Brittany Stewart and Jami-Lynn Coughler have a knack for doling out career advice.
As just two of the students blogging as senior career assistants for Career Services, they’ve offered insight into acing a job interview on Skype, getting the most out of summer jobs, navigating the job market and how to de-stress after work.
As part of a team of writers putting fingers to keyboard over the past two years the blog has existed, they’ve garnered quite the following with their anecdotes and perspectives on being young and looking for work.
Think 21,000 page views this past year alone, with hits from Ukraine, France, Germany and the U.S.
“People like it because it’s an authentic peer-to-peer connection,” said Kara Renaud, Career Services’ resource co-ordinator and faculty liaison.
And then there was one site visit from Moore, Oklahoma, home base for Jessica Miller-Merrell, author, human resources professional and publisher of Blogging4Jobs.com, which Forbes Magazine named a top career site for job seekers. (Miller-Merrell’s home is located one block from where a F5 tornado tore through the town on May 20. Her home and family are fine, she says).
Miller-Merrell was so impressed with the efforts of Brock’s Career Services bloggers, she put the site on her published list of “10 Simply Awesome College and University Career Service Blogs.”
Brock joins the likes of Harvard, Dartmouth, Tufts and the University of Pennsylvania on Miller-Merrell’s list.
“I love blogs that are professional, that have a real personality and voice,” she wrote about Brock’s site. “This one does. You can tell that the team at Brock cares about their student population, which makes for an engaged employer population and well-prepared college grads.”
It’s an honour that has the department “ecstatic,” Renaud said, and has validated the hours students have spent on the site.
“I was very emotional about (the recognition) because I invested so much of myself in this blog and with a personal touch,” said Stewart, who graduates next month and has passed the writing reins for the upcoming school year to Coughler and three other new bloggers.
Coughler added she’s honoured to have the chance to “continue the legacy” of writing relevant posts for career-minded students.
In an email interview, Miller-Merrell said she found Brock’s career services blog through crowdsourcing friends and on social media. The blog’s familiar tone and student authors are what made it stand out.
“Your blog and the information (it’s) packed with (is) great but it’s not stuffy and so formal that would keep your student and college grad audience away,” Miller-Merrell said. “I like that students are sharing insights on the blog versus just strictly career services staff. This is unique.”
It also lends the site credibility with readers, she noted.
“By taking a resource-based, peer approach for your blog, you are talking with your audience not at them,” she explained. “It’s the difference between your mom telling you to clean your room and your aunt suggesting that you clean your room. Generally, the latter gets better results.”
The key to Brock’s success also seems to be maintaining a regular editorial schedule, writing posts once or twice a week with information relevant to the time of year. Right now, with a new class of graduates ready to embark on their careers, Coughler and crew are drafting posts to help them along the way.
The bloggers also get post ideas from the keywords visitors use in their web searches that lead them to the Career Services blog.
Using a blog is effective, Renaud noted, because it gets information to students who might otherwise never tap into the resources Career Services offers.
“This is one way of reaching students from home, from random Google searches,” she said.