Campus career center provides resources, advice

Whether you’ve recently graduated or you’re planning to transfer to another college in the fall, the chances are, you’re looking for a job.

But, as you’ve probably heard on the news, our economy is in the midst of a recession. Finding a job is difficult, particularly for students, recent graduates, and those looking to change careers.

What we are experiencing now is an employer’s market – one in which there are fewer positions and a high demand for them. Therefore, an employer can afford to be picky and choose the very best candidate for the job.

Job-hunting can be daunting in this kind of climate; rejection abounds, and it can be easy for a job seeker to give up in despair. But Bellevue College students have a very powerful, very accessible, and very free tool at their disposal: the Center for Career Connections.

The Center offers a wealth of resources, including a website with extensive job search advice and postings. But what separates BC’s Center for Career Connections and, say, Monster.com, is the warm helpfulness of the staff. Director Cheryl Vermilyea, Career and Employment Specialist Fabienne Mouton, and Corporate Outreach Specialist Maren Schmidt are just three members of the Center’s knowledgeable team.

“[Now is] definitely a tough time,” said Schmidt. “It’s probably harder to find jobs than it has been in the past.”

But with their help, students can obtain what they need to land the perfect position, whether it’s permanent and full-time, or a summer internship.

Contrary to the depressing employment outlook, there are actually quite a few positions open for the taking.

“[We’re] still seeing a lot of part-time, seasonal jobs including retail and lifeguarding,” said Vermilyea.

In other words, transfer students still have the opportunity to find the perfect summer job and make a bit of extra cash.

The center has had up to 100 part-time positions available, with the figure now hovering around 60. However, landing a job isn’t as simple as just submitting your resume.

“We had a job opening and we got 72 applications,” said Vermilyea. “It’s very hard to get your resume to bubble to the top of the pile.”

Mouton agreed. “There’s lots of competition, but you just need to be prepared,” she said.

For starters, a student can make an appointment to meet with a specialist and go over his or her resume.

“We work closely with employers and ask questions [about what employers like to see on resumes], so it’s straight from the employers’ mouth,” said Vermilyea.

According to Schmidt, these sessions can help a student identify his or her strengths and weaknesses. Mouton added that once these weaknesses have been identified, the student could address it by picking up a new qualification.

Schmidt said, “If you’re a brand new graduate and you’re competing with someone with ten years experience, you’re going to need experience too, like an internship.”

Internships are another area of expertise for the Center for Career Connections. The center’s website offers students the opportunity to search for the perfect internship with the help of its specialist Laura McCray.

“Internships are great because you can get paid and also get academic credit for your transcript.” Schmidt.

While many of them are unpaid, there are still some paid internships available this summer in fields such as software testing, graphic design, marketing, and web design.

If you’re in the market for a new job, you can’t afford to not come in to the Center for Career Connections.

Best of all, it’s open to anyone looking for a job—you don’t need to be registered for classes to get career help.

It’s conveniently located on the second floor of the Student Services building. The center is open from 8:30 to 4:00 Monday through Thursday, and closes early at 3:00 p.m. on Fridays. To make an appointment, call (425) 564-2279.

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