When Rob Dykstra ’03, a partner at Quantum Leap Communications, hires new employees, he admits to some bias. “I see a difference in Calvin grads. They are just more well-rounded. Even if I do say no to them, I want to connect them to someone who would be a good fit.”

That’s exactly what happened after he contacted TaRita Johnson, director of Calvin’s Career Center, to find his next employee.

“I connected with her a year or two ago. We had a lot of conversations about big picture stuff and about how I can get talent to come to Quantum Leap. She and the staff are great and are always searching out employers to hear their needs and to share what talent is available at Calvin.”

One of the applicants Johnson suggested was Courtney Pierre ’17. As a student, Pierre worked in the Career Center. Dykstra was impressed with her, but during the interview he felt there was a better fit overall for Pierre, and the company he had in mind was right next door. So they prayed in the middle of the job interview, and then Dykstra connected Pierre to Sara Knoester at Mixed Staffing. At the time, Mixed Staffing was not hiring, but Knoester was so impressed with Pierre that they created a position for her.

Pierre has great advice for students and alumni looking for work: “Put yourself out there. I found companies I was interested in working at and reached out to those business owners and presidents and asked if they would meet so I could learn more about their company. I put out over 20 requests and got a lot of no responses, but I did get a few yeses. The answer is always going to be no if you don’t try, but when you do get that one yes, it opens up a lot of other opportunities.”

Dykstra also encourages you to, “Reach out to the Career Center. They want to help Calvin students and alumni get to their career destination. For me, there is a strong desire to see Calvin alumni be successful and help them navigate where their passions lie. I know that’s true for me because Calvin has meant a lot to me and helped me grow in my character and development. I see myself in a lot of young alumni, and I want the best for them.”

Just over a year ago when the Calvin Alumni Association board wrote a new strategic plan to guide us for the next five years, we didn’t realize how important one of our six overarching goals would be: Expand programs which are accessible to all alumni worldwide and not dependent on geographically based resources. Since mid-March, the alumni board and
staff have been thinking a lot about the services we offer and how to continue to deliver them in a digital world.

One of those services is career assistance. In the past year, more than 150 alumni have contacted the Career Center for help in finding work or transitioning to a new career.

The pandemic has created career uncertainty for some of our alumni. Let the alumni office and the Calvin Career Center be a resource for you. Whether you are looking for career assistance, want to find candidates for open positions at your company, or are offering internships, we can help you start making connections.