Students Design Their Futures in January Career CourseFrom building a resume to visiting employers to hearing from successful alumni, students in the class are jumpstarting their career journeys.
Posted on January 27th, 2020 by

Cynthia Favre talks to sophomore Emmie Peroutka during a Design Your Future class session.

Cynthia Favre talks to sophomore Emmie Peroutka during a Design Your Future class session.

by Emma Lohman ’21

When Gustavus Adolphus College sophomore Emmie Peroutka was browsing through her options for January Interim Experience, a course called “Design Your Future” caught her eye because of the head start that it would give her in preparing for life after college. A vocal music and psychological science major, Peroutka says she did not feel confident about her career preparation prior to taking this course. Now, after just three weeks in the class, she has a LinkedIn account, an elevator pitch, a strong resume, and a solid understanding of what it takes to secure and nail an interview.

“Design Your Future” is taught by Cynthia Favre, Director of Vocation and Career Readiness Programs in the Gustavus Center for Career Development. Her role, she says, is to help students to name their gifts and talents and find places to use them in the world. In order to help students answer the question “What are you going to do after Gustavus?,” the course includes alumni speakers, mock interviews, resume and cover letter assistance, presentations of career resources and tools, career aptitude assessments, and career treks to local companies.

Students in the Design Your Future course work on resumes and cover letters.

Students in the Design Your Future course work on resumes and cover letters.

Each of the four weeks of the course is focused on a specific aspect of career readiness. The first week gave students the opportunity to learn more about themselves through a variety of assessments. The second week was spent exploring employers. The last two weeks will address job searching and the transition from undergraduate life to professional life.

Some of the organizations that the students will be visiting during the month include, Cambria, Scheels, Taylor Corporation, the Mankato Area Foundation, Greater Mankato Area United Way, YWCA Mankato, and Greater Mankato Growth. Favre selected these companies because they are varying sizes and industries and they are local, which means less time on a bus and more time spent engaging with potential future employers.

Favre has worked at Gustavus for 30 years, which has allowed her to make lots of connections with alumni who she can bring in as guest speakers. She invited four individuals to present about their careers to her class: Neal Hagberg ’81, Director of Tennis and Life Camps at Gustavus; Mike Dueber ’89, Senior Product Development Specialist at 3M; Eric Haffley ’19, help desk producer at UnitedHealthcare; and Sandy Walsh ’95, Marriage and Family Therapist at Mankato Psychology Clinic.

Favre hopes the course helps students see the value of practicing and preparing their career skills, understand that career is a journey, and not be afraid to get help when they need it. She encourages all students at Gustavus to join one or more of seven Career Interest Clusters so that they can get more information about opportunities related to their desired field. Favre also invites students to attend the Career Experience Expo on February 14.

Peroutka appreciates that this course has pushed her to do the necessary legwork to make herself attractive to future employers and has enjoyed the visits to the Center for Career Development.

“I think that if I hadn’t taken this course, I would have put off my resume until who knows when,” said Peroutka, who is part of the Arts & Communication and Government & Social Services career clusters. She hopes to land an internship next year armed with the knowledge and skills that she has gained from this course. “I’ve actually done more things than I thought. I think sophomore year is a good time to do it because we’ve had speakers talking about internships and post-grad life.”

To learn more about the Center for Career Development at Gustavus, visit the center’s website.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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