CIBC Gave Me A Professional Leg-Up

Sophie Davenport, The Growl Editor

Last weekend I took a leap of faith and decided to attend BU’s Career Intensive Boot Camp (CIBC) held at the Greenly Center in downtown Bloomsburg. I was really hesitant to sign up for the event and dedicate myself to an entire three-day weekend. I was extremely nervous also. I didn’t know what to expect or even how to dress, we were required to dress professionally for the last two days of the event. However, I realized while listening to the opening remarks late Friday afternoon that I made the right decision to step outside my comfort zone and attend the CIBC.

The event kicked off late Friday afternoon. After checking-in we had time to shop in the Career Closet. The Career Closet at the Greenly Center is stocked full of everything one would need for any professional occasion, like an interview or a networking lunch. I had never used the Career Closet before, and I didn’t realize what I was missing.

The Career Closet is a tool provided to students to utilize. It not only has all sizes and types of professional clothing such as dress pants (tan, black, gray), skirts, dress shoes, full suits, but it also saves one money. When one shops at the Career Closet the clothes you find are yours to keep, one can easily save hundreds of dollars!

After some ice breakers and team building activities, everyone was shuffled downstairs to partake in a formal etiquette dinner. Ms. Wren Fritsky who was leading the entire event, lead everyone in leaning proper etiquette dining skills. It was actually a lot of fun! The two tips Ms. Fritsky gave that stuck with me the most was when sitting at a dining table you want to pretend that you have a cat sitting on your lap. Allow enough space for the cat on your lap to sit comfortably. Pretend also that there is a hamster behind your back and don’t squish it! These tips on how to sit properly at a dining table are funny but really helpful as well. Professionals who ask you to such a dining event take strict notice of how you carry yourself and you want to carry yourself in the best possible way.

The day started early on Saturday, 9am sharp. A breakfast was provided and after having some time to mingle with others and meet new people the next two hours consisted of panel sessions. Everyone was split into three groups and each group had three panel sessions, each panel was 30 minutes. The panels didn’t get boring because they were short and practical. Guest alums starred in the panels and gave insight into their own professional experience, how they became successful. A theme all the panels had in common was the degree you graduate with does not dictate what type of job you receive. Don’t confine yourself to any single profession and don’t settle for the first job you receive.

After the panel sessions and a networking lunch with alum everyone was split back up into their groups for rotating quick chats. I found the rotating quick chats the most helpful and beneficial. Each quick chat was approximately 25 minutes. My favorite quick chat was the resume and cover letter review one-on-one session with a previous alum. I was quite anxious at first because I knew my resume and cover letter needed improvements. I didn’t know what to expect however the alum that I was partnered with was extremely kind and helpful. Both my resume and cover letter were marked up with corrections after I left the session. Yet being able to meet with a professional who knows what type of resume will land you an interview is very valuable.

The last day of event began again at 9am. The final day of CIBC was arguably the most intense, the schedule for the day was full. Following a hearty breakfast of potatoes and egg sandwiches it was off to our first panel. After our panel, once again everyone was split into their three groups. I was at my most nervous, it was mock interview day. Everyone has two sessions of interviews, in-person and group or virtual interviews. The mock interviews would be conducted by alum and professionals. I had never experienced a professional interview before and was extremely anxious going into it.

Both the in-person and virtual interviews were challenging, they challenged me in an entirely new way. I was exhausted after the mock interviews, knowing they weren’t “real” did not make them any less daunting. After the mock interviews I was given informative and detailed feedback. I was shown where my weaknesses and strengths lie. I also realized that the alum and professionals that give their time to come to such an event are only there to help. They want to see us succeed and give us advice that had to learn the hard way.

Following the mock interviews, our next challenge was networking with alum and professionals during lunch. It was an opportunity to meet new people and build professional connections. Networking is how you find jobs, it not what you know but who know. During the CIBC that particular fact was made abundantly clear to me. It is sometimes intimidating to talk to professionals that have the career that you might want someday but the CIBC gives you the opportunity to make mistakes and fix them before your mistakes cost you a job.

I can say confidently that my experience at the CIBC has prepared me for the future and has given me a professional leg-up on my competition. I am now confident to present my resume and cover letter. I now know what questions to expect during an interview and have the skills to answer such questions confidently and to the fullest degree. I am proud of myself for trying something new. Try something new it is never too late! The rewards are plenty!

The event is hosted each spring and fall semester by the Department of Alumni and Professional Engagement. The event is open to all juniors, seniors, and recent graduates off all majors.