One of the many concerns college students have is their ability to achieve career goals once they graduate. With these worries in mind, the UMKC’s Career Services department is striving to train students how to present themselves to employers, both in person and on paper.
Last Thursday, Career Services hosted their first of many Cover Letter workshops, hoping to begin the process of training college students to create professional yet unique portfolios for themselves. Employer Relations Rep for Career Services, Alyssa Collier, hosted the event, discussing the importance of originality, as well as organization in a cover letter in order to get an employer’s attention.
“When you’ve read [your resume] so many times, sometimes you miss those mistakes, so we’re always happy to do that for students,” Collier said.
The main advice Collier gives to students, is that employers are tired of reading letters beginning by simply stating your name and the position you’re applying for. She says if possible, begin with relevant information such as your enthusiasm about their particular company.
While it is smart to get creative with your letter, Collier warned against straying too far outside the box. According to her, the most common mistake she sees in student cover letters is listing irrelevant hobbies, especially the ones that aren’t applicable to the job. She expressed the need for there to be a reason you’re mentioning a certain hobby, and how that hobby can be beneficial to the employer.
Career Services Fiscal Officer Janet Dexter also provided great insight for the students preparing to search for jobs.
Working for 23 years at UMKC, she has seen how the application process has evolved through the revolution of technology, and believes technology can help students looking to launch their careers.
“We’re really big on not telling them how to get their jobs, but showing how to conduct a productive job search,” Dexter said. “The biggest challenge is they don’t realize they need to start now.”
Career Service employees like Dexter and Collier are hoping to use these events to help students find careers in their field.
While they usually help students out by conducting presentations inside the classroom, the department has put it upon themselves to host many events this semester, all of which will teach students how to become more employable.
In this year’s career training seminars, they hope to teach students how to update a resume, how to dress for an interview, how to create a LinkedIn portfolio, and even how to conduct yourself in an interview at a lavish restaurant.
According to Dexter, these are the lessons that will make you look and feel more confident in your career field.
“Whatever the student needs, we try to facilitate that,” Dexter said.
To take advantage of these numerous workshops Career Services is planning, go to career.umkc.edu to look at their full calendar of events. For more one-on-one time to work on your cover letter and resume, you can stop by their office on weekdays from 10 A.M. to 12 P.M. in the second floor of the Atterbury Student Success Center.
“They throw their resume out there and are like ‘Well, I’m not getting anybody.’ Well everybody else graduating in May is doing the same thing,” Dexter said. “Research, invest your time, know what you’re doing, and be confident.”