Professionalism, an aspect of the college experience the Office of Career Development strives to help students develop, is the main emphasis and hopeful take-away the free walk-in program employer-in-residence offers. The program allows students to learn about job and internship opportunities in Brookings and talk to full-time and student employees who work at these companies.
The program features two large local employers, Daktronics and Larson Manufacturing, who have an even larger need for student employees in their workforce.
“For Larson, they have chosen to bring in members of their executive team to speak each week on different topics, which is a huge professional development opportunity since they’re a Brookings-based company that their executive is willing to take the time to come in and talk for two hours about giving advice on what they can do in college to succeed,” associate director of the Office of Career Development Sherry Fuller-Bordewyk said.
If nothing else, these events help students network with potential employers and gain professional development, which pertains to any student’s major, and lets students leave a positive impression on these companies according to Fuller-Bordewyk.
“Having that face-to-face connection is still going to set you apart because the employer can flag your application as it works its way through the online process through this digital age that we live in,” Fuller-Bordewyk said.
Students of all majors are encouraged to pursue opportunities that can develop their professionalism skills alongside their education, even if those students are not seeking current employment in college. Senior Matthew Dahle said he learned things from the conversations even though his focus is on agriculture.
“As a student with an agricultural major, I still took away quite a bit from the conversations with the Larson and Daktronics representatives. Having people like Larson CEO Jeff Rief was a wonderful opportunity,” Dahle said. “Hearing first-hand what it takes to climb the ladder and get the most return on your educational investment was a beneficial experience.”
The Office of Career Development tries to make sure all students get opportunities to interact with company representatives by not only offering six to seven events per company a semester, but to stress a casual and relaxed atmosphere that aims to ease nerves and urge students to ask more questions.
“Not only does it give you the ability to sit down in our student engagement living room and have meaningful conversations with the president and CEO of a large company, but you also get the opportunity to network and practice your skills in communicating with employers,” Fuller-Bordewyk said. “It’s important that you know how to approach employers and also remember when you are being interviewed [that] it’s an opportunity to interview them to determine if it’s a right fit for you.”
While the program is in its fourth semester on campus, the Office of Career Development advertises these events through posters and select classroom announcements.
“One of the things that can be discouraging when we offer programs like this is that students don’t take advantage of them to the degree that we think they should. We would definitely like to see more students at these events,” Fuller-Bordewyk said. “I can’t stress how important it is to take advantage of professional development opportunities – especially when there’s no cost.”
Some students help spread the word by mouth because they believe it can benefit their friends and peers as young professionals and as individuals, according to Dahle.
“Overall, I believe that almost every student could benefit from these events, and I hope they continue to happen. The Office of Career Development at SDSU is a great resource that students should utilize as much as possible,” Dahle said. “The employer-in-residence program is a wonderful asset to the student body of SDSU as well as the businesses in the Brookings community.”
As the career development office looks to grow this program in the future, they believe employer-in-residence helps to fulfill their goal as an asset to students to prepare them for the professional world.
“One of the goals in the Office of Career Development is to be that bridge between students, the talent and employers, who are the opportunity. The employer-in-residence program is just one way we try to do that,” Fuller-Bordewyk. “I would strongly encourage students to take advantage of these opportunities.”
Fuller-Bordewyk advised students to come prepared to these events with researched questions and possibly even note-taking tools.
Another service the office offers is walk-in hours, which focuses on building appealing resumes or answering general career pathway questions.