Professionals help students get hired

Kendall Aronson, Campus Carrier Asst. Arts & Living Editor

On Sept. 19, the Career Center hosted mock interviews on Berry’s campus to help students practice interviewing in a friendly and stress-free environment. The mock interviews were led by a former Berry alumnus, who offered compliments and constructive criticism to help students improve. They will be offering more of these sessions throughout the school year, as well as other events like etiquette dinners and networking workshops. 

The Career Center was established to help students become more prepared when applying for jobs and internships. Sue Tarpley, the director of the Career Center, helps to organize many events each year to help students feel more prepared to enter the job market.

“National research says that employers are looking for people who can communicate well, both in written and verbal formats,” Tarpley said. 

Interviewing for a job is a large part of the hiring process, so it is important that students practice for them.

“The interview is where your skills come to life, and they’re going to see if they like your personality,” Tarpley said. “First impressions are huge. Being able to demonstrate the type of person you are and being able to communicate that is a really good indicator of whether you’re going to be a person they want to hire.”

Tyler Gwynn, supervisor of human resources at Cobb County School District, recruits at Berry during some of the events they have on campus and hires teachers from Berry and elsewhere each year. How potential teachers conduct themselves in interviews is paramount in deciding who gets hired. 

“Teachers have to be supremely confident, especially at the higher levels, so I’m looking for a confident person with great personality,” Gwynn said. “After talking to principals all throughout the county, what they look for is passion for our client, which is our students.” 

Gwynn said that he is looking to be blown away by what drives teachers to be in a classroom during an interview. 

“If they can’t make me laugh and have a good time in the interview, they’re probably not going to be able to have a good time in the classroom,” Gwynn said. “And who wants to be in a teacher’s class who doesn’t have fun?”

Interviews are important for all professions. Eric Dougherty is the workforce manager at the Home Depot, which recruits at Berry. He looks for employees who can fit well into the team and who have the experience and skills to be relevant to that team. 

“Apply for what you are good at and what fits in your background,” Dougherty said. “So many resumes I look at and I disregard immediately because they’re applying for an analyst position and they only have worked in a department store selling shoes or something, and yeah I appreciate your ambition, but you don’t fit my needs.”

Dougherty said that preparation is the best thing applicants can do to make their interview better. 

“I like somebody who actually does research on the company,” Dougherty said. “It’s good to know the candidate did some homework and some research on the position itself.”

Tarpley says that practicing for interviews is so important in the success of the applicant. Just because a student has done one mock interview, does not mean they are prepared. 

Dougherty said it’s very important for interviewees to be very prepared in answering general interview questions. When an applicant has to think about it or stutters through an answer it presents a very disorganized person. 

“It’s easy to see who practiced a hundred times with somebody,” Dougherty said. “You can easily see the difference; it’s night and day in the [hiring] process.”

As a recruiter, Gwynn can easily notice differences in terms of preparation and also what kind of teaching program a school has. He says that Berry is very well known and well respected. 

“I love to recruit at Berry College,” Gwynn said. “The students are all very kind. They are all ready to go into the classroom.”

Before students can get to the interview though, potential employees need a good resume. Gwynn reads thousands of resumes each year. They all look the exact same, and they are boring. They all have the same objective, and great GPAs. He is looking for what really makes a candidate stand out. 

“A lot of the time I ask young candidates ‘What’s the one thing that separates you from the rest?’” Gwynn said. “Nine of ten times that thing is not even on the resume, or it’s at the very bottom or on the back in a bullet point. That makes no sense to me.”

Dougherty sees a lot of excess information on many resumes he looks at, such as a lot of descriptions of job duties. He prefers a few key notes and lets the conversation drive the rest. 

“I’d like some very high level bullet points that you can ask probing questions about and that you can actually speak to,” Dougherty said. 

The Career Center offers a lot of different tools to help students craft their resumes.

“Your resume should look towards the future and what you’re planning on doing,” Tarpley said. 

Tarpley says the job search is a lot more complicated and competitive than most students realize, so they should start early. Having someone there to help can eliminate a lot of the extra work or unnecessary steps of reaching goals. 

“Coming to the Career Center can help kickstart that process and move quicker than trying to figure it out on your own,” Tarpley said. 

In addition, the Career Center is there to help students build a resume, learn how to network, practice interviewing, connects students to industries and Berry alums and even craft an elevator speech. 

The Career Center is open from 8-5 p.m. on weekdays. 

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