PACES workshop provides job resources

GVL / Emily Frye
Professor Jason Yancey

GVL / Emily Frye Professor Jason Yancey

Constance Turnbull

Grand Valley State University’s professional development program (PACES) held a daylong, job hunting workshop on March 14. The workshop, which instructed graduate students on how to find a job in today’s economy, helped students with social media, resumes, cover letters, etiquette and interviews.

The workshop was designed to help graduate students navigate a successful job search. Throughout the day, students were given to the opportunity to hear from speakers representing Fifth Third Bank, Michigan Works and GVSU staff.

In addition to the individual talks, the program offered the graduate students attending the workshop a chance to have their resumes reviewed.

Tom Brown, an employee from Fifth Third Bank, explained how social media can impact a job search. During his discussion, Brown showed that employers are likely to look up candidates on social media before making a decision on hiring. Brown specifically singled out Twitter as a form of social media that can be destructive to a job search.

“Use your social media wisely,” he said. “You never know who is going to see your posts. Tweet things from your resume. Retweet things that are going to reflect your best side. Present yourself as somebody worth hiring.”

Heather De Nio from Michigan Works gave a talk on resumes, cover letters and how to perform well in an interview. She offered technical help on how to present the best possible resume and explained what should and should not be put on professional documents. De Nio said each resume is candidate specific, and she urged students to find out what works best for their particular situation.

Associate Dean of Graduate Studies John Stevenson gave students tips on how to negotiate contracts, especially salaries. Stevenson said students should prepared to ask tough questions.

“Don’t be afraid to do a little negotiation,” he said. “Look up the salary range of the job you are interviewing for.”

Stevenson ended the workshop by giving a talk on the future, urging students to keep their eye on their five-year plan and to always be aware of what may be next.

Graduate student Brent Showerman facilitated the event and worked with the different speakers and Stevenson to ensure that the students received the best possible tutorial.

Showerman has worked with PACES for some time, explaining that it is a development workshop series that is facilitated by the Office of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Student Association.

Over the academic year, there are eight or nine total workshops on various topics that are applicable to graduate students.

“Workshops can have up to 30 participating students,” Showerman said. “The job hunting workshop had 25, which was a great turnout. Overall, we have had great feedback – not only for this event, but for the others that we have put on throughout the year.”

Showerman recommended that all graduate students, especially those seeking imminent employment, take the time to attend at least some of the PACES workshops.

“PACES is a great way to learn all aspects of professional life,” he said. “We do things from learning how to get a mentor, through navigating diversity in the workplace, to advising about debt management. It’s all those little things that you will need to know from people who have been through the same situation. This is why we have professionals who come in to tell us what we will experience and what you will have to do when you get out into the world to be able to navigate your job field successfully.”

The final PACES event of the year is a hands-on event that will take place on April 18 at a golf course, showing students how to survive a golf outing in the work environment. Although most PACES workshops are free for graduate students, the golf event will cost $25, which includes lunch and golf expenses.

To find out more about the PACE program or to sign up for the upcoming golf outing, visit