Every Tuesday from 6-8 p.m., the Career Education Office’s two Career Mentors transform the couches by the laptop kiosk on the third floor of the Athenaeum into a dedicated work space for students to come work on specific career-minded tasks. Called the Resume and Cover Letter Lounge, it is run almost exclusively by the CEO’s own Career Mentors: Elizabeth Tran, ‘19 and Alex Steitz, ‘21.
Tran explained to me that this Lounge space has been in the works since last fall, when the CEO (formerly the Career Development Office) organized student focus groups asking questions such as “What are you coming to the office looking for, and what suggestions do you have for improving the office?” Tran continued by mentioning that lots of students requested an “approachable” space outside the standard 9-5 work day where they could workshop their resumes and cover letters. This formed the basis of the Lounge as a weekly space.
By starting the Lounge at 6 p.m., Tran hopes that students who have classes all day and have limited time to designate for career searching can come get suggestions on their resumes and cover letters at a time that works for them.
Steitz echoed this idea, emphasizing that “[s]tudents can bring drafts of their resumes and cover letters. If they don’t have a draft and want to start from scratch, that’s okay! It’s helpful if they can bring a laptop.”
Jenn Leard, the Associate Director of Career Advising & Student Engagement in the CEO, also added that “the Lounge provides a low-key space for students to create, workshop, and get real-time feedback on their resume and cover letter materials. The Lounge also, as we have heard from multiple students who have already attended, provides accountability and support.”
When asked about his goal for the Lounge, Steitz replied, “My goal is for students to have stronger resumes and cover letters after coming to the Lounge. More importantly, we’re working to teach students skills, build their confidence, and give them a greater understanding of what makes an effective resume/cover letter. I want to prepare students to continue to strengthen their applications in the future when we aren’t there.”
Part of this, Tran suggested, could involve expanding the types of writing that the Lounge will focus on in the future. This gets a little bit tricky, Tran points out, because they don’t want to create overlap between what what the Career Mentors do and what Career Counselors at the CEO do. Steitz enforced this idea by emphasizing that “[w]e can’t help with personal statements. Students who need help with that can make appointments in Goucher Recruit to meet with a Career Counselor.” Tran also mentioned that if a student comes to the Lounge looking for help with finding an internship or any other CEO-related question, the Career Mentors are more than happy to give them resources or point them towards a specific Career Counselor.
Steitz ended by saying, “So many students express being terrified of applying for jobs, internships, and graduate school. If that’s you, it’s okay! It can be scary! But hopefully we can make it less scary by showing you that you’re not alone in those feelings and we can give you tools to overcome that. No one is born knowing this stuff; it takes time, so don’t feel bad if the process seems daunting and unfamiliar. We’re excited to help you learn!”
Want to stay involved with the CEO or the HUB (which includes the Offices of International Studies and Community-Based Learning)? Tran suggested checking out any of the following events:
- Tuesday: Tea Time from 3:30-4:30 p.m.
- Friday: Coffee Chats from 9:30-11:30 a.m.
- Friday: Open Studios from 2-4 p.m.
See you there!