, another career director at Career Services, said students should gain experience throughout their college careers.

Griffiths emphasized the importance of including other experiences in addition to academic courses.

“A bachelor’s degree is not a free ticket to a job,” Griffiths said. “You have to do a bachelor’s degree and then add some experience to it, so you have a great resume.”

Griffiths said while classes will come to an end in a few weeks, a career is for the rest of a student’s life, and it is worth sacrificing for.

Build and use your network

One of Career Services’ peer mentors, Logan Ruesch, a theater major with an emphasis in public speaking, said 70 to 80 percent of jobs are never posted on job sites because employees are instead chosen through networking.

“Talk to your friends. Talk to your friends’ parents. Get on your social media. Talk to the people that are in your industry,” Ruesch said. “(Participate in) Take a Cougar to Lunch — it’s a wonderful program. Contact a company that you are interested in and ask for an informational interview — just an opportunity to sit down with them and talk to them about how they got there.”

Proctor said it is through talking to professionals that students learn about the daily work and lifestyle of certain careers and decide if they actually want to pursue that profession.

Get involved on campus

Griffiths said campus events help students narrow down their career goals and give them greater perspective.

“Get involved in anything besides going to class — whether it’s a club, whether it’s an internship, whether it’s a part-time job — you’ve got to do something else besides go to class,” Griffiths said.

Get help

“Career Services is the most underutilized and one of the most beneficial offices on campus,” Griffiths said. “Come see us and we will take that step together.”

According to Proctor, Career Services had a total of 6,091 student appointments in the year 2016. 3,296 of those were conducted by staff members and 2,795 were conducted by peer mentors.

Proctor said the office plans to continue planning career boot camps each semester so graduating students can leave BYU with confidence.

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