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Career Week workshops prepare students

Monday, April 7, 2008  
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By Alana Duffle

The increase in business attire on campus this week wasn't solely because of end of the semester presentations, but was partly a result of Career Week.

Professionals representing businesses such as Sonic Corporate office, Chesapeake Energy, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce/Greater Grads Internship Program and Enterprise Rental Car, along with coordinator for Career Services Sara Barnett, presented workshops throughout the week to aid current student in preparation for the workforce.

The workshops focused on everything from dress code to building résumés and provided students with useful knowledge to help them in the future.

"The idea for career week came about because there are so many students who are interested in some of these workshops and topics, and there's not enough of me to go around.  It's very difficult for me to help every student," Barnett said. "I started planning events for career week by thinking of what would be most beneficial to the students."

Tuesday's workshop, "Building your winning résumé" was put on by Sonic Corporate Office.

This workshop taught students what to put on their résumés and what to stray away from.

Barnett said these professionals were a great help to students because they are accustomed to looking at résumés; they see them on a daily basis.

Because of this knowledge, they were able to instruct students on the do's and the don'ts of résumé writing.

"Interviewing 101" was the focus of Wednesday's workshop put on by Chesapeake Energy. The recruiters prepared students for interviews, going over everything from questions to proper dress.

Thursday, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce/Greater Grads Internship Program focused on career fair strategies and the job search and taught students simple techniques to help set themselves apart from other applicants. They stressed the importance of networking to find a job.

The last workshop, "The After-Life," concluded today. In the workshop, Enterprise Rental Car instructed students on how to successfully transition from college to a full-time job.

Although not every student was able to participate in career week, there was a good response to the workshops.

"This years' career week event was a trial run," Barnett said. "The purpose of these events was to help prepare students for careers after graduation or internships.  Often times, students overlook these opportunities, but they need to start considering them because they will help set them apart from other applicants."

Through career week, Barnett succeeded in spreading awareness of the Career Services office.

"I wasn't aware we had a Career Services office, let alone someone who would help you find internships," freshman Cassie Mier said. "I was unable to attend any of the workshops this year, but am looking forward to attending some in the future."

Many students have discovered and used the resources Barnett provides. She has helped numerous students find internships and prepare for job interviews.

Montine Jones was one the many students whom Barnett has helped.

Jones is an accounting major who anticipates graduating this semester. She is a non-traditional student and dreaded returning to the workforce.

After spending several years in classes with extremely talented students who were half of her age, Jones realized the competition was going to be tough.

She decided she would have to sell her previous work experiences along with her degree to compete with the young graduates.

"Several business professors recommended that we utilize OC Career Services along with getting to know Sara Barnett," Jones said. "Last fall I fell into the category of not feeling prepared for the job search lying ahead, so I had Sara review my résumé."

After meeting with Barnett a few times, Jones felt well prepared for her career pursuit.

"Sara has many employer connections and great insights to the ever-changing interview process and a broad perspective of the job market" Jones said. "This program sets OC apart from other universities competing in the job market. I would highly recommend taking advantage of the OC Career Services as it helps build the confidence needed for your future job."

With the help of Barnett, Jones landed an internship with Murrell, Hall, McIntosh & Co., PLLP.

In less than three years, Career Services has proven to be a success at Oklahoma Christian University.

Barnett took what was once an old storage room in the library and turned into the Career Services office. She created a network between employers and students via a Web site.

She has also helped many students land their dream job, by simply helping them develop initiative.

For more information on career services, visit Barnett's Web site at http://www.oc.edu/services/career.

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