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Many of us have heard the old African Proverb… “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” These words especially ring true in the Career Services department. Occasionally students will come to my office frustrated because they are not employed. When I ask them what they are doing to become employed they often look at me with blank stares. It is not enough to hand over a job lead to our students, but instead we need to teach, mentor and guide them on how to find those leads.
Today, research shows that the average person changes jobs 10-15 times during their career. In order to equip our students to handle today’s employment market when need to equip them with the lifelong skills of how to constantly be seeking employment rather than a one-time permanent placement.
How do we accomplish this? First and foremost we reinforce to our students that “Finding a job is a job.” You need to devote a set amount of time each day when seeking employment, just like is done with homework. Next, students need a well-written resume that adheres to professional guidelines, along with a cover letter and reference page. There is also importance in dressing for success, sound interviewing skills and follow-up communication. Students need to be taught the skill of professional networking, and where they can find career opportunities to apply too. When we look at the career life-cycle of a student versus the immediate fix of “a job,” we accomplish what the Old African Proverb suggests and that is a lifetime of employment skills.