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More than 400 undergraduate students attended the fifth annual Project Ex on October 25. (Photo Credit: Kurt Jarvi ’18 photographer/videographer)

“You’re here at Bethel, this amazing institution, spending thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours on your way to a career…that you could, eventually, hate,” said career and life coach Lynne Raatz GS’16.

Amidst nervous laughter, Raatz shared a statistic from a recent Gallup poll that found a staggering percentage of those in the American workforce admit they are either indifferent about or hate their work. “But, I have great news for you,” she said. “Life in the workforce doesn’t have to be filled with drudgery. You can find fulfilling, meaningful, and satisfying work.”

She was addressing 401 professionally-dressed undergraduate students who filled Benson Great Hall on the morning of October 25. It was Advising Day, a mid-semester Wednesday off of classes, traditionally set aside for selecting courses and discussing career goals with students’ academic advisors. This fall, though, the day was dedicated to the Fifth annual Project Ex conference sponsored by Bethel’s Department of Business and Economics.

Raatz shared about her own winding career path, which took her from dreaming about an equine-related career to majoring in history at a Christian, liberal arts college to an internship at the White House and becoming an active duty Army officer. After a few major shifts in her personal life, she was a stay-at-home mom of three boys taking night classes in Bethel’s Master of Arts in Strategic Leadership program. Now she’s the owner of a coaching and consulting company, specializing in helping others discover their life purpose, set goals, and manage their careers. Most recently, Raatz has begun working with GiANT Worldwide, an industry leader in leadership training and development. From the platform at Project Ex, she encouraged students with one piece of advice she wished she had been given early in her career, and one that she gives the countless professionals she works with.

“Make God-guided choices. God-guided choices are far better than good choices,” Raatz said, explaining three ways students can achieve that approach in their own career journeys. “Know God. Intimately, personally, not just academically. Know yourself and how God’s wired you. He’s placed you on this earth, at this time, with specific gifts and talents—for a specific, special reason. And finally, know no limits.” She encouraged students to find mentors, take advantage of faculty advising and career development resources on campus, and to be bold and sure as they step into the careers God has for them.

Following the opening session, students were encouraged to attend breakout sessions designed to give them more practical skills and resources specific to their year in college and stage of their job search. Breakout sessions—with a variety of Bethel staff and faculty, alumni, and industry leaders—included:

  • How to Make the Most of Your College Years
  • What Can I Do With a Business/Economics Degree?
  • What Can I Do With an Arts and Humanities Degree?
  • Building Your Brand by Developing Workplace Skills
  • All the World's a Stage: No Matter What Your Major
  • Networking or Notworking
  • How to Attend a Job Fair
  • How to Make the Most of Your Business and Economics Internship Experience
  • How to Make the Most of Your Internship Experience (For Non-Business Majors)
  • Sticky Situations: Difficult Conversations in the Workplace
  • The Big Transition: College to Career
  • Bringing Your Whole Self to Work
  • Negotiating My First Job Offer
  • How to Spend Your Paycheck

The day concluded with a two-hour job and internship fair featuring over 30 employers, several of whom were offering immediate, on-campus interviews.

Learn more about Bethel’s Department of Business and Economics, or Career Development and Calling resources geared toward helping students focus their career goals and find meaningful work after Bethel.

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