Employment seminar imparts valuable career skills

Employability Event
UW-Fox Valley’s Student Affairs office includes Career Services which coordinate events such as the March 29 employment event. · photo by Vinnie Oestreich

Tammy Brunette, senior academic adviser for adult students and global career development facilitator at UW-Fox Valley, led a seminar discussing what employers look for in college graduates March 29.

This information helps students get the most out of their college career while getting insight into how to develop these necessary skills.

The spring seminar was based on Bill Caplin’s book 10 Things Employers Want You to Learn in College. Seminars like this help students gain understanding on how certain academic activities will help with success in the workforce.

The top five concepts discussed were how students need to establish a work ethic, develop physical skills, communicate verbally and in writing, and directly work with others.

Brunette’s seminar included ideas of what helps motivate students to be successful in today’s competitive job market. The skills learned in the classroom will follow college graduates into the workplace.

Many students, however, do not realize classroom activities are building skills needed in their careers.

“Most probably do not understand the importance of gen. eds. and how working in groups, for example, are stepping stones for students being geared towards working in a team or office setting,” Brunette said.

Some students recognize the value of a liberal arts education and how it prepares them for the working world. Group project assignments aid students in developing communication styles to achieve goals. College offers students a way to explore how these elements work together to be effective later.

Shannon Britton, national recruiting manager for TransDirect USA, explained that she places high importance in soft skills when interviewing college graduates.

“Is this person coachable? I am looking for people who are willing to learn, willing to listen, and willing to accept constructive feedback and criticism,” Britton said.

Interviewers often look for common traits that indication good communication and teamwork.

“Do I want this person on my team? Yes, you can have all the skills, certificates and degrees in the world, but are you likeable? Do you have good communication skills? At the end of the day, I am going to spend 40–60 hours a week with you, so we need to be able to get along.”

Specifically, other skills that are looked for public speaking and interpersonal communication, writing and grammar skills, basic-to-moderate computer skills and general management and leadership skills. This leaves some skills to be fine-tuned through job experience.

University students have access to Career Services located on the UW-Fox campus. This service helps students figure out what classes to take or help decide the best desired field for themselves. This service aids in résumé building and reviewing cover letters.

Brunette is a certified career counselor on campus.

“I help students do personality assessments and interest inventories. This helps you figure out what you like to do, along with your personality and how those two connect,” Brunette said. “More and more students are becoming more aware of this service on campus.”

Students can also connect with Career Buzz, developed by Brunette. This is an online space that aids students who are searching for jobs or internships. Career Buzz works by posting jobs and internships that are sent to Tammy. She then goes to post the openings available and sends out emails to faculty who would teach in that related course. Undergraduates can access these postings through the UW-Fox Web page, under the student life tab.

Another tool offered to students is Intern2Work. This site is utilized by Northeast Wisconsin employers posting new internships. Students apply for an internship and the employer will then contact them if they are picked for the position. Unfortunately, students are not allowed to contact the employer and must wait for their response.

The Writing Pad is a resource UW-Fox students can use to help them brush up their résumés. The Writing Pad is located in room 1813.

UW-Fox students can expect another seminar April 26, where Brunette will be hosting mock interviews.

On May 3, there will be a networking night located in the student union hall on campus, where students can meet professionals from within the community.