Resumes, cover letters and networking, oh my! Finding the right job after graduation can be a daunting task. Ouachita Baptist University gives students the education and skills they need to succeed, but its Career Services office helps students find the ideal workplace to let their talents truly thrive.
“The purpose of the Career Services office is to connect students with opportunities that are both relevant and interesting to them,” said Lauren Land, director of Career Services. “We want our students to find the right place for them outside of Ouachita.”
Whether it is job interviews or graduate school applications, the Career Services office seeks to minimize stress as students approach the next phase of life.
“Career preparation is a lifelong endeavor,” said Land. “It can be very overwhelming, especially to students who are just trying to tackle all of the ins and outs of it for the first time.”
To help with this process, the office provides professional advice to hundreds of students each year through individual appointments, group workshops and campus-wide events.
“Students need to get involved before the pressure of finding out what you want to do after graduation sets in,” said Land. “The earlier students take advantage of the services Career Services offers, the more marketable they will be by the time they are looking for a job their senior year. When you can check off some of those tangibles, it makes the whole process much less stressful.”
One way that students can market themselves to future employers is through the use of the business social media website, LinkedIn. A LinkedIn Workshop will kick off the spring workshop series on Friday, Jan. 31. Career Services student worker Joseph Hurst, a senior accounting major from Morrilton, Ark., will teach participants how to build an effective LinkedIn profile and build your network.
“It’s a huge recruiting tool right now in the business world,” Hurst said. “I really just want to help inform students of how impactful and important LinkedIn can be.”
In addition to the use of social media networking, Career Services helps students learn how to confidently network in person through its new Interview Intensive Series. Students will learn directly from successful Ouachita alumni on the topics of “Interview 101” on Feb. 21 and “Personal Branding” on Feb. 28, leading up to a final dinner on March 13.
“Our alumni are very supportive when getting our students plugged in after graduation,” said Land. “Someone helped them at one point, so they often want to pay the favor forward.”
One of Career Services’ biggest annual events, the Career and Networking Expo allows students to mingle with alumni and recruiters from a variety of fields. The event, which is scheduled for Tuesday, March 4, gives student the opportunity to foster professional relationships that could potentially lead to job positions in the future. A Career Expo Prep Workshop on Feb. 26 will help students prepare to attend the expo.
“I wish I had taken advantage of the Career Expo more in the past,” Hurst noted. “So many of those recruiters legitimately want OBU students.” He added that it is an especially effective event “in that students have to opportunity to talk directly to recruiters and connect with people in the business world.”
The Office of Career Services is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for individual and small group consultation. The following campus-wide events are scheduled for the spring semester:
By Molly Bowman