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Sunday, Dec 5, 2021

How the Center for Career and Professional Development helps students find jobs in a pandemic

Mercer's Center for Career Services and Professional Development is located on the third floor of the Connell Student Center. Archived photo from The Cluster staff.
Mercer's Center for Career Services and Professional Development is located on the third floor of the Connell Student Center. Archived photo from The Cluster staff.

COVID-19 has not stopped Mercer’s Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) from serving students daily through virtual coaching and counseling.

CCPD Executive Director Kim Meredith, a “double bear” who earned both her B.A. in service learning and her M.S. in community counseling, has worked at Mercer for 24 years. Meredith has spent 15 of those years in the CCPD. Not only does she serve as director, Meredith also serves as a one-on-one career advisor for students.

“Our number-one requested service is resume assistance,” Meredith said. “It is what brings a lot of students our way. We are resume experts, however, the resume conversation alludes into many other career services topics.”

Meredith said most students come for the resume help, but stay for help with many of the other lesser-known facets of the modern job hunt.

“I don’t mean to minimize the resume, it certainly plays a big role, but I have to tell students all the time that is your marketing collateral, and that is one piece of a competitive and modern job search,” Meredith said.

Meredith said the best way to schedule and get in touch with the CCPD is through what she called a “hidden gem,” and the “premier campus recruiting tool in the nation:” Handshake.

“My best advice is to more fully leverage Handshake,” Meredith said. “I can’t tell you how many jobs and internships and employers we are approving daily.”

Since Aug.1, Meredith reported that the CCPD has approved 673 new employers to provide Mercerians opportunities for jobs and internships to pad out their professional portfolios. But despite the wealth of opportunities, Meredith said she thinks Handshake is underused by Mercer’s students.

“There’s just a ton of opportunities in Handshake, and I think so many dormant accounts are out there with students because they haven’t logged in. They haven’t seen the value of it yet,” she said.

One student who has taken advantage of both the CCPD and Handshake is Hailey Christian, a senior majoring in public health. Christian met with the CCPD during her sophomore year and realized she wanted to not only change majors, but schools. As a result, Christian transitioned from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to the College of Health Professions.

“There is nothing to be nervous about. They’re here to help you, and they want you to succeed,” Christian said. “You might be nervous the first time, because you might be confused on, say, if you’re trying to figure out what your major is, but it’s a very open space that you can say whatever you want, and they’ll be understanding about wherever you are on your journey.”


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