University of the Cumberlands (UC) recently hosted a career fair on campus for students to connect with recruiters from graduate schools, military organizations, and corporate businesses who attended the fair.
“We’re doing two things today,” said Debbie Harp, a professor and Director of Career Services at UC. “We’re hosting a career fair, which introduces students to recruiters and various representatives. And, we are launching Handshake to the undergraduate population on campus, particularly the freshman class. That’s where internships can be found, part-time jobs, full-time jobs. Students can meet people and start learning how to use job-search platforms this way.”
Handshake is a premier job posting platform that connects students and alumni with over 250,000 employers across the United States. The website gives employers a place to post their open positions so they can hear from young talent; conversely, the site offers students and young alumni thousands of career opportunities they may not have found otherwise. Large public schools like University of Kentucky and University of Tennessee use Handshake as well, so Cumberlands is “right up there along the cutting-edge,” according to Harp.
The Office of Career Services at Cumberlands offers a number of free services in addition to career fairs, such as résumé editing, interview advice, and Career and Leadership classes. The office also posts approximately 50 jobs a day on online career platforms, including federal jobs, private jobs, business-industry jobs, and more.
“Students generally don’t worry about jobs until they have to,” said Harp. “That’s why it’s important to get recruiters here talking about potential career paths. The things you learn in college – communication skills, problem-solving, social skills – are all valuable in the workforce.”
Shawn Harris is a Cumberlands graduate who worked very closely with the career center, according to Harp. A few years ago, he went to the Spotlight Career Fair in Lexington that Harp recommended. There, he made a connection that landed him an interview, which got him an internship, which earned him a job. He now works full-time for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
One representative from Eastern Kentucky University Online said that the Career & Leadership classes Cumberlands offers make a difference. They get freshmen and sophomores thinking about long-term goals. The representative believes the classes are “good external motivators” for students that give them “a bit of an advantage” when they apply to graduate programs, since “they already know some of the right questions to ask.”
Just for fun, Harp offered some professional tips for successfully maneuvering around the job market.
For making good first impressions: “Make eye contact, give a firm handshake, and smile. Don’t talk to the recruiters you’re most interested in first. Go to other tables first and practice on them.”
For writing great résumés: “Do not use a template. Do not! Recruiters hate them. Entry-level candidates, keep your résumé to one page. No matter what, make it achievement-oriented. Use action verbs to list your achievements.”
Located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction offering quality undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and online degree programs. Learn more at ucumberlands.edu.