January 26, 2016 | 9 a.m.
By Monique Kleinhuizen '08
Post-college plans likely cross the minds of undergraduate students—and their parents--more often than they care to admit. We talked to Dave Broza ’80, GS’07, director of Bethel’s Office of Career Development and Calling, about trends in the job market, when students should start thinking about life after graduation, and some of the resources available.
Office of Career Development and Calling…What is “calling”?
God uniquely wires us to be attracted to and excel in certain types of roles. We’ve all experienced feeling well-suited—or not at all suited—for a particular role. In the Bible, Joseph was called to several different “positions” during his life, and God used him well in each of them. I have found fulfillment as a swimming instructor, in construction, human resources, student career development, and even as a musician in my band. I’ve found I can worship God even when I’m having a less-than-enjoyable day at work. We can and should worship God through our work, because ultimately He’s designed us to worship Him in the various roles and activities in which we participate.
What does a typical day look like in the Office of Career Development and Calling?
We love to help people think about and plan their careers, from discovering their God-given gifts and how these gifts can be used to serve others, to what it might look like to live out their “calling” and putting together action plans to help get them there. Typical days have us meeting with and providing resources to individual students and alumni, presenting to classes on campus, or collaborating with campus partners to determine the best way to help students successfully and efficiently find meaningful service after Bethel.
What should today's undergraduate students and their parents know about the job market?
We’re in a good job market compared to a few years ago, though some fields are stronger than others. The most desirable jobs are often found in the “hidden” job market. People tend to look for positions that are posted online or on public job boards, and there’s nothing wrong with that. (In fact, we can help!) But the most successful job seekers rely on relationships to guide them. Let’s go back to Joseph: He had a cupbearer who basically recommended him for a position with the Pharaoh. Our office is in the business of teaching our students how to identify “cupbearers” in their own lives, to lean on others who know them well and are connected in their intended field, and to guide them toward potential job openings.
How (and when) should undergraduate students start thinking about life after Bethel?
Now! That’s always my answer, because no matter whether students know exactly what they want do in the future or—more likely—have no clue, they can do things now in an intentional manner that will help prepare them for their future. If students seriously consider their potential future roles, they will easily see that future employers and schools desire them to have attributes and skills that match employers’ needs. Consequently, if students can acknowledge those needs now, they can take steps to better display their own values and skills. For instance, if a desirable future employer wants people with strong collaborative skills, a student could seek out activities (i.e., group projects, involvement in team sports, volunteering opportunities) as a student at Bethel—that will help them down the road.
How can parents help?
We're committed to assisting families with the career planning process. Our professional career specialists are here to help students learn about themselves and the world of work, better understand vocation and their unique calling, and develop lifelong career decision-making skills. Parent and supporters can help by becoming familiar with our services and encouraging students to take advantage of what we offer. We've put together some resources just for parents to help them learn about the career development process and how to support their student along the way. Have questions? Want to hire a Bethel student or post a job on our board? Contact us or drop by sometime. We’d love to hear from you!