Career and personal development are essential to any college campus, and at Rhodes College, the Career Services staff works to assist and guide students through this process and empower them to achieve meaningful careers over their lifetimes. They help students identify career interests, create strong resumes, ace job interviews, connect with graduate school programs, and network with professionals to find internships and full-time positions. Becka Hampton ’16 believes that her position as a Rhodes Student Associate is key for the continued success of the department.
Hampton currently works in Career Services as the employer relations coordinator, but also has worked as a student employee in the office since the spring of her first year at Rhodes. She coordinates on-campus interviews and information sessions with various employers, organizes the annual Graduate School Expo and Career Fair, and plans an employer appreciation luncheon to honor those who have participated in Career Services programs.
Director of Career Services Sandi George Tracy credits Hampton for handling a lion’s share of the details when it comes to planning employer visits and schedules. “Becka is extremely professional and competent!”
Hampton considers the Career Fair her most successful project for the 2015-16 academic year. This year’s event had 38 companies and doubled student attendance from last year. Alli Heinemeyer ’17 attended the fair and says she had great success at the event. “I had the opportunity to network with recruiters, which even led to a few interviews.” Events like this and other Career Services programs have had similar results for students landing interviews, jobs, and internships.
Working as a student associate has allowed Hampton to gain knowledge and insight on what qualities employers value in applicants, as well as what information they look for in a resume. “I really recommend making a LinkedIn profile. Recently, we had a recruiter note that they wanted to see a LinkedIn URL on students’ resumes to get a better understanding of who the student is.”
In addition, Hampton notes that computer and IT skills are becoming increasingly appealing to recruiters, and some employers have told her that they will hire applicants based on proficiency in those skills. She also praises the liberal arts background that Rhodes provides, because it cultivates critical thinking and problem solving, basic abilities sought by employers.
About 75 percent of Rhodes students participate in internships before they graduate, which makes them competitive for future opportunities. Each summer, Career Services releases a Post Grad Report for the prior year’s graduating class. In last year’s report, 98 percent of the 2014 graduates were employed, attended graduate/professional school, or volunteered full-time. The report for the Class of 2015 will be released this summer.
Rhodes is unique in that it provides a comprehensive career development program, according to Tracy. “Not only do we work with seniors, but also we work with first-year students, sophomores, and juniors. Many offices focus efforts on seniors, but we feel that it is important to start working with students during their first year so that they are better prepared for their professional futures.”
That development continues after graduation as many alumni work with Career Services and current students by serving on career panels, creating internship opportunities, and acting as mentors. “Our alumni are very good at making career opportunities known to our students and helping to promote our students to their companies. In addition, our alumni help students acclimate to their new city,” says Tracy. There are alumni chapters in cities such as Chicago, Houston, New York, New Orleans, Dallas, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
At Rhodes, Hampton is pursuing a commerce and business degree with a concentration in accounting, and she says working in Career Services has helped her become more confident during her own job interviews. As graduation approaches, Hampton already has her immediate pursuits lined up. She will be working for PwC in San Diego starting in June and will go on to pursue a master’s degree in accounting beginning in the fall.
By Lizzie Choy ’17