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BPC: So Much to Offer!

September 25, 2017, Franchesca Alejo

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The process of getting a professional job after college can evoke feelings of confusion and uncertainty within many students.

“What should I wear?”

“How should my résumé look?”

“What does a potential employer need to know about me in an interview?”

“What is the correct way to greet someone you meet in a professional setting?”

It’s easy for students to get consumed with questions such as these when they launch their job search process. The reality is, after years of job-tailored education, many people still feel apprehensive about the decisions involved in the interview process and the creation of a professional image.

The SIU College of Business has developed an entire department, the Business Placement Center (BPC), whose sole mission is to alleviate these concerns and prepare students for business careers. Some of the services the BPC offers include: internship application help, résumé critiques, interview preparation and an entire closet of professional clothes students can borrow for professional events and interviews. 

“Here, we take a ‘whatever it takes’ approach to working with students,” Danna Lewis, director of the BPC, said. “We partner with students to evaluate what their needs are so we can make a plan to help them reach their goals.”

BPC employees work hard to connect students to professionals in their desired fields.

 “If a student has a specific area he or she wants to work in, we will reach out to alumni in that area to help them make connections in that community,” Lewis said.

This, in effect, helps students get a better sense of what it takes to do what they want to do and enables them to ask professionals questions they have about their future careers.

The BPC is always evolving in order to better serve students. The center added the Career Closet last year so students who may have a professional interview or event can borrow proper attire and they do not miss out on an opportunity. The closet has already received donations of more than 800 items! The collection includes suits of all sizes, shoes, handbags, portfolios and even cologne and perfume samples for men and women. CoB students may rent pieces for up to one week. The center handles the dry cleaning. To reward students who are successful in the interview process, the BPC allows students who are offered a job to keep the suit they interviewed in.

But that’s not all the BPC has going on!

This year the BPC is continuing its efforts to connect students and potential employers through the new “Open for Business” series.  Each week during September, they are highlighting a different company. Business representatives come to campus to meet students and discuss career opportunities. This fall, participating companies include Sherwin Williams, Northwestern Mutual, BMM Transportation, Bankers Life and Edward Jones Investments.

“We want to give students an opportunity to meet with companies in an informal way, outside of the interview experience,” Lewis said in explaining the impetus for creating the new program. “Career Fairs are wonderful but due to time constraints and the number of students involved, time can sometimes become an issue but this series eliminates those concerns. Students and business representatives are both finding ‘Open for Business’ to be a positive experience.”

The Business Placement Center offers such beneficial and individually tailored service, it is a definite “must visit” for all students.

Lewis realizes it’s sometimes difficult for students to make the first step and seek out help but, “We can’t help you if you don’t come in and see us,” she said.

Located in Room 113 in Rehn Hall, the BPC is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The center even accepts walk-ins Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., so there’s no reason a student shouldn’t stop by and take advantage of the great services available there!