Series Prepares Students for Life After College

The Backpacks to Briefcase series, a collection of workshops and events focused on the transition to life after college, is taking place throughout the spring semester. Organized by Director of the Career Center Sam Rodriguez and HNU Experience Coordinator Andrea Melrose Guimaraes, series topics range from writing a strong resume, to managing finances, to finding a place to live.

Assistant Director of Housing and Residence Life Justin Vacca and Melrose Guimaraes led the My First Place workshop on April 1, which they designed to address issues students have in renting their first apartments. They covered rental searches, lease agreements, renters’ rights, and money matters, such as household budgets and deposits.

“Our students are unclear about what their rights are in terms of … need(ing) 24-hour notice before a landlord enters their apartments, what their rights are in terms of contracts, … what are reasonable first and last month’s rent,” Melrose Guimaraes said. “I think a lot of our students don’t have that knowledge because it is a new process for them—so (the workshop is important for) making sure that they’re … looking at their contract, and they’re asking good questions, and they’re doing comprehensive walkthroughs.”

Several workshops have focused on career development, teaching students strategies for developing effective resumes and cover letters, using social media for employment opportunities, and conducting successful job searches. The February 19 workshop featured Judson Walsh, the director of business development for the San Francisco Business Times, who discussed utilizing local market information to identify prospective employers, job leads, and networking opportunities.

Three forthcoming events continue the series’ emphasis on professional development. The Destination Law School Diversity Panel will take place on April 9 and feature a number of practicing lawyers who will speak on overcoming adversity and their educational experiences. On April 15, students will have the opportunity to talk with numerous employers at the Career Fair. That evening, the Etiquette Dinner will provide guidance to students on the basic skills of business communication. The event, which will include a presentation by Manager of College Recruiting and Training for Northern California Greg Clefisch from Southern Wine & Spirits, is being organized with the assistance of Frances Renty Williams, director of alumnae/i relations at HNU.

“It’s important for graduating students to plan and prepare for their next steps after graduation,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve invited speakers to talk about the job search and how to plan it strategically.” The Career Fair and Etiquette Dinner are signature events that provide networking opportunities and help students with their transition from college to work, he added.

Additional workshops included two financial planning sessions led by Nikki Beasley, branch manager of Citibank in Oakland, who talked to students about saving money and getting out of debt.

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