Preparing students for the future

Jenny Rohl/The News Ross Meloan, director of Career Services, sits down with Ben King, freshman from Fairview Heights, Ill., to discuss internship options.
Jenny Rohl/The News Ross Meloan, director of Career Services, sits down with Ben King, freshman from Fairview Heights, Ill., to discuss internship options.

Jenny Rohl/The News
Ross Meloan, director of Career Services, sits down with Ben King, freshman from Fairview Heights, Ill., to discuss internship options.

Career Services may have a new counselor to aid students’ job hunt, but the advice remains the same: it never hurts to ask for help.

Kim Crouch, the newest career counselor to Career Services, has only been on the job for three weeks, but is well-versed in the hiring process.

After graduating from Murray State, Crouch worked for 10 years as a recruiter at the University of Louisville before switching to retail. She worked in recruiting employment applications for Victoria’s Secret and staffing firms, where she gathered firsthand knowledge on what employers are looking for in applicants.

“I’ve hired for firms across the market,” Crouch said. “I’ve hired for positions from entry-level jobs to mid-level jobs and even a few CEOs. I know what they like to see.”

Crouch said she noticed students look at Career Services as a last minute thought for graduating seniors.

“We’re so much more than that,” Crouch said. “We’re here as a resource for jobs, internships and grad school. Everything needs a resume nowadays. We can help with that.”

Career Services helps students with resumes, cover letters, practicing for interviews and giving feedback.

Crouch said students frequently come into the office looking for guidance on careers and internships. She sends students without an idea of where to start to the Career Services website. The site has links to guide students through the process of writing a resume and cover letter.

It also has links titled “find a full-time job” and “find an internship,” which link to job search tips, interview tips and even how to spot a fraudulent job posting.

The website also has advice and links to tests that help undecided students figure out what major they may want to choose.

Career Services offers a hard copy of the Career Handbook for free. Students can get a copy in the Career Services Office, located in Oakley Applied Science Building. The handbook has 36 pages of information, along with a resume-writing thesaurus.

The thesaurus is a list of action verbs applicants can substitute in place of boring, non-descriptive words like “worked” and “helped.” Crouch said those words are popular among first-time resume writers.

“It helps students take their real life skills and translate them into something that will attract a potential employer,” Crouch said.

Katie Mantooth, Career Services counselor with a focus on internships, said the usefulness of the information offered online and in the handbook depends on the need of the student.

Freshmen and sophomores will look more toward the tips on picking a major and selecting a career path for that major. Juniors and seniors will likely be more interested in tailoring that career path even more to their needs.

For students across the board, resumes and cover letters are important.

“Helping a student effectively market their past successes and experience through a strong resume or cover letter is important,” Mantooth said. “Just about any 22-year-old can pull up a Word template and make a resume and attach it to 100 jobs posted on Monster. We can help students personalize their search and be more effective.”

Career Services also counsels alumni who have experienced a shift in their career path. Crouch said alumni return after they are laid off, lose their job or want to try a different avenue.

“The market has changed since they last applied for jobs,” Crouch said. “Everything is online now. We send them online first. The resources are there.”

Crouch said she has a good understanding of how to help students find jobs and excel in interviews, but she is new to helping with graduate school applicants.

Career Services has walk-in hours for students Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2-3:30 p.m. Appointments can be made by calling 270-809-3735.

Story by Amanda Grau, Assistant News Editor