Advice with a Slice

How to get a job

Four young professionals – three of whom formerly attended JCCC – gave advice to students about getting and keeping the jobs they really want.

The panel was part of “Advice with a Slice,” which promises both free pizza and free guidance to those who attend.

Below are some of the bits of wisdom from the panel.

“Know yourself better than you think you need to.”       – Ryan Deo

Deo studied creative writing at the University of Kansas before changing his focus to recording. After working in the music industry, he decided to attend JCCC to study graphic design. He currently is the art director at Premier Studios.

In an interview situation, Deo explained, employers will ask you questions about “situations that fall into the gray area, so you need to know what you would do in that situation,” he said.

“Always treat people with respect.”        – Katie Fanning

Fanning took credit classes at JCCC before working in retail management. She switched to banking and is now a personal banker at the US Bank location on the JCCC campus.

“We try to keep it fun (at work), but I work in a financial institution. I want you to trust us,” she said.

“Get out of your comfort zone. You really have to push yourself.”        – Brian Fleetwood

Fleetwood said he learned this lesson from life experience. As a student at the University of Kansas, he didn’t put forth his best effort and dropped out only 18 credits shy of graduating. After a stint as bar manager for two Lawrence, Kan., bars, he decided to return to college. He graduated with an associate’s degree from JCCC in 2010.

When Fleetwood was looking for jobs, he started out trying to downplay his early years. He realized that only by telling employers what he’d learned from his experiences would he be able to get the job he wanted.

“Get involved on campus…prepare for interviews…and don’t be afraid to follow up after the interview is over.”       – Cody Gray

Gray is recruiter for the Cerner Corporation, working with year-round apprentices, high school interns and candidates for entry-level positions. He said he checks resumes for involvement in clubs and activities, and he urges students to follow up after they’ve applied.

“Don’t just apply. If you can find the (interviewer) on LinkedIn, send him a note. There’s nothing wrong with following through,” he said.

In other kernels of wisdom, the panel shared:

  • Don’t download the resume template from Microsoft Word, and don’t use a downloaded cover letter. “We all know what you’re doing,” Deo said.
  • Double, triple and quadruple check your resume. “Your resume matters so much,” Fanning said.
  • Learn to work with other people.
  • Be professional in all types of business communication, including emails and texts.
  • Be confident, but not cocky. “If someone says they don’t have a weakness, I immediately lose interest. Everyone has a weakness, and if you say you don’t, you either don’t know yourself or you’re just far too cocky,” Fanning said.

“Advice with a Slice” was sponsored by the JCCC Career Development Center. Online job search tools and resources are available at http://www.jccc.edu/career-development/experience.html.