Headshot of Career Services Coordinator Mary Cooke.Mary Cooke

Mary Cooke

Coordinator, Career Services

Liaison to Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences

Office: College of Arts and Sciences Building (CAS), Room 126
Phone: 330-972-6498
Email: mec@uakron.edu

Headshot of Career Services Coordinator Mary Cooke.

"We personalize each appointment to the student’s individual needs and goals, particularly as a student pursuing one of the degrees offered through the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences."

Q: Can students simply drop by, or how would you prefer that they schedule time with you?

A: Yes, we take walk-ins! Students may also make an appointment online through Handshake. Every student already has a free account in Handshake – they just need to go in and update their profile if they have never visited Handshake before.

Q: Discuss the ways you can help students.

A: Our office in the College of Arts and Sciences building can assist students in:

  • exploring what major may be best suited for them,
  • matching their major to in-demand jobs,
  • internship and co-op opportunities, job searches, as well as developing lifelong career skills, such as:
    • how to find good job opportunities
    • resume and cover letter writing
    • preparing for interviews
    • developing the short “elevator speech”
    • how to dress professionally
We personalize each appointment to the student’s individual needs and goals, particularly as a student pursuing one of the degrees offered through the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences.

Q: Why should students use Handshake? Do you have a Handshake power tip? What are students surprised to learn that they can do in Handshake?

A: Handshake is a great tool, not only for scheduling one-on-one appointments with a Career Services team member, but also for finding opportunities for whatever students want to find — an internship, co-op, other experiential learning, or a job. Just like anything else, the more students use Handshake, the more familiar they will become with how to find opportunities posted there. We are happy to show students how to best use Handshake in an individual appointment — or in a class if their professor invites us to do so!

Q: What's the best tip you have for those writing a resume or cover letter? How can you help students prepare both?

A: My best tip on building your resume? Get experiential learning while you are getting your degree. Not only will this help you write your resume, but it will help you get your first job. My best resume tip on writing your resume? Realize you have great skills to share with potential employers — the challenge is to express them effectively on paper.

Career Services can help with both building and writing your resume. We can help you find experiential learning, and we can help you prepare your resume, even if you have never written one before! Just make an appointment with a Career Services team member and go from there!

Q: What one interview question should students in your area be prepared for? What tips do you have for answering it? What's the best way to prepare for an interview? Do you conduct mock interviews with students?

A: One of the most common questions asked is some form of “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” If not prepared, this can really throw you off during an interview. To answer this, think about one or two strengths, and give an example of each strength in a school or work situation; also think about a weakness, and give a school or work example of how you are improving on this weakness.

Career Services has a guide on the most commonly asked interview questions, why employers ask these questions, and how to answer them. This is just one of the fantastic tools Career Services has to prepare for an interview. We have guides on types of interviews, questions to ask (and those NOT to ask), how to learn about the company interviewing you, how to dress, etc. And we love doing mock interviews with students. We can even record the mock interviews for students to view later to improve their interviewing skills.

Q: How can technology can make a search easier? How has it made searches more challenging? How do you overcome that?

A: Technology makes internship, co-op and job searching easier because we can find opportunities online that are not just in Akron. We also can search by keywords to be as specific or as broad as we want. One downside is that when opportunities are posted online, there are usually a lot more applicants for the same position. (Another reason to have your resume be the one that stands out!)

Another advantage of tech is being able to go to one site to find thousands of opportunities posted. This is one of the great aspects of Handshake. Like anything else, it takes a few times getting into it to learn how to best use it (think about your first class using Brightspace!), but once you become familiar with it, it is a good way to find opportunities for experiential learning and jobs. If students want to meet one-on-one with a Career Services team member to learn how best to use Handshake, just make an appointment! We are happy to help.

Q: What do you wish you had known when you were searching for your first job after college? Or, what is the best career advice you have received?

A: I wish I would have visited Career Services during undergrad and learned all the important life skills Career Services can teach – writing a resume and cover letter, searching for a job, doing a mock interview – it would have been a lot easier! The best career advice I would give now is twofold:

  1. Go to Career Services during your first semester at UA — whether you are a freshman or a transfer student.
  2. Get experiential learning while you are getting your degree — internships, co-ops, shadowing, etc. — experiential learning is so important for getting a job when you graduate.

Q: What career services are you going to provide that students want to know about?

A: If students walk by the Career Services office in the Jean Hower Tabor Student Union (Room 211), they will see 13 icons on the front window that list the services we offer!