Randolph-Macon College students learned firsthand the importance of career planning and preparation at the fifth-annual Edge Career Boot Camp. This hands-on workshop, facilitated by The Edge Career Center and 155 alumni, faculty, staff, and local business leaders, took place February 3-4, 2017 at the Westin Richmond Hotel.
A Competitive Advantage
Boot Camp is an integral part of The Edge, R-MC's four-year career program that provides students with a competitive advantage when applying for jobs or graduate school. A two-day immersion program, Boot Camp helps students identify their career passions and hone their interview and communication skills as they prepare for life after college.
The weekend was devoted to helping students develop their own elevator speech and "brand," learn how to communicate with confidence, and identify their strengths and capabilities—all with the help of top-notch speakers and facilitators, including alumni. This year, 146 students participated in Boot Camp. In addition, seven Boot Camp Ambassadors—students who participated in last year's Boot Camp—used their knowledge to help students take full advantage of this unique experience.
Finding the Edge
Boot Camp participants attended workshops, formulated an "action plan" for career success, and engaged in simulated interviews. Breakout sessions included "LinkedIn/Social Media," "Your Best Interview," "Tell Your Story," "Communication Styles," and "Let's Do Dinner: Dining Your Way to Success." Business leaders from several companies were on hand to offer students career advice and share their business expertise. A closing reception, with alumni and business leaders in attendance, offered students the opportunity to put into practice their networking skills.
Cindy Szadokierski '81, executive director of The Edge, says Boot Camp continues to grow and flourish.
"This year's event—our fifth—was filled with tremendous opportunities for our students," says Szadokierski. "There's no substitute for hands-on practice, and students exercised their professional skills, including the all-important art of networking. We are grateful for so many volunteers this year from the R-MC community and local businesses."
From Boot Camp to Career
Taylor Ryan '16, who majored in women's studies, attended Boot Camp when she was a senior at R-MC. She recently wrote to staff in The Edge to thank them for helping her polish her professional skills.
"Attending Boot Camp truly made a difference in my life," wrote Ryan, who works as the housing services coordinator at Hanover Safe Place. Ryan says she learned many things at Boot Camp, including interview skills.
"The many people who assisted with conducting simulated interviews—including Yellow Jacket alumni—really made a difference in my life," she says. "In addition, meeting successful graduates at Boot Camp who want to help current students succeed was truly inspirational. Thank you." Ryan served as a facilitator at this year's Boot Camp and attended the networking reception.
The Randolph-Macon Edge
At Randolph-Macon College, everything's connected. Our curriculum challenges students; our Edge career program turns skills into action. With an extraordinary education and the help of faculty advisors, coaches, and alumni, preparation for success begins the moment students set foot on campus. And it never ends: The Yellow Jacket connection continues long after graduation. Alumni serve as mentors. Faculty continue to encourage and inspire. These partnerships last a lifetime.
The Edge, a personalized, comprehensive four-year career preparation program provides students with a competitive advantage with their career or graduate school goals. The Edge takes students from résumé-building to networking opportunities to careers. Yellow Jackets learn how to be leaders, thinkers, and communicators, and they can put it all into practice with a tailor-made internship—essential experience in today's competitive world.