Hannibal Career and Technical Center (HCTC) students received advice on the path to interview and career success during Gov. Mike Parson's Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG) pilot program on Friday — a partnership that consisted of Northeast Missouri Society for Human Resource Management, Douglass Community Services and Hannibal Career Technical Center.
Seniors Kylie Muehring, Issac Phillips, Jacob Begley and Claire Thomas set down their resumes and took a seat to talk with Dana Keller, executive director with GAMM, Inc., Bob Pickering, human resources director at Continental Cement, and Nicole Martin, youth services director with Douglass Community Services. The students learned aspects of creating a standout resume and conducting a successful job interview. On Monday, the students will apply what they learned through mock interviews.
Kylie plans to pursue a career in education and enroll in Moberly Area Community College's online program. She looks forward to service in action opportunities at middle schools and high schools as she studies for her degree. She said the day's experience will give her an edge during future interviews.
"I've never really participated in an interview. In my job, I never had an interview, so I'm interested in... what I should expect," she said.
Issac agreed that the experience was a help for his career path leading to studies about heavy equipment technology at State Technical College.
"I'm really looking forward to figuring out how to do an interview and preparing myself for a job in that kind of field," he said.
Keller, Martin and Pickering took turns sharing their career paths, offering information and critiques of the students' resumes as they asked questions about interview skills.
Keller reminded the students that each resume and cover letter should be tailored to the specific job they seek. Martin said it's important to research a firm to learn about things like the work culture and employee expectations. Pickering also recommended leading off the resume with where they went to school and what they learned that would apply to the position they desire.
Issac asked about things students should avoid on their resume.
"Don't sell yourself short," Martin said.
Pickering agreed but also cautioned the students not to oversell themselves with false accomplishments or accolades.
With mock interviews just around the corner, Jacob asked what he could do to achieve success. Pickering recommended arriving 10-15 minutes early, maintaining a good posture and not hesitating to ask for help if a question is unclear. Keller stressed that it's normal to for an interviewee to be nervous — interviewers feel a sense of nervousness as well when they are selecting a new hire — and moments of silence are OK. Martin said students can practice speaking calmly and clearly in front of a mirror.
Each student received advice on how to improve their resumes. Keller said that each resume was high-quality and reflected the students' different traits. Martin agreed that the students were making progress by participating in the JAG program and taking a proactive approach to their futures.
"I think you are all off to a really good start," she said.