Gainful Employment

by Jessica Boggs '03

Commencement was just around the corner and Tiffany Axene ’02 found herself at a loss. Instead of feeling the accomplishment of graduating, Axene was consumed with looming questions about her future: Where was she going to work? Would she make enough money to support herself? Did her résumé sound professional? Realizing the magnitude of the decisions she had to make, Axene sought guidance at the Office of Career Services.

Every year, thousands of seniors face a similar dilemma. That is why people like Lynn Pearson, director of the Office of Career Services, focuses her energy, support, and experience to help ease the often difficult transition from college to the workplace. The Office of Career Services is located in the heart of Magnolia Court on APU’s East Campus. This resource powerhouse employs dynamic individuals who seek to create an energetic Christian learning environment in which they can assist students and alumni making decisions about majors, graduate schools, and employment.

Career Services offers a resource library that houses reference books and periodicals on internships, majors, graduate school information, and company literature. There are also employment notebooks that list part- and full-time employment and internship opportunities available through Career Services.

Alumnus Brian Saddler ’02 used the specialized programs on Career Services’ computers and bookmarked websites to help him locate employment opportunities after graduation. Lori Pluister ’04 utilized the career and interest inventories Career Services offered to identify and maximize her strengths and interests. The tests helped her better understand her personality and natural abilities. Many students learn where the best places to steward their gifts and abilities are after using such resources.

Even more important than the self-help opportunities is the face of Career Services: the staff. Highly trained professionals personally assist students one-on-one. Matt Norquist ’01 made an appointment with Career Services during his senior year. “We talked a lot about my options and the staff gave me a lot to think about,” said Norquist. “Folks really listened and were interested in helping find the best fit for me.” As a result, Norquist had a job offer from The Gallup Organization by the time he graduated.

Additional staff services also include mock interviews for students preparing to seek employment, and individual assistance on writing résumés and cover letters. Career Services-sponsored events, panels, seminars, and workshops throughout the year engage both students and alumni and supplement the personal attention students receive in the office.

Career Services assists approximately 1,000 students in a typical academic school year. And their efforts pay off: Employers take notice of applicants who are so well prepared. Last year, 38 percent of the students and alumni who participated in teacher Interview Day, one of the office’s most popular events, were hired in different school districts.

“My overall vision is to see Career Services more fully integrated into the curriculum,” said Pearson. “That means working hand-in-hand with faculty to incorporate career planning concepts into their syllabus. In addition, we want students to see Career Services as a place where they can obtain advice in finding their calling and learning how to envision and implement their life goals.”

"'...we want students to see Career Services as a place where they can obtain advice in finding their calling and learning how to envision and implement their life goals.'”

Two months before graduating, Tiffany Axene received an official job offer from Bank of America. As a result, her walk across the commencement platform was doubly sweet. Thanks to a little help from Career Services, Axene confidently crossed the platform and embraced the next chapter of her journey.

Jessica Boggs ’03 is an editorial intern in the Office of University Marketing and Creative Media.