“What Employers Want” Workshop advises students on impressing employers

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“What Employers Want” Workshop advises students on impressing employers

Ben Wheeler, Online/Social Media Manager

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The latest “What Employers Want” Workshop took place on May 14 in Samuelson 103, where CWU Career Services Employer Outreach Liaison Bruce Simpson ran an interactive presentation with a nearly full classroom as the audience. Simpson’s presentation during the workshop was centered around creating awareness for students on what both employers are looking for in terms of experience in and out of the classroom, as well as how students present that experience in the interview process. Simpson runs the workshop twice a quarter.

Simpson opened the presentation by talking about traits that employers are seeking, regardless of a student’s academic major. Simpson outlined these traits as including grit, professionalism, ownership and rigor. The presentation outlined grit and rigor as being born from working in a thorough, challenging environment, while professionalism and ownership are more attached to how you handle yourself with regards to your job and the work environment that it entails.

Simpson later said that even if you lack the experience listed in a job’s criteria, you should still apply for that job.  According to the presentation, including experience in a job’s criteria is more of a “weed-out” strategy for companies than anything else, meaning that many employers will still hire quality workers that may be inexperienced. This is where developing and showcasing the previously mentioned traits may help you impress employers, even if you lack the requested experience, according to Simpson.

Simpson then moved on to talk about the importance of taking internships, even if your major doesn’t require one, as well as being familiar with the STAR method in interviews. STAR is an acronym for situation, which is setting the scene for your example. Next is task, or what what your responsibility was. This is followed by action, meaning the steps you took to address the situation. Last is the result, regarding the outcomes your action achieved. Employers like to use the STAR method since it causes the interviewee to describe a time when their skills, work ethic and knowledge proved beneficial, as opposed to the interviewee simply stating that they have a solid work ethic, skills or knowledge in a certain area.

Simpson concluded the workshop by allowing students in attendance to partner up and conduct mock interviews that followed the STAR method, which gave students an understanding of what the method could look like in a future interview. Simpson then had students share their partners response to the rest of the group, which he hoped would showcase examples that would act as guides for pleasing potential employers.

“Your degree and grades only go so far,” Simpson said. “All the other stuff really matters.”

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