Tara Stevenson, Florida Association of Colleges and Employers
Before I could even turn my computer on this morning, I met with two students so excited to share their recent interview successes and future plans for after graduation. Talk about starting a Monday on the right foot! Both of these students finished their huge stories with, “I just wanted to come in and talk it through with you. I figured I should come in and tell you.” That right there is why I’m here. That right there is what I do.
Let’s set the scene: You’re at some sort of function, meeting different people you may or may not know. And the inevitable question comes up, “So, What do you do?” And, I usually reply with something along the lines of working in Career Services at Flagler College. Then it’s that awkward go around of trying to explain what career services is, what it means, how no one used the office when they were in college, blah, blah, blah. The other person usually walks away either thinking we can instantly help them find people to hire because we have this plethora of eager students wanting work (the insider “placement” word we all love to hate comes to mind) or, we’re those resume people in the random office. Either way, I am finding my go-to answer just isn’t working enough to truly convey what I do day-in and day-out.
It’s stories like today that explain what I do. At the base core, I help students figure out what they want to do with their lives. Sounds a lot better, and a little easier to grasp, than Career Services! I’m the cheerleader, the realist, the sounding board, the support they need to simply click the submit button on an application. Yes, I do help students find jobs, and yes, we all sit down and overhaul resumes to the best of our abilities. But when I want to answer, “So, what do you do?”, I bring it back to these stories.
We all have them. The surfer you helped realize he can turn his love for the sun and sand into a design career. The awkward student’s resume you passed along because you know they will be great at an internship, and then they get hired all on their own! The student you put your name behind, just to find out they were offered two amazing opportunities and then he came to you to figure things out. This right here is what we do. This right here is what keeps us coming back.
Career Services isn’t the endless reporting, number crunching, or coordinating. Although, I find I get excited from the number crunching because it can show the amazing success of our students and hopefully finding the correlation with our office. It’s the success stories, however small or big, bringing us in Career Services to that place of truly understanding what we do and being able to convey it to others.