Amber McCraw ready to help communications students succeed

The new assistant director of career services for the School of Communications will help students navigate the job search.

As the new assistant director of career services for the School of Communications, Amber McCraw wants to help students ‘realize their potential.’ Photo by Brett Gubitosi ’16
By Brett Gubitosi ’16

Amber McCraw has been named the new assistant director of career services for the School of Communications, charged with creating workshops and training sessions that will cover major areas of student interest, including resume writing, cover letter writing and job interview strategies.

A Career Advising Fellow in Elon University’s Student Professional Development Center during the 2014-15 academic year, McCraw is no stranger to Elon’s campus or preparing students for the next step in their careers.

In her new role, McCraw anticipates helping students across all spectrums of the job search, ranging from assisting individuals discover their interests to improving students’ resumes before they submit applications to their dream jobs.

“My main goal is to help students realize their potential. I can’t give students all the answers, but I can guide and help them along the way,” she said. “Sometimes I think the job search is a job in itself.”

While studying for a Masters of Education in College Student Affairs Administration at the University of Georgia, McCraw was originally interested in working in residence life. She did not intend to be a career adviser, but she changed course after taking two classes that focused on career services. “I wanted to make a positive and lasting impact on students,” she said. “I knew this position would allow me to work with students and learn from them along the way.”

Speaking from past experiences, McCraw said finding a job is all about dedication. However, she stressed the fact that a single event might lead to an unexpected career path. For example, McCraw was a strong job candidate at Elon because of the skills she learned during her courses in graduate school. “It’s the small opportunities and events along the way that take you to the path you want to be on,” she explained.

McCraw emphasized that many students have the experience and potential necessary to find a great job, but they may struggle to properly communicate their strengths and talents. “It’s hard for students to brag about themselves sometimes,” she said. “People are so often focused on what they need to improve upon that it’s tough for them to think about what they do well.”

McCraw stressed the importance of organization in career hunting and made this a priority in her own job search. For example, she noted on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet where she applied, application deadlines, contact information, etc.

Another tip? “Have a willingness to learn,” said McCraw. “Education doesn’t stop when you have a diploma in hand. For example, find a mentor and don’t be afraid to take risks.”

The new career adviser looks forward to helping students reach their potential. “I enjoy connecting with students and experiencing their successes,” she said. “When they figure out where they want to go next or make a breakthrough, I love to hear about it.”

McCraw’s tips for finding a job:

  1. Don’t be afraid of networking and utilize LinkedIn. “As an introvert, it terrified me until I fully understood the right way to go about it,” said McCraw.
  2. Open yourself up to new experiences and locations after graduation.
  3. Be organized and strategic with the job search. “Seniors are balancing classes, internships, extra curricular commitments, and social activities. Staying organized will ensure students don’t miss any details,” she said.
  4. Reach out for informational interviews. “Professionals and alumni are willing to give a helping hand,” she said. “They are a great way to learn about an industry or a position you’re interested in.”
  5. Stop by my office to ask questions and get resources. 

McCraw offered one final piece of advice: “You’re not giving yourself a chance if you don’t even apply for a job. Go for it because you never know what might come out of it.”

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