Western grad Nils Housker vividly remembers the day he stepped foot in the Career Services office for the first time. As a veteran and non-traditional student, he knew he wanted to seek out all the resources on campus he could find while he was a student.
“I’ve never considered myself good at making a resume,” Housker said. “After I had a successful interview working on my resume with Career Services, I knew I’d want to seek their assistance in the future whenever I was looking for a new job.”
Housker was a student in the IT Systems Network Administration program – an industry that needs applicants to highlight their technical skills when applying for jobs.
A few years after he graduated in 2016, Housker decided to come back to Western’s Career Services to receive more help when he considered making a career change. In fact, Career Services are always available for past graduates of Western.
So in the spring of 2018 he showed his resume to Chris Magnuson, a Career Services advisor.
“She gave me an honest appraisal of my resume,” he said.
Like many others when searching for jobs, Housker was undervaluing the importance of his resume.
“Your resume is your marketing piece. It is meant to sell your skills to an employer,” Magnuson said. “In the first resume review I shared with Nil that he would definitely want to beef up his resume. I did not even see a list of his IT software and hardware skills on his resume and I felt that was vitally important.”
A big part of “beefing up” his resume was adding specific skills tailored to each job description – a key lesson several people ignore, according to Magnuson.
“I coached him to really pay attention to the job description itself and asked him if he had experience in a few different areas that were mentioned in the job posting,” she said.
Magnuson says several students come into their offices thinking they understand how to conduct a job search. In reality, it is a much different scenario.
“The biggest mistake students make is thinking that they already know how to do an effective job search, or believing they already know how to do a resume,” Magnuson said. “Many times what you may have learned in high school is either outdated, or just plain not accurate.”
Housker took Magnuson’s advice, and even brought it back for a second opinion. After making even more changes, Magnuson then gave tips on conducting a perfect interview.
Housker advises any past graduate to take advantage of all the services available, even following graduation. In the end, he landed the job!
“For people in my demographic group who are looking at changing careers or changing jobs within your career, Career Services is an amazing asset to utilize,” he said.
“Nils emailed me a week a week later and added in larger letters: ‘Thank you again for helping me make an awesome resume and preparing me for this process,’” Magnuson said.
For more information on Western’s Career Services, visit www.westerntc.edu/career-services.