Mariah Brannan – Specialist Spotlight

Meet Career Specialist Mariah Brannan! Mariah is a senior at Mizzou studying Journalism and International Studies.

A thank you message from Mariah’s student, Madison Dorgan — “I enjoyed your help through out the semester and the motivation you gave me provided me a major and a job in the Career Center. Thank you for being very motivational!”

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
I have recently been promoted to supervisor and something I love about that is that I get to know career specialists that work on call with me a lot better. I meet them and I learn more about them. Initially I didn’t want to be a supervisor, because I love working with people and I love how diverse the students are here. Whether it’s because of their gender, ethnicity, major, everyone is so different. I love being able to listen to them and empower them. I didn’t know how I would feel about changing that role. But as a supervisor, I was able to build more concrete relationships with my peers. I have been able to assist them in ways that I wasn’t able to as a career specialist. By assisting them and being their go-to person, then I am still in essence helping all the customers.

How has the career center helped you to achieve your goals?
The career center has helped me to be more articulate and more bold. They helped me to look outside of the box. And I have been able to network and meet so many different people which lead to different opportunities. Interviewing people for a job, selection process, but also going to different classes and meeting different types of people and being able to find common ground. Just being able to do that is wonderful!

What have you done in the Career Center?
I started my freshman year as a career specialist in training. Then I got involved in outreach and I was involved in the mock interview team and I was involved in staff development team. Then my sophomore year, I was involved in outreach and I became a mentor and I was on the training team. I started working with career specialists in training and helped with lesson plans. In my junior year, I was the mentoring coordinator for the training team of the new hires. I also started teaching career exploration class. This is my third semester teaching. Last semester, I applied and got the position to be a supervisor. Currently in my senior year, I’m a supervisor and I’m on the outreach team. I will be helping with training again for the new hires. I helped with the selection for the new hires and I still teach career explorations!

Do you have relationship building strengths? What are they? How do they help you with your work?
My strengths are developer, positivity, achiever, communication and activator. I use my developer strength the most. I see potential in other people. I use that in my work to enable people to see all the opportunities, skills and the strengths they already possess and how they can make those better. As a supervisor, I try to listen to people and encourage them to do their best in their own way. In a way that fits them the best. My positivity just helps me seeing the glass half full. I am really quick to smile and to praise people because I feel encouragement is oxygen to the soul. If I can encourage you and you can feel comfortable and you are going to do your best. If you know that your supervisor believes in you, then you are probably going to believe in yourself and therefore you are going to work better.

How do you build a relationship with a student? Do you have any stories to share?
I try to set the atmosphere with my energy. I smile and ask how their day is and I’ll listen to them. Ask questions like “why you are here”, “what brings you here”, “how can I help you”. Then I try to ask questions to kind of pick their brain about whatever we are talking about. I think the way I try to help customers is that I try to find common ground, something they feel comfortable to talk about. And then I can get them to expand and move on to more difficult things. A great example would be the nursing students. They come in really scared and terrified because they are going to the #1 nursing school in the nation. I just listen to them and then I validate them and show them areas in which they can grow. I try to find areas that make them unique and stand out. And pinpoint the reason why they are at this school. If you understand why, your interview would be more successful!