UI helps students make the most of work experiences
September 4, 2018
The University Career Center has created a Career Readiness Campaign to help students make meaningful connections between everyday jobs and their future careers.
“(Students) need to understand how the skills they’ve developed (and) how the experiences they’ve had in the past will help support them in their professional development,” said Tracy Parish, director at Gies Business Career Services.
The campaign is designed to help students articulate their seemingly mundane experiences in useful ways to potential employers, said Monica Towner, assistant director for campus recruiting and job and internship preparation.
Towner gave an example of an articulation. Instead of saying ‘waitress at Merry Ann’s Diner,’ students can put ‘recorded over 100 customer orders a day or handled $400 in different transactions.’
“So, that shows that you have some different experiences, but they were meaningful even though you may say it (as) just a cashier (job),” Towner said.
Towner said the campaign is designed based on eight core competencies that come from the National Association of Colleges and Employers competency list. These competencies are created from a survey given to employers who listed the qualities they look for in students.
According to naceweb.org, the competencies are critical thinking and problem solving, oral and written communication, collaboration and teamwork, digital technology, leadership, professional and work ethic, career management and global and intercultural fluency.
Towner said the Career Center met with an advertising class last fall to discuss this idea. The students ran it and created the campaign. From this, the idea has spread across campus into different departments.
The Career Center debuted the campaign on Quad Day and will have a booth at the part-time job fair, Towner said.
Elizabeth Ferguson, freshman in LAS, said she was surprised they weren’t doing this already because it seems like a helpful thing for students to have.
“(The Campaign) would be a super extra helpful thing, so I guess putting it at the career fair would be a perfect audience,” Ferguson said
Parish said the Gies College of Business is using their online platform to gamify the process of career readiness by creating a badge program.
“The students who participate in our badging program will first have to participate in an orientation session just to make sure they understand what the competencies are and how they apply to their professional development,” Parish said. “Then they will have to go into this platform, they will have to take a quiz on each competency to make sure they actually understand what it is.”
After the students pass the quiz with 100 percent, they will attend a workshop, event or complete an internship that allows them to apply the skill they are trying to learn. The student will submit a one-page reflection to show how they have used that skill. Once that is done, the students will earn a badge on the business schools online platform, Parish said.
“Ultimately we’re planning on getting (the badges) to (transfer) over to LinkedIn,” Parish said. “So employers that want to look at their LinkedIn profile will be able to see (the competence) they have learned.”
Parish said applying these skills in real life will help show employers that students know how to apply these skills and not just theoretically in a classroom.
“Doesn’t matter what major you are in, these are all really important just to function in society,” Parish said.