The Belk Professional Development Center presented its annual Career and Graduate School Suite Sept. 24-27. This event allows students to meet with representatives from various career fields and graduate schools to learn about opportunities available to them. The week of events kicked off Monday, Sept. 24, with a panel discussion that included Dr. Charlie Fairchild, national accounts manager at General Electric and a Saint Augustine’s University Board of Trustees member; Travis Davis, a recruitment specialist for the N.C. Department of Transportation; Trevin Jackson, manager of Alumni Relations and Reporting for WEBD, an organization that provides career development training to students; and Nicolas Lilley, a Saint Augustine’s University graduate and agent with Nationwide Insurance. Panelists offered advice based on their experience in the workforce. Fairchild opened the discussion by sharing her journey with students.
She told them that drive and broad interests will be what propels them forward in their careers. “I was a terrible student, but what I had was a sparkle in my eye,” Fairchild said. “Even being smart is not good enough. You have to be more well-rounded.” All the panelists spoke about the often-touted career advice, including the importance of being on time or early for interviews, having a strong handshake and presenting yourself professionally in dress and demeanor. But, they also discussed the unspoken rules they’ve learned on the job. It’s important, the panelists said, to make the best of relationships, always be grateful and to always go beyond the call of duty. “When you can go that extra mile, go that extra mile,” Fairchild said. “First impressions mean everything, and that is the main thing,” said Kayla Cohen, the panel moderator and a sophomore majoring in political science. “Your first 10 words and your first handshake is what will get them to remember you.”
When asked about the success of the event, Nichole Lewis, director of the Belk Professional Center said, ““The success this week speaks to the power of team work and working until it’s done. By partnering with the Office of Academic Affairs, deans and faculty were more engaged in the process and students knew to expect to attend. This was a new format and there were times when it was doubtful it would be as well received as it was. In reality, this was marketing one on one. Listen to and assess your customers needs (employers and graduate admissions recruiters) and present them with a product (students in targeted majors), in an environment that is easy to access. I am thrilled with the opportunity the Belk Professional Development Center was given to showcase that this is truly more than just a name change!” Click here to view photos from the week.
Photo Caption: Dr. Charlie Fairchild, national accounts manager at General Electric and a Saint Augustine’s University Board of Trustees member addressing students.