More Than Just
Vocation and Career Development
Cooper Center for Vocation & Career Development
At Trinity, our goal is to set you up—not only for your first job, but for your entire life. We take the time to know you, to spark and feed your curiosity, and then to send you out into the world. Our alumni leave Trinity ready to build a life that matters. And we love to watch and celebrate them as they go.
The Cooper Center for Vocation and Career Development specializes in providing resources and services to assist students and alumni in their life-long work and service in God’s Kingdom.
We’re here to help you to discover your strengths, develop and sharpen your professional skills, engage in the job search process, explore graduate school options, discern God’s call on your life, and more.
We offer a number of services to make this happen and have resources for both students and alumni, no matter where you are in your academic or professional journey.
At Trinity, we love to talk about vocation – something we view as a joyful response to God’s calling – and actively seek to know and support the variety of ways He has uniquely called you.
What is Vocation?
Vocation is a challenging word to define and characterize. It is a rich term that connects to our spiritual and personal sense of identity and purpose, intersecting with multiple dimensions of life.
The word vocation derives from the Latin vocare, meaning “to call.” This implies that in vocation, someone – God – is doing the calling. How we live out our vocation is then a component of our worship – our joyful response to God for who He is and what He has done. It is also a response to specific ways that He has equipped, created and called us. While vocation includes our work and career paths, it also encompasses the way we approach faith, neighborhood, civics, family, and service. It is an overarching path where we participate in the Lord’s plan to bring redemption and shalom to the world.
Vocation at Trinity
We know that college is an important place for discovering and discerning your vocation. At Trinity, vocation is a term that you will hear often in classrooms, chapel, advising sessions, and residence hall conversations. In our Student Life Purposes and Outcomes we express that vocation should be a joyful response to God’s calling and hope that you experience that joy through your time here and leave as a graduate continuing on that path.
We believe that discerning one’s vocation requires engaging the heart, mind and soul. It involves intentional prayer, reflection as you encounter the Triune God, a sense of curiosity and openness to discovery, and a community of friends, family, faculty, staff and mentors who offer a listening ear and wise counsel.
Staff in the Cooper Center for Vocation and Career Development would love to meet with you to talk about your own vocation. Stop in or schedule appointment.
In the words of Faculty & Staff
“Along with the Psalmist (139), we praise God that we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’ Typically, there are all kinds of things we can do. And the more we develop our native abilities and explore the range and depth of our skill capacities the greater the scope of our potential interactions in the world becomes. But what then should we actually do? This is where our understanding about our vocation becomes invaluable. Our vocation is both a guide and a guard. Our vocation keeps orienting us toward our “all in” ways of being in the world, while guarding us against engaging those things that we might well do, but would end up draining us of life, and life more abundant.” – Dr. Bill Van Gronigen, Chaplain & Dean of Spiritual Formation=
“How vocation intersects with my work as a soccer coach is how I teach my team to give relentless effort, have a competitive attitude, and give uncommon preparation. Those skills are not only supposed to help us to be competitive on the field and have a great on the field experience, but it’s more to equip them for their vocation outside of soccer. I’m hopeful that when they get in to the real world and even in the classroom on a daily basis for them to be the best person they can be and fulfil their vocation to the best of their ability.” – Eric Salley, Men’s Soccer Coach
“When we talk with our students about vocation we try to think about it in a much bigger way than what they will do for a job. We try to think of everything they do in their lives as a part of their calling.” – Dr. Helen VanWyk, Professor of Music
“It is with great intentionality that I focus on not only the content that I teach, but who it is that I teach it to, who they may become by answering God’s call on their life to become an educator, and the impact they will have in the lives of future students and colleagues. It is my strong desire that my students, both traditional and adult studies, most of whom are teacher candidates, recognize and believe that the Lord has called them to make an impact in the world through the education profession. Whether that be in a classroom with 32 students, behind the desk in a district office, or working one on one with a student with special needs, I always remind my students that the Lord will use them. He already knows where they will be placed, who they will be working with, and the influence they will have. Every child is precious to Him, and it is awesome that He chooses us teachers to speak into students’ lives, not only through academics, but through daily interactions. This is the foundation for preparing our teacher candidates for the classroom. This most often is done informally through personal conversations teachers have with students, the “hidden curriculum” that pops up constantly in a learning community, and the care for and love that is shown to each child.” – Kelly Lenarz, Coordinator of Adult Studies Special Education, Assistant Professor of Education
We are eager to help you prepare for your next transition, whether that be into Trinity, full-time employment after graduating, graduate school, or a completely new career as an alum. To help you prepare, navigate, and flourish, we offer the following services:
Career & Vocational Counseling
This encompasses a wide range of conversations, based on specific student need. We can work through questions about majors and minors, questions about what field or career could be explored within a particular major or minor, or questions about whether to go into graduate school or the workforce after graduation, to name a few. We will also help you to think more broadly about your own sense of vocation and the areas of engagement and service you feel called to beyond work.
