BMCC's Center for Career Development Helps Students Get Ahea





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Published on Apr 10, 2008

BMCC student Jason Quinones knew he was doing something wrong: he kept applying to jobs, but wasn't getting called for interviews.

"I was having a hard time finding any jobs in my field. I kept applying to open positions and I wasn't getting answers. I had a feeling it had something to do with my resume, or maybe my approach. I'd always heard BMCC's Center for Career Development (CCD) was wonderful, so I decided to try it out."

Luckily for Quinones, career coordinator Driada Rivas was there, and things were about to change for him.

That Fateful Day in BMCC's Center for Career Development

Rivas' job is twofold. On one hand, she helps students by conducting career workshops, or having top officials from various organizations do presentations at BMCC. On the other hand, she assists students like Quinones regarding career exploration, best job searching practices, interviewing techniques, and specifically, in this case, resume critiquing.

"We were having a career fair and he wanted help with his resume, which was good in essence, but it needed, like most students' resumes, to be touched up," Rivas said. "Then came career counseling: Jason had mentioned that he wanted to go into the area of business, particularly finance, so I helped him explore that, and Jason was able to narrow it down to a couple areas he wanted to go into for the career fair."

Before going to the career fair, though, the CCD -- located in S370 -- also required Jason, as it requires all students, to attend preparation classes. That, combined with CCD's advice, made all the difference for Quinones.

"I learned so many things: how to conduct myself during an interview, how to dress accordingly. I didn't know how to approach professional businessmen, with confidence, having a firm handshake. I even learned about the post-interview process, like sending thank you letters," Quionones said.

"I felt so confident and ready after leaving that class to go to the career fair and do what I had to do," he said. "When I walked into the career fair, I felt like nothing could hold me back and that I was definitely going to get an offer, at least one... and I got six."

Of course, Quinones only could take one, and the most enticing offer came from Amalgamated Bank.

His New Job

For Jason, the jump to Amalgamated is a largely prestigious one. Before he had worked for Banana Republic -- a job he got through a previous BMCC career fair -- and while it was by no means something to be embarrassed about, Amalgamated has thrown him right into the middle of the big banking world.

"It's been wonderful. I've met great people. And I've been training in areas I'm not even meant to be training in, so I've been able to get a whole new perspective on the business world and the finance world," he said.

Plus, there are other perks: for a part-time employee he gets full-time benefits, and he's already gotten raises and promotions.

His education at BMCC is partly to thank for all of that, Quinones said.

"Accounting classes I've taken have definitely gone hand in hand with finance, debits and credits, and the business accounts part of my job that I do everyday. Business classes at BMCC taught me at a base level how money works," he said. "Through my education at BMCC I was able to fully come into it, fully understand it and be better prepared than I would have been if I got the job with no experience."

Quinones said his end goal would be to work at one of the big investment firms, like Mogan Stanley or PricewaterhouseCoopers. But looking back, Quinones knows where much thanks goes to: "If it wasn't for the CCD, I would be stuck where I was, not getting responses back."

For information about how to improve your career choices go to CCD's web site and/or contact Driada Rivas, Career Coordinator at drivas@bmcc.cuny.edu.

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