Amy Dittmer ’97, MBA ’11 is the director of Career Services and Student Transition at William Woods University. After earning both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the university, she worked in the finance industry for several years. She now assists students in every step of their professional journey from the moment they set foot on campus. Recently, she sat down with Brittni Cebulak ’18 to answer 5 Questions
Q1: What does your job as the director of Career Services and Student Transition entail?
I am here to help students with everything from deciding what their major is going to be to searching for and applying for jobs and internships. I assist with all career preparation, including interview preparation. I can help with the creation of resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles, plus planning for the actual job and internship search itself. I’m here every step of the way from the moment students arrive on campus until they graduate and go off to their first job. I even still have alumni reach out to me for help when they’re changing jobs.
I’m here to support, help and advise every step of the way.
Q2: What resources does the Office of Career Services offer students?
Besides our experiences and advice, we subscribe to a career technology platform called Career Link by Purple Briefcase where we post all the opportunities sent to us and students apply for jobs and internships. Students can create a profile that highlights their experiences and their involvement here on campus. It’s a really good way for students to start marketing themselves as a new professional. There are also hundreds of career development videos that students can view at any time day or night. This helps reach our online students and those who are not on our main campus during normal business hours.
In addition, we also host Career-A-Palooza each fall, which is a series of LEAD events on things related to careers, such as building a resume, creating a cover letter, interviewing, or finding an internship. Our office also facilitates networking opportunities for our students during Career- Meet-Ups. We invite potential employers from each major to meet and even interview our students. We break it down and to a step-by-step process.
Q3: What is your role with incoming student move-in day and orientation?
That is the student transition part of my title. We spend months planning all of the orientation events, and am here welcoming and helping new students. Every event that we plan has a purpose to help students transition not only to college life, but to life at William Woods. We are on the frontlines during move-in day and all orientation events.
It’s actually my favorite day on campus because there’s such a happy, positive energy.
There are nerves, there’s excitement, there’s fear. But it’s great being able to say to new students: “You’re going to be okay. We’re here to help you. We’re here to support you. It’s going to be fine”. We get a lot of compliments from parents because we’re so welcoming. Overall, I think it’s just an all-around fun, energetic day.
Check out this video of what move-in day is like at William Woods.
Q4: What are some common mistakes that students make when applying for internships and jobs?
I think a lot of times students believe that it’s okay to have a resume that they are going to send to everyone. While this is definitely a strategy, I don’t know if it’s the best strategy. It is so important to tailor your resume to each job or internship that you’re applying for.
It’s also a mistake for students to automatically think that their first job out of college has to be their dream job that they’ll be at for a long time. It’s probably going to be entry-level. You have to start somewhere and get experience before moving on to your dream job later in the journey.
When I conduct mock interviews with students, they often worry that they’re bragging by talking about themselves. I tell them that this is the time to brag! You can do it in a professional way that highlights your strengths.
I also think it’s a mistake to not follow up during the process of applying for jobs. Following up after you submit a resume and after you have an interview is so important and sets you apart from the competition. Students are often in the mindset of “I don’t want to bother them,” but I tell them no one has never not gotten a job because they followed up too much. Follow up shows drive and initiative that every employer is looking for in every industry.
Q5: When should students start planning for their career after William Woods?
I tell students to start planning the minute they get on campus. Don’t wait until you’re a junior or senior. Some of them come in knowing exactly what they want to do and exactly what they want to major in, but it’s definitely a process. The sooner they meet with me, the sooner they get started, and the easier it is for us to fill in those holes. For example, a student might need more involvement, volunteer work, or another internship to build up their professional skills. If students come in as freshmen, we can discover those things then so that they’ll have time to fill those holes. Then, by the time they graduate, they’ve got solid experience and a well-rounded resume. I’m here every step of the way to advise and support through the whole process.
I also tell freshmen that they need to transition their resume. If they already have some type of high school resume, they now need to transition that into a college student resume, which is very different.
The Office of Career Services is here to help students — they just have to come to us. Students need to know that we are so much more than simply a place to have a resume reviewed. We are here to support, advise, and help them all along their journey.
The best feeling in the world is when students text, email, or pop in with the news…“I got the job!”. We are also here to celebrate those victories along the way.