Students learn entry-level options

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Jacob Armstrong -- Nordstrom, Enterprise Rent-a-Car and Target come to CBU to discuss entry-level jobs

Top businesses gave California Baptist University students a competitive edge last week during a three-day series about internships and job opportunities.

The Career Center hosted three events, Jan. 24-26, in which juniors and seniors could participate in informational sessions with recruiters from the Target Distribution Center, Nordstrom and Enterprise Rent-a-car.

Liz Jordan, assistant director at the career center, expressed how valuable networking opportunities are as students prepare for the life as a post graduate. Jordan, said, “It is especially on our hearts to prepare you.”

All three presentations gave special information about internship opportunities that may lead to full time positions.

Lorene Richardson, a Target Distribution Center representative, encouraged those in attendance on Jan. 24 to consider making the Target Distribution Center part of their journey in becoming strong leaders and skilled managers.

“Develop as a leader, lead with your strengths and challenge yourself,” Richardson said.

Richardson and her team explained the duties and schedule of the average employee at the Target distribution center. She explained that Target has similar values to those of CBU: respect and dignity for all team members.

On Wednesday Jan. 25, Nordstrom Recruiter Brian Viscusi also explained how participating in the Nordstrom summer retail sales internship would be a “natural progression” from the family-orientated culture of CBU.

“We support a commitment to servant leadership… Everything we do supports our customers and we are known for legendary customer service,” Viscusi said.

While Viscusi owned that the paid summer internship is competitive in nature with the motto: “sell more, make more,” Nordstrom frequently offers interns a job when the experience is over.

According to Viscusi, interviewing is a bit like dating.

“A resume is like a love letter to us. Make it personal,” Viscusi said.

Viscusi urged applicants to research the company that they are applying with and specifically craft their resume to fit the company. Generic resumes will end up in the circular file.

On Thursday Jan. 26. Deborah Meredith, talent acquisition manager at Enterprise Rent-a-Car offered an interactive discussion and workshop dealing with conversation skills in job fair and networking opportunities.

“The key to overcoming nervousness in networking and interviewing situations is to practice your delivery before hand,” Meredith said.

Meredith encouraged students to develop a 30-second commercial that “highlights why you are different from everyone else and what you, as an individual, bring to the workplace… Don’t bore me, excite me,” she said.

Meredith said that she comes to these events to prepare students for smoother interactions when they network and interview.

“There is no class on how to get a job. If there was, we would all sign up for it,” Meredith said.

Gesturing to her navy business suit Meredith said that students should, “invest in the next step…everyone should own a suit, including women. If nothing else, look the part.”

Business Administration major Emily Putnam felt nervous about interviewing, but she felt better prepared following the workshop

“This has been a useful experience,” Putnam said. “I learned what I need to know to get a job.”

Putnam said that she, “found the information about conversing to be helpful. I liked how she covered how to shake hands.”

Meredith recommended that students always have three questions ready to ask the recruiter. Having prior knowledge of what the company is looking for and where they are headed helps initial conversations.

Keep the conversation professional and to around five minutes so that the interaction does not become awkward.

“Don’t tell me about your relationship issues…Be careful. Never ever use profanity or slang. You do not want to get too comfortable with the language that you use,” Meredith said.

As a helpful hint, Meredith told students that when mingling at networking events to refrain from eating or drinking too much as it could hinder making connections.

“We don’t want to smell what you just ate,” Meredith said.

Meredith told students to monitor nonverbal cues and use active listening in order to remember important conversation details.

“When you follow up with the recruiter, it is useful to remember what you talked to them about and where you met. Make connections so that they remember you,“ Meredith said.

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