Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Since 1907
Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Q&A with Calvin’s Career Center

Whether you are a freshman or a senior at Calvin, many students feel the pressure to figure out what their career plans will be after graduation. Luckily, Calvin’s Career Center is here to help alleviate some of the stress students face. The Career Center has a variety of resources — such as coaches and online career-readiness modules — to meet the variety of career-based needs students have. Chimes spoke with Director of the Career Center Courtney Banks-Tatum, Career Center student worker Sydney Boelman and Senior Career Coach LaShone Manuel to learn more about the variety of resources, opportunities and advice the Career Center has to offer Calvin students.

Chimes: How has your move to Rooks Van Dellen affected the Career Center? How have you all at the center adjusted to this change?

Banks-Tatum: The move to RVD has been a surprisingly pleasant experience. We enjoy being closer to students in a more relaxed environment and have seen an increase in the number of underclassmen utilizing our services. We use the Van Dellen lower level for our programming and students are more than welcome to use it as a study space as well. 

Boelman: It’s a dorm, so there are definitely changes that we have adjusted to. One change is that we are no longer able to host events in Hiemenga Hall. With that being said, a lot of our events are downstairs in our basement. We also hold our walk-in hours for resume/cover letter reviews in our basement now too, instead of in our office. We also have all the staff members in a dorm room down a hall. Back in the office, they were all (but two) talking distance away. 

Manuel: Overall, the move was pretty good. I think we have done well with the place as far as decorating it and making it feel more like an office. I feel that this change has helped increase the number of students we see in coaching appointments. Here, we are able to meet students where they are by being in their neck of the woods, and this in turn has increased student appointments, which is nice. 

Chimes: What are some services the Career Center offers students that you think many students aren’t aware of?

Banks-Tatum: The most underutilized service would be the Calvin LifeWork (CLW) program. CLW was designed to equip students in career and life readiness and prepare them for their next steps. Students can complete online modules in Moodle that are focused on career readiness, leadership, personal finance and vocation. The more modules they complete, the more prizes they can earn (i.e., professional development grants, Calvin swag, gift cards).  

Boelman: We offer many services to students, including appointments and display tables. The appointments are with your assigned career coach. They offer one-on-one resume/cover letter building, practice interviews, general career coaching, job/internship search, grad school navigation, choosing a major and career assessment interpretation. Resume/cover letter building and practice interviews are the most common. The other appointments are not really heard of. The display tables are mostly in Johnny’s from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. These are when companies come in and set up shop with the hope to draw students in, talk with them and hopefully hire them. A lot of people know there are tables in Johnny’s, but they might not know what they do or where they came from.

Manuel: Professional development through programs such as Calvin LifeWork (CLW). We have modules of the months where students can win prizes for completing set modules. We have the Escape room through CLW. We have various events we put on for students to connect with employers. When meeting with a Career Coach, you are not limited to resume reviews and interviews, but the meeting can also include receiving help or discussing any career-related questions students may have about job searching, pay, career path and more.

Chimes: Do you have any events or certain activities coming up that you want students to be aware of?

Banks-Tatum: Students can take advantage of the three December CLW modules of the Month (What Makes You, You?, Happiness and Budgeting) and have a chance to earn prizes. All CLW modules will also be available over break. Our career programming will start back up in January and we will have a variety of opportunities for students to connect with employers looking to hire students for summer jobs and internships.

Boelman: We always have something going on, whether it is Display Tables, Workshop Wednesdays, Coffee Chats or Networking and Info Sessions. 

Manuel: We have a lower level RVD study area on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. Follow us at @calvincareer on Instagram for a weekly update on employers that will be on campus.

Chimes: What advice do you have for upperclassmen feeling overwhelmed with the process of career-searching approaching quickly?

Banks-Tatum: You are not alone! Navigating the job search process can leave many feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to start or even how to move through the recruitment and hiring phases. My advice would be to connect with the Career Center as early as possible to take advantage of the resources and programming (i.e., assessments, workshops, fairs, networking events, coaching appointments) that can help set them up for success. 

Boelman: You truly will not know if you like your potential major/career until you dip your foot in the water. Meaning, you have to put yourself in the shoes of your potential career to see if you really like it. So, talk with people on the phone or in person and ask them hard and honest questions about their work, job shadow or volunteer work. Your classes only do so much. 

Manuel: Meet with your Career Coach today! We can help you sort through and process available opportunities as well as give you tools to help in your search. And always network. Talk to individuals in the fields you desire. Learning from others’ experiences is another form of experience. 

Chimes: Do you have any advice for underclassmen who are just beginning to consider potential career options?

Banks-Tatum: Be open-minded, embrace new experiences and don’t rush — finding the right career for you is a process of discovery. Explore a wide range of classes, join clubs aligned with your interests, participate in internships and research experiences, volunteer, work-on-campus and network with professionals. Reflect on your passions, attend career workshops and events and leverage career coaching appointments. Enjoy the process!

Manuel: Job shadow, conduct informative interviews with professionals and talk to professors. All of these are ways of networking. Networking is building connections, and this is something you can never start doing too early. Doing this will help you discover what’s out there. It will also help you see what you like and/or don’t like. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Calvin University Chimes Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *