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Career Crossings Office celebrates National Career Development Month

| Friday, November 30, 2018

Throughout November, Saint Mary’s Career Crossings Office has celebrated National Career Development Month with a wide variety of activities, events and panels.

One of the most popular events, which took place Monday, explored work trends with cookies. Students were asked to choose colored sprinkles and place them on a frosted cookie. Each color corresponded to one of six types of careers: realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising and conventional.

“We’re trying to form individual programs from within Saint Mary’s to help students learn about careers and their skills. We want to bring career development to the forefront,” Stacie Jeffirs, director of the Career Crossings Office, said.

Other campus events ranged from free LinkedIn photos for students, faculty and staff to alumnae panels and presentations on how to build a budget after college.

Career advisor Linda Ickes said one of the major themes of the month was focusing on resumes.

“We want to showcase the developmental process of the resume,” Ickes said. “It’s key for career development and gives students a chance to learn about themselves. It’s an ongoing process of revision that can last throughout a lifetime.”

The Career Crossings Office often teams up with other departments to host major-specific panels, allowing students to explore new options and learn about their intended field.

“We also try to bring in alumnae who are actually in the field,” Jeffirs said. “I believe alums are our greatest asset. It’s a tight-knit culture and the connection between school and alum makes the students more interested.”

Outside of National Career Development Month, Career Crossings provides services for Saint Mary’s job-seekers. They look at resumes and cover letters, conduct mock interviews and help students connect with alumnae.

Jeffirs said the Career Crossings Office pushes students to prepare for their careers throughout their time at Saint Mary’s.

“We want first-year students to look around and explore the world around them. Sophomores should then begin applying that to a chosen major and trying to figure out what field they want to go into so we can start exploring careers with them,” Jeffirs said. “Juniors should start looking at internships and stepping into leadership roles, that way they have real world experience so they can decide for themselves where they want to go. As for seniors, the best advice I can give is just knowing deadlines. Graduate schools have application deadlines and most companies follow a recruiting cycle. In the fall, it’s accounting, consulting, industry and engineering. In winter, places like schools, nonprofits and small businesses start looking for new staff members.”

Students are also encouraged to arrange meetings with counselors or attend the Coffee and Career Chat, an open program that allows students to drink coffee, go over their resume and get advice on career development.

“We want to help students brand and market themselves,” Ickes said. “They need to explore and test things out first, but from there we can help them discover how to apply their passions in the workplace.”

Ickes added she believes introspection should be a major facet of students’ career discernment.

“There are three big questions we want every student to ask,” she added. “‘Who am I?,’ ‘Where am I going?’ and ‘How can I get there?’”

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