Q&A with Career Services Advisor Victoria Krayna
As a Career Service Advisor for SJVC’s Modesto campus, Victoria Krayna is determined to show all the students and graduates in her charge how to slay the dragons that threaten their job search success. She is in the trenches with them as they sharpen their interview skills, perfect their resumes, and adopt the positive mindset needed to land the job they have diligently trained to perform. Many of these graduates have credited her support in their own Spotlight articles.
Self-doubt is often the most difficult obstacle an about-to-graduate student must first overcome. Victoria is ready to arm those most vulnerable to doubt with a dragon-slayer sword of direction, preparedness and confidence.
What is your role as Career Services Advisor?
I begin the journey with students 15-weeks before they graduate. When I understand what each student is looking for (ideal job), I work hard to find the right employer for them. I find out what really jazzes the soul of the student and bring 20-years of employer relationships that allows me to be a career matchmaker.
I identify the students’ particular obstacles. It’s called SOAR: Situation, Obstacles, Action, Result. What is their current Situation, what are the Obstacles to successful job search, what Action do we need to take and then identify the Result they want?
How does that exercise translate into job search preparedness?
I tell every student that we’ve got a dragon to slay. Sometimes their dragon is self-doubt or fear of failure. Maybe it’s distraction, procrastination or practical obstacles like day care, transportation, lack of family support or a poor driving record; sometimes no driver’s license at all. We identify the obstacles then create action steps we’re going to take in order to remove or diminish their impact. Then I help them suit up, get on that horse and slay their dragons.
What advice do you give your students as they begin their job search?
“You are a professional! Dress like one, act like one.” I tell them not to be discouraged by online job post auto replies (of rejection) that give you a 5-second review and don’t know your heart, your soul, your diligence. I remind them not to take things so personally and that they ARE enough. They have a skill set that is unique and hard to find.
I keep them activated in their job search. I remind them that they are exactly what some of these employers are looking for. I tell them, “Right now, your career soulmate is looking for you, calling colleges, trying to find you. Let’s help them find you!”
What is the most important part of your job?
I want our students to understand that they are here to leave a legacy; that what they do not only impacts themselves, but their families and future generations. They are changing their family tree. Example is a powerful thing.
I want our students to have positive energy, be excited for their accomplishments and value their impact on their future generations.
What kinds of insights do you hope to pass on to your job-search students?
Some people don’t have a natural ability to speak to authority figures. They learn how to talk to business owners who are terrified of making a bad hire. I have those hard conversations about how to be more presentable in their look: maybe covering up the tattoos, pulling out the nose ring. You have to look like a professional before I can help you feel like a professional.
I want them to learn from failure. I want to put them in a safe environment where they can fail. Let them realize that they can trip over their tongue in an interview or get that deer-in-the-headlights look at a difficult question and use that, learn from that experience.
How are you able to focus on so many students and their successful career outcomes?
I work in an environment of shared office space, multiple phones ringing, several conversations happening at the same time, yet it is my goal and my commitment to make that person in front of me feel as though they are the only person in the room. They will not see me pick up the phone, look at an email or talk to another colleague. It’s like there’s only the two of us. I don’t want any student to believe they are not my highest priority.
What brings you the greatest joy in your work?
I love the employer mixers. I recently took 30-students to Tesla where they got to meet with recruiters, and each had 3-4 interviews. Only ten students were going to graduate before hire dates, but seven got hired!
I watched their faces, and they got it: they’re not just here for a certificate or degree, but for a life-changing moment: a career. Plus, they all got to be passengers in a car with professional drivers and go from zero to 100 mph in 30 seconds!
What most helps you do what you do?
I have a managerial team that allows me to be me. They give me the autonomy to use my own judgement and provide me with advancement and training opportunities. They don’t try to remake me. I get to be the genuine me. That allows me to co-create graduates who can be so very proud of themselves and their accomplishments.
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