Career Services Advisor shares secret of successful student placements
If there is a melody going through Veronica Behringer’s head throughout her work day, it must be along the lines of “Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match,” for that is how she sees herself. A matchmaker.
As a Fresno campus Career Services Advisor, it is her responsibility to pair SJVC students and graduates with their ideal employer, while simultaneously providing local employers with the well-trained professionals they deserve and require.
“I am changing lives; finding those opportunities that would be a good fit for my students and our employers,” says Veronica, who works primarily with students in the Medical Assisting, Dental Assisting and Medical Office Administration programs. “Throughout the day, I am building those relationships and want them both to be successful in a way that helps everyone.”
“I tell my students that I am a matchmaker and I need to get to know them, their successes and weaknesses, so that I can match them with an employer that will be exactly what they are looking for,” says Veronica. “I tell them, ‘I don’t want to set you up for a blind date, but I will set you up for success.'”
Veronica works diligently with students to prepare them to enter the job market, and she aims them toward their highest career hopes. She takes her students through mock interviews, resumé construction and salary negotiations to make certain they will make the best impression and most professional presentation.
Some students are not quite where they want to be in their comfort at going to interviews and talking about themselves and their skills. “The hardest part is helping those students get out of that negative bubble and trying to convince them to have confidence in themselves,” says Veronica, who sees the valuable employees she knows they can be.
They walk in as though they’re coming to the principal’s office, but leave with new job search skills, techniques and confidence. “When it happens, they stand up straighter, speak a little louder, walk a little prouder,” says Veronica. “You can see it when they make that shift.”
Support is a very big thing to Veronica, who has been in Career Services for several years, but just two years with SJVC. “The support here is very different from where I came from,” says Veronica. “There, it was ‘you are on your own; get them placed; do your job.’ Here, there is a team environment with a common goal to change lives and a support system to help me achieve my goals.”
The SJVC formula for team-building and success works well for Veronica. She recently received a 100 Club Award on the Fresno campus for placing over 100 graduates in 2014. The trophy sits proudly on her desk and attests to her commitment to SJVC students.
“Veronica has the passion to be in career services and really knows how to reach out to students and graduates,” says Christen Rodriguez, Career Services Manager. “She works with our students from Orientation to graduation, and after.”
The payoff, for Veronica, comes when she gets that post-interview phone call. “That excited call I get from a student who just walked out of an interview and they got the job right on the spot,” says Veronica. “That’s probably the best, right there.”
Veronica’s own match with Career Services at SJVC should not be overlooked. It is a skill-need connection, a philosophy-attitude collaboration that has put powerful energy into motion. The College provided the framework, and Veronica brought the experience, natural talent and momentum.
Veronica put herself through college, earning her Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication, while working her way up from a receptionist to a position in a college’s career services department. She has a natural affinity for helping others to see the best in themselves. She also had a great role model in her mom, Debbie, who held high positions in a county personnel department.
“She taught me how to present myself in the workforce, how to be professional; she told me to leave everything at the front door when you go to work,” says Veronica. “She told me to always be professional, and to always give back. She did this herself full-time while she raised my brother and me.”
Veronica also had a Career Services Advisor when she was a student at Fresno State, whom she emulates. “She was my support system, and I want to give my students what my college advisor gave me. I remember myself as this deer-in-the-headlights, so overwhelmed. I can relate to students now, and I want to be a part of making others successful.”
A good matchmaker starts with a generous heart.