Success Story | Leah Martin, Youth Studies
How did you learn about your current position?
I learned about my current position through the job postings on the U of M's Student Employment Website. The Student Office Assistant position appealed to me because I had taken a Career and Major Exploration class with a career counselor my freshman year and had found it very helpful. It was an office that I felt was a positive resource for students, and I wanted to be a part of it.
Describe your position.
I work in the Career Services Center for CLA, CEHD, and CDES as a Student Office Assistant. My job is multifaceted. On the surface, it may look like I simply answer the phone, schedule appointments, and grab resumes from the printer. Though I do all of those things, my main job is to be the first point of contact when a student walks into the Career Center. It is my job to ask good questions so that I can figure out where the student needs help, so I can get them the resources and services that will most benefit them.
What do you most enjoy about your position? What are some of the challenges?
Something I enjoy in my work, are the interactions I get to have with the students. There is a great satisfaction that comes with leading students to resources, organizations, and programs that fit their needs. Being a person who is passionate about working with people, it is hard sometimes to sit behind my desk to do some of the more tedious tasks, but the face time I do have with students, makes the boring parts worth it.
Another thing I love about my job is the sense of community at the Career Services Center. My supervisor Juan is a great example of someone who builds community. He and all of the Career Services employees, genuinely want to know the student workers' hopes and dreams for their future. They value our input and are invested in helping us grow in our position, and more importantly in our lives outside our work there. Coming from other positions where supervisors were disengaged and uninvested, it was wonderful coming to work knowing Juan wouldn't just let me coast through my job. He pushes me to get the most out of the position.
How does your position fit with your long term career goals?
Youth work is one of my passions. Long term, I see myself developing and enhancing programming for organizations such as camps, non-profits, or schools. The skills I have learned while working for the Career Center are definitely transferable to my future jobs. What this job has taught me about time management, asking thoughtful questions, and always looking for what I can improve will stick with me in whatever job I take. Having worked here, I have also developed a much better understanding of how to form resumes, interview effectively, and actively search for jobs. These are tools that make me confident for the post graduation job search.
During your job search, how did you make yourself stand out?
While forming my resume and preparing for my interview I made sure to think of work and volunteering experiences I had that really fit the job I was applying for. I had a lot of volunteer experience, but I think what made me the best fit for the job was that I really understood the goals of the Career Center and how I fit into what they do. I was able to express that understanding eloquently and passionately, which made me stand out in my interview.
What did you find to be the most helpful during your search process?
Something that helped in my job search and continues to help, is using the resources available to me. I took the connections I had made with professors and past bosses and used them to point me in the direction of jobs. I had friends, professionals, and peer advisors look over my resume before I sent it out. There are so many people who are willing to help you in your job search. All you have to do is ask.
Do you have any tips to share with other students about your experience?
Look for a job you can be passionate about. Or at least, look for an organization you can be passionate about. I would not be able to do my job as wholeheartedly if I did not believe that the students were really benefitting from the Career Services Center.