The time has come again for students at Mississippi College to prepare for post graduation, Career Day. On Tuesday, Feb. 18, employers and schools from the surrounding areas will be waiting to meet fresh-faced students who are ready to further their working and educational experience.
“It’s not only about finding a job but about networking,” said Jennifer McGill, director of Career Services. “There are job fairs in the community but those job fairs are not hiring for career positions like Career Day. So there isn’t really a time after you leave school that you can have a room full of employers looking to hire college graduates. And it’s free.”
Daniel Mortimer, assistant director of Career Services, said, “It’s a great way to find about and to obtain internships. It’s great practice for speaking professionally and to network with people.”
Stephen Wade, a 2013 Mississippi College graduate, who majored in Business Administration, was able to land an internship with Raytheon after connecting with them at Career Day last spring.
He did a follow up interview with them after Career and was able to get an internship as a financial analyst. Wade now works at Autozone’s corporate headquarters in Memphis, Tenn., but he credits Career Services and his experience at Career Day for helping him network and get to where he is right now.
“I used career day as resource to practice my networking skills. It’s great to know what companies are looking to hire graduates in the Jackson area,” said Wade. “I didn’t get a job with any of the companies that were at Career Day but Career Day still helped me get a job.
“Any experience you have talking to companies helps you when that big interview comes along. You learn to be comfortable in a suit, speak with confidence, and ask good questions.”
Career Day is not just about finding a job, it is also about the experience and the practice of networking and being professional.
Ashley Dillard, a senior Communications major, also said that being at Career Day in the past has been a valuable experience. Dillard has worked in the Career Services office and volunteered to help with Career Day last spring.
“Working at Career Day has been one of the most beneficial opportunities that has been given to me while being at MC.
“Not only did I get to work with all of the business partners one on one, but I also had time to tour each booth and get to see all of the job opportunities and internships they had to offer,” said Dillard, who has had the opportunity to see what employers notice about students and what makes students stand out of the crowd.
To really get noticed by possible future employers and stand out of the crowd, there are a few things students can do. McGill said that the best way to do this is to literally be away from the crowd and your group of friends and show that you are serious in your career search.
“Ditch the clique. Don’t go to just walk around with your friends but be that independent professional that employers are looking for,” said McGill. Professionalism is key.
Wade said, “On career day you want to stand out; but for the right reason. Don’t be the guy in jeans, who forgot his resume, and is still ‘undecided’ on what he wants to do out of college.
“The best thing to do is to be professional and really engage the recruiters. They are there looking for employees so ask them questions to try to find out if they would be a company you could see yourself working for,” he said. “If you really want to stand out send personal letters to the people you talk to and make sure they get a copy of your resume.”
Dillard said, “What makes students stand out from the rest is when they tackle this intimidating day on their own. Do not travel in your comfort pack just because. Employers will overlook you while you are in the midst of four other students who could get the job over you.
“You need to approach the tables alone and trust me, it will be nerve racking but worth it!
To help students overcome any nervousness and to be fully prepared for networking on Career Day, Career Services will help any student looking for an edge this year.
The Career Services office has been busy helping students with their resumes and cover letters, but they have introduced another event to accompany Career Day this year.
The week before they will hold a networking workshop on Thursday, Feb. 19 in the Student Activities multi-purpose room behind the Caf. It will be an interactive workshop and snacks will be provided. Tips for Career Day and networking at any professional event will be covered.
Some other tips that McGill gives are to dress appropriately, do your homework and know what employers will be there and have questions to ask, and most importantly do not forget your resume.
Some of the many companies who will have representatives at Career Day are Trustmark Bank, Raytheon, St. Dominic Hospital, Headerman Brothers, Comcast, and Allen Financial Group just to name a few. A full list of employers can be found at http://www.mc.edu/career/events/
– James Osborne, Contributing Writer