Preparing for job and internship interviews can be daunting, particularly for college students who are still determining future career possibilities. To prep them, Denison’s Austin E. Knowlton Center for Career Exploration created the Career Readiness Boot Camp to build a critical confidence boost for students through an intensive, three-day immersion in best practices for job seeking.
Students begin with the “Designing Your Life” session inspired by the design thinking made popular by Denison’s Red Frame Lab, which asks students to think creatively and strategically about their possible career trajectories. They attend small-group sessions led by career coaches to sharpen their cover letter and resume-writing skills, and on the camp’s final day, students attend mock interviews where they receive real-time feedback intended to help them fine-tune the way they articulate their value to a prospective employer. “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,” says one participant. “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.”
In addition, participants take a trip to nearby Columbus to visit companies like L Brands, Alliance Data, and Ologie, where they tour workplaces, learn how teams collaborate, and note amenities that employers increasingly offer to appeal to young employees, including on-site fitness facilities, flexible scheduling, and even the opportunity to bring a dog to the office.
“It was also really important for them to realize that employers aren’t looking for specific majors, says Knowlton Center Associate Director Michele Doran. “Instead, they are looking for people who are curious, who want to learn and be engaged. That was a relief for some students.”
To cap off their experience, students employ the networking skills they practice in small groups during a networking event with Denison alumni to make connections that will benefit them in life after the Hill. As one student put it: “I feel more confident in being able to clearly identify my skills and interests and how they align with the internship I want.”