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Job Shadowing Offers Students The Looking-Glass Into Careers

Valley’s Career/Transfer Center offers sound advice and essential opportunities with job workshops.

By Edythe Smith | Staff Writer
On March 1, 2012

The Career/Transfer Center at Valley College    held    its first Groundhog Job Shadow Day workshop of the semester last week, allowing students to gain hands-on experience in various fields and assess their academic preparation.

The workshop was offered to students at 1p.m. and 5p.m. inside the Student Services Annex as part of the World Placement Program, sponsored by Junior Achievement. Ten stu- dents sat and listened to Clive Gordon, director of the Career Center, give practical advice on job seeking, first impressions, and finding a fitting career goal. One of the key things he stressed was the importance of being presentable and professional.

"Studies have shown that up to 80 percent of employees have an idea of whether or not you might be a good fit within the first 30 seconds," said Gordon.

Students were asked to fill out forms before the workshop began to help place them with the most suitable seminar. A few students returned from last semester, including Elisa Thrash, an accounting major who wants to find other jobs that suit her major. "You get to talk to someone working in the field," said Thrash. "I can see what I have to look forward to and compare the differences of fields in a realistic view."

Gordon asked the students to be as specific as possible when describing the type of position they wanted to shadow. He then asked students to intro- duce themselves and state that position.

Occupations ranged from mortician and heart surgeon to astrophysicist and water specialist.

Accompanying Gordon was Faviolla Soria, an intern from California Lutheran University. Soria is a counselor for the cen- ter and helps place students on and off campus. Together, they performed several "greeting skits," designed to give students tangible examples of good and bad interviews. Gordon noted a few things that are essential: a firm, brief and dry handshake; eye contact; and speaking in a confident way that shows your personality. Following each skit, the students were asked to critique each example and per- form their own.

The workshop moved onto other items: questions to ask a future employer; dressing pro- fessionally and conservatively for an interview; arriving early and, when possible, visiting the job site prior to your scheduled interview.

Certain miscellaneous points were addressed toward the close of the workshop. Gordon reminded students that the chance to shadow someone in the field is not a job; there- fore, they should not request an application. He also spoke of good days to make an appointment and informed students that they should list two preferences in the event that those partici- pating in the program could not secure the first choice. Last, students were told to collect business cards and promptly send a thank-you letter to the host.

Thursday's was the first of four scheduled orientations for the semester, while the second was held yesterday. The next orientation is Thursday, March 8 at 1 p.m. or 5 p.m. Orientations last one hour and are held in the Career/Transfer Center in the Student Servces Annex. Visit the Annex to reserve a spot or call (818) 947-2646.

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