Sierra Madden | Staff Writer
On January 17th, Eastern hosted a career readiness conference where students were welcome to come back to school a day early to participate in a series of workshops followed by a networking hour with the companies and resources that attended. If you were to ask most of these students why they attended, however, they would admit to wanting to come to campus early, or were staying for a free lunch and T-shirt. Almost half the group sadly did not make it past lunch and ended up leaving the event. Despite the decline in attendance, some workshops had interesting information; Here are a few things you may have missed.
The day started with a 9 am check-in where you received an itinerary and breakfast. This was a great time to talk to different people attending the conference. A majority of the group was sophomores. After a little mingling with other students and some quick opening remarks from the career center, students were sent on their way to their workshops.
The first workshop that many attended was “Starting your career in the public and non-profit sector.” During this info session, representatives from the public fire department, Windham’s HR department, and the non-profit group Horizons spoke about their experiences working for the town. What was refreshing about this conversation was how honest they were. They admitted that Windham is one of the poorest communities in Connecticut, but proceeded in talking about how much they love working in the community. They talked about how you would not make the earnings you want to, but that there are many benefits in staying active and a part of the community.
There were many networking opportunities presented from different parts of the community. The chief of the fire department told the group a story about one Eastern student who continuously volunteered at the soup kitchen, which lead to having a good reputation built up for himself. He joined the fire department team! The lead for Horizons volunteering and camp program talked about how he was an Eastern alumnus who originally had no interest in working with a non-profit company, but took on an internship and never left! The connections these two have made in the community changed their lives and they really advocated the idea of loving the job and the people you are with. In the end, it gave perspective about if a job is really just about the money.
The next workshop was about work in Connecticut. This workshop gave resources such as CampusCT and talked about many different opportunities for work, but only if you are planning to stick around Connecticut. CampusCT is a useful site that connects college students to different partnerships and job opportunities around the state. This resource has a search bar that allows you to look for jobs that best utilize your field of study and interests. I found this to be one of the most helpful workshops, but again, only if you plan to stay in Connecticut. If you find that you have interesting work experiences or have helpful tips about the application processes, CampusCT has a blog section where students can share their experiences as well.
After the workshops, students were given a break for lunch. The group dropped significantly after lunch and not many made it to the next round of workshops. A series of three workshops were offered to pick from to continue the day, including how to be a good intern, building your online brand, and entrepreneurship, though everyone in the room was tired after a long day. These workshops gave basic tips and tricks for building up your resume and how to excel in the work force. The biggest take away from the three workshops was to remember that social media is looked at and to maintain your image.
Overall, there was not too much you missed at the Career Readiness conference, but if you did attend, you hopefully gained some helpful tips. If you are struggling with what to do for your future or are looking for some guidance to future possibilities, make sure to reach out to your academic advisor and the office of career success!