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Q&A with Career Director Andrea Merriman

If you’ve ever wondered what the best way to get a job is once completing your degree, how to effectively and professionally network, or find an internship, you’re not alone!

Many students have questions about the transition from school to the workforce or from being a stay-at-home parent to the workforce. Fortunately, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department has a career director, Andrea Merriman, who is a Gallup certified Strengths coach and is skilled in helping students jumpstart their professional careers.

Andrea can help you with every aspect of finding an internship or getting a job, including how to network effectively, how to find success at a career fair, how to present yourself and interview well, and even salary negotiation after you receive an offer.

Since Andrea's career coaching services are a university-provided resource, they can be accessed by both current students and alumni at no cost. She can help with grad school preparation, CV’s, personal statements, applications, LinkedIn, and more!

“What I want students to know is that I am here to help you. I have almost 35 years of professional experience in a variety of industries and all types of companies, and I can help you with your internship and job search—every part of it! I also want students to know everything related to job hunting is a skill. If you feel you don’t have those skills, I can show you how to develop them!” she says.

Below are some of the most common questions Andrea is asked by students and her answers.

Q) I’ve applied to 50 jobs online and didn’t get one interview, what am I doing wrong?

A) “Applying online results in a job less than 10% of the time. Networking is how you get a job these days. Up to 80% of jobs are secured through connections. Even the most casual connections can result in opportunities. And it’s ok if you don’t have connections, I can teach you how to reach out to people doing the work you dream of and find success.”

Q) How can I get an internship if I don’t have experience?

A) “You have more experience than you may realize. Come and see me, let's talk about you, and let me help you find applicable experience for your resume. I have some great tips for demonstrating what you’ve been exposed to and showcasing experience! I can also help you learn about opportunities that will give you experience.”

Q) How do I create a resume that will help me stand out from the competition?

A) “I teach students how to create a professional, clean, targeted resume that will give them the best shot at getting an interview. (After all, the purpose of a resume is to get a conversation, or interview. A resume usually won’t get you a job.) Some helpful tips: don’t use a resume template you find online and instead use the free resume templates provided by the university at Don’t put a photo on your resume—hiring managers who evaluate candidates need to be objective, and putting a picture on a resume removes any chance of being objective. Make sure your resume is easy for a recruiter to read—allow for white space, use a legible, 12-point font, keep everything consistent (for example, put all of your dates on the far right, justified, side of your resume), use bullets under each experience to tell the story of your responsibilities, what you did, and the results you achieved (don’t write a narrative under each experience). Start each bullet with a strong action verb and quantify your bullets as much as you can. Numbers are memorable! Numbers help people visualize your accomplishments, too. Also, present tense verbs should be used for your present experience, past tense verbs for your past experiences. Don’t forget your GPA! And don’t forget to tailor your resume to each job you apply to. (It sounds daunting, but it’s pretty doable; I can show you how!)”

Q) I hate talking to people, networking feels “fake,” do I really have to do it?

A) “Networking is simply meeting people, making a real connection with them, learning from them—seeking their advice, building a relationship over time, and helping others. There’s nothing fake about it if you are focused on others. Which I believe is the way we are supposed to live, as Christ-centered people—not to mention it leads to such an interesting life! I learn something new every time I meet someone or interact with them, and that enriches my life and my experience. I can’t imagine life without networking. Boring!”

Q) How do I know if my job offer is a good one?

A) “I enjoy helping students evaluate their job offers, I can help explain certain benefits they may not be familiar with. I have access to salary surveys and see the offers of many students, so I can help give you an idea of what a good offer is. And I can help you with negotiation—another thing that is intimidating to some students, especially female students, until you realize you’ve been negotiating since the day you were born! You have more experience than you realize.”

Andrea is dedicated to helping students create successful careers and empowering them to go into the world and make a difference wherever they are.

Students can meet with Andrea in person or online. Appointments can be booked by calling 801-422-3000. Andrea also takes walk-in appointments when there is availability.