Cool Class: Job Market Boot Camp
February 01, 2018
By Rob Humphreys ’16MBA
Graduating seniors don their best business attire and get intensive training on how to excel in the global workforce.
“So, tell me about yourself.”
Even for a seasoned job-seeker, is there anything more nerve-racking than the 30-second elevator speech?
Imagine, then, the dread it must evoke in the mind of a typical college senior—someone more accustomed to writing a term paper than crafting a personal narrative. After crossing the stage, when making the grade gives way to making a living, will our graduates have the tools to launch a successful career?
Jana Mathews, associate professor of English, wants that answer to be a resounding “yes!” Since 2015, her weeklong Job Market Boot Camp course, taught over winter Intersession, has helped nearly 200 seniors prepare for what lies just around the corner.
- Jana Mathews, associate professor of English
- Norah Pérez, director of experiential learning
- Todd French, assistant professor of religion
- Zohra Fazal, associate director of career development
Team-taught by faculty and members of Rollins’ Center for Career & Life Planning, this two-credit course gives students the practical tools and skill sets necessary to succeed in life and on the job. Topics include learning interview skills, writing resumes and cover letters, negotiating salaries and asking for promotions, deciphering health and retirement plans, and achieving a healthy work-life balance.
Rounding out the course are networking events with Rollins alums, panel discussions with industry professionals, professionalization workshops, value assessment surveys … and lots of pep talks.
“For every 22-year-old, this is all foreign terrain,” Mathews says. “It’s pretty cool to watch them go from being scared about the job market process to, by the end of the week, being incredibly self-assured and demonstrating a lot of confidence. We’re helping them develop a brand they can communicate to the rest of the world.”
On the final day of class, a mock networking event featured about a dozen alumni and community leaders who interacted with students, then provided individual feedback.
Students practiced everything from the art of eating hors d’oeuvres to skillfully moving in and out of conversation.
For Andrej Ingle ’18, a communication studies major from Germany, Job Market Boot Camp has already paid off in a big way. After an alumni panel session, he introduced himself to Andi Perez ’10 ’12HH, Yelp’s community and marketing director for Central Florida. Now, he’s interning at the company as a videographer.
“This class changed my life,” Ingle says, “and that’s not an exaggeration. I feel as though I can tackle any part of the job market now. It’s made everything so much easier.”
Mark Angelo ’18, a social entrepreneurship major, values the practical skills he learned for applying to graduate school and future job openings. He adds that the course “helped many of us reflect on what we need to use to our advantage, or improve on, to have greater opportunities once we move on from Rollins.”
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