Soon-to-be MAC grads prepare for job market -- with help
COVID-19 has thrown so many curve balls at professors and students, and they’ve dealt with each one of them with creativity and flexibility. This is certainly the case for grad students getting ready to complete the Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) program and head into the working world armed with their new degrees.
Last year, MAC Clinical Field Experience Director Dr. Meagan McBride had planned a mock interview experience, with a resume workshop and an area leader working with on branding with students who were getting ready to graduate and hit the job market. And then, it got placed on hold as the pandemic took hold. As Dr. McBride conceptualized the needs of this graduating group of students and how to provide this experience, a few things were clear. The MAC students are always strong, and this graduating group has had some exceptional experiences. “This class will have a lot to bring to the profession, and they need to know how to interview online,” she said.
Capitalizing on her experience teaching online, coupled with numerous virtual conferences, Meagan shifted the modality and planned a virtual Mock Interview and Resume Workshop Experience. She lined up industry leaders, counselor educators from other programs, alumni, and hiring managers from area providers. Students were paired with interviewers who led full interviews followed by live feedback. Students were also worked directly with either Dr. Marjorie Shavers or Professor Ronee Rice, who helped them perfect their resumes, providing edits and feedback, and ensuring they had highlighted key points of their education to showcase the breadth of their experiences.
“We are thankful to our community partners, alumni, and leaders in the profession who helped provide this experience for our students,” Meagan said. “They've provided our students with an edge as they begin the interview process. Being able to do this and to have the opportunity to do it virtually allows them a level of comfort and precision, thanks to the professional feedback other candidates for positions might not have.”
In May when more than 20 MAC graduates receive their diplomas, they will be the class who completed their entire field rotations during the pandemic, having experienced the racial injustices, a charged political climate, and a fully virtual class experience. For students, this has meant offering services via telehealth, learning new interventions, being on the ground during a time when mental health needs are at a high, and working with health professionals and first responders who have been serving the needs of others during this time.
With strong resumes and sharpened interview skills to showcase their work and experiences, the future is bright for the future MAC graduates.