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February 25, 2014

Purdue Profile: Claudine Meilink

Claudine Meilink

Claudine Meilink, senior career services consultant at the Center for Career Opportunities. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons) 
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Helping students to find their passion is what drives Claudine Meilink, a career services consultant at the Center for Career Opportunities.

Now in her seventh year at CCO, Meilink infuses her work with her interests, making the variety of projects and assignments she undertakes fun. From marketing to mentoring, Meilink shares her passion for career consulting with alumni, faculty and students. 

What does your job entail?

While I do several things, my largest function is to oversee the student ambassador program and the CCO's marketing interns. The CCO employs 12 first-year ambassadors, 4-6 second-year ambassadors and three marketing interns. It's very rewarding to have the opportunity to mentor students and watch them grow. I am also involved in the department's marketing and social media. When I came to Purdue in 2006, the CCO had no presence on social media. After I'd been at the CCO for a couple years, I was able to truly understand the impact social media could have on a career center and the students it serves. I expressed the importance of social media to the CCO's director, Tim Luzader, and with his support, the CCO rolled out Facebook and Twitter. That grew into daily WordPress blogs and an annual LinkedIn Boot Camp. This past year we added Pinterest and Instagram. All of these initiatives keep students consistently connected with the career center, making the CCO effective even outside of a normal working day.

Hundreds of employers visit Purdue to recruit students, and a huge part of my role is to interact with them every day and provide guidance to them so they have a successful recruiting experience at Purdue. This aspect of my job is integral because often, I'm one of the first connections these employers have with Purdue. I want to provide employers a positive experience, so that when it comes time for them to interview a Purdue student, they can give that student their undivided attention because all of the details of their campus visit have been taken care of.

I also participate in career counseling and enjoy serving undergraduate students, graduate students, as well as alumni. Over Christmas break, five or six alumni found their way to me, and I conducted phone appointments with them. Purdue students have lifelong career services with the CCO, which is great because people are always changing and evolving!

Do you have any passions related to your job?

I love incorporating social media into my everyday job. It's such a useful tool and I've had the great opportunity to meet some of the people I connected with through social media in real life. I once flew to Syracuse, N.Y., to attend the Syracuse/Villanova basketball game with a career services colleague I met through Twitter. Some people might find that odd but it is fantastic networking. On another occasion, Jeff Pulver, the co-founder of Vonage, flew me to New York City for the #140Conference, all because of a tweet. Twitter is where it's at!

Why do you think career counseling is so important?

A lot of students come to college and quickly find that their passions aren't lining up with what they're learning in their classes or what they're doing in their internship. Since they've come to college with very little exposure to the world of work, they really don't know what direction to go in. When I was in college, I didn't have a career counselor that I could go to at the university that I attended, so I think it's amazing that we can offer this service to Purdue students. We get to help them learn about themselves, learn about their passions, learn about their interests and really figure out what they want to do with their lives. It's incredibly rewarding.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Now that my son graduated from high school and attends Ball State University, I find I have lots of free time. Fitness -- or attempting to stay fit -- is a big part of my life. I work out several times per week and love to invite my friends and colleagues to join me. Whether it is Zumba at Studio b or doing the Insanity workout with Shaun T, it is more fun with friends. I also love college football and college basketball. I spend all of my Saturdays in the fall watching college football and cannot wait for March Madness! 

Writer: Hannah Harper, harper4@purdue.edu