Career Boot Camp Gives Students a Job Search Workout

Preparing for job and internship interviews can be daunting, especially for college students who are still figuring out future career possibilities. Every January, Denison students take part in a Career Readiness Boot Camp. During the intensive, three-day immersion, they get a critical boost in confidence and skills as they learn best practices for job seeking.

The camp opens with a “Designing Your Life” session, using design-thinking methods that are resourced from Denison’s Red Frame Lab. Students think creatively and strategically about their possible career trajectories. From there, participants attend small-group sessions led by career coaches to sharpen their skills in areas like writing strong cover letters and resumes tailored to specific employers, networking, and gaining experience in using a variety of job search resources.

On the camp’s final day, students go through mock interviews where they get real-time feedback to help them fine-tune how they articulate their value to a prospective employer. “Students realize that when they’re working on extracurriculars with a team or on group projects at Denison, those experiences carry over into the working world,” says Knowlton Center Associate Director Michele Doran.

One student notes, “I already had a pretty solid idea of what I do and don’t want to do, but it was the minute details that caught me. I didn’t know how to make myself stand out properly, I didn’t know that you can still apply for jobs that you aren’t necessarily qualified for, and I most certainly wasn’t able to articulate my skill set.”

They visit companies like L Brands, Alliance Data, and Ologie, take tours of work places and learn team collaboration skills.

In addition to two full days of career-building sessions at Denison, students spend a day in nearby Columbus. They visit companies like L Brands, Alliance Data, and Ologie, take tours of work places and learn team collaboration skills. They also see how employers increasingly work to appeal to young employees with amenities like on-site fitness facilities, flexible scheduling, and even the opportunity to bring a dog to the office.

“It’s really important for students to realize that employers aren’t looking for specific majors. Instead, they are looking for people who are curious, who want to learn and be engaged,” says Doran.

“The opportunity to visit several different companies was an experience I enjoyed,” says one student. “The real-life experience made it easier for me to rule out the types of places I don’t want to work in, and the places I do.”

To cap off their Columbus visit, students use the networking skills they learn in previous small-group sessions during a networking event with Denison alumni.

One student reflects, “I found the networking event to be very helpful. It gave me a chance to learn first-hand about the process of finding a career after Denison.”

March 29, 2019