Résumé and Cover Letter Reviews
We can start you out with guidelines about how to put together a résumé or cover letter if you are just starting out, help you update your résumé for internships and summer jobs during your years at Trinity, or help you polish your résumé for your first job hunt after graduation.
We can also help you work through any other relevant application materials including references, letters of recommendation, and graduate school admissions essays.
At times, it is helpful for some students to take an assessment to help find out where their strengths lie, narrow down a degree decision, and target a specific career path.
- We build in StrengthsFinder as an intention part of every student’s first few weeks at Trinity through the FYF curriculum. Reviewing your Top 5 Signature Themes (Strengths) helps provide insights on how to fully engage in your work as students, professionals, and community members.
- Jobzology – This assessment addresses an individual’s personality, values, interests, and workplace preferences and then provides an interactive “career match” feature based on your results. This resource is available to all Trinity students and alumni. If you are interested in taking this assessment, please contact our office for access instructions. If you have already taken it and would like to talk through your results with one of our staff members, please email us to set up an appointment!
You are welcome to set up an individual mock interview to help you prepare for a specific job opportunity. We will happily tailor the mock interview process in any way that will best help you based on your degree or the type of interview you would like to prepare for.
Job Search & Professional Skills
Schedule a time with us to talk about all aspects of the job search process. We’ll help you think through topics like how and where to search, developing networking skills, interview attire, how to navigate a career fair, and how to adjust your résumé when changing career paths.
Vocation & Career Programming
Throughout the year we partner to support a number of events on campus that address vocation, career, and advising related topics!
The Cooper Center is here to help connect you with career, internship, and part-time work opportunities.
Employers: Thanks for your interest in connecting with our students and alumni. The best method to make job and internship opportunities available to our students is by posting on Handshake. Please also view the “For Employers” tab below for additional information and options for connecting with our students.
Students and Alumni:
Handshake: Trinity has launched Handshake as a new integrated platform for job and internship opportunities. Create and develop your account for a curated list of job opportunities that connect to your areas of interests. Feel free to reach out to our office via email (email@example.com) if you need assistance exploring this resource!
College Career Consortium of Illinois: Trinity is a member of this Consortium of 18 smaller private colleges in Illinois who work together to provide career and job search opportunities for member students and alumni. The Consortium has an online career center (job board) also hold a large annual Career Fair (CareerFest) and Fall Interview Day. Please contact our office or visit the Consortium’s website for more information on connecting with this organization.
Additional Places to Perform Job Searches
- The best place to start your job search is to ask your professors for recommendations for the best sites in your particular field, or by talking to others currently working in the field. You may also talk to someone in our office about additional sources connected to your specific field of interest.
- Keep in mind that some job opportunities are not posted publicly and can only be discovered through networking and asking!
- There is also an interactive job search function within PathwayU, one of the assessments used in the Cooper Center. Contact us for access and navigation instructions.
At Trinity, we recognize that the fast-paced, global, and interconnected economy requires that students be equipped with skills that are broadly applicable across many occupations. Trinity’s curriculum and training provides students with multiple opportunities to practice and develop these vital skills, while discovering their authentic selves. However, we also see God’s calling as extending beyond just a career. God calls His people in service to church, family, neighborhood, civic, and even global communities. A Trinity education prepares students for meaningful participation in all areas these of life and service. This makes Trinity students excellent hires, and we encourage employers to get to know our students better through campus visits and employment opportunities.
Post a Job or Internship for Students & Alumni
If you are an employer who is looking to hire students or alumni for full-time professional positions, part-time professional positions, or paid internships, please utilize Handshake, our online platform that Job Board. Handshake is an online system used by colleges throughout the country. Once you’ve created account you can easily manage your own jobs and partner institutions. If you need assistance, Handshake’s help center has a number of additional resources.
Part-time Jobs for Full-time Students
If you are a local business or resident who is looking for part-time help from a college student that could be done concurrently with their classes, Trinity offers a listserv as a community service to assist with marketing these opportunities. These jobs would be seasonal lawn care; babysitting or nannying; local retail or restaurant positions; part-time office work; local churches needing youth group leaders or childcare help; volunteer opportunities in the Palos Heights community; or one-time opportunities that come may along.
Please click here to download instructions for posting to this listserv.
- Trinity offers on-campus recruiting in the Dining Hall Lobby during lunch, between 11a – 1p. Download on-campus recruiter information sheet.
- Special requests for other times may be granted on an individual basis, at the discretion of Trinity Christian College.
- If employers want to visit any classes while they are on campus, in addition to hosting a recruiting table, that must be arranged by contacting faculty directly.
- To reserve a table, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Clearly state the purpose and organization being represented.
- Offer a couple of optional dates, as the table is subject to availability.
- Any desire for reserving space beyond informational sessions (on-campus interviewing, for instance) needs to go through Events Manager at email@example.com or 708.239.4831. The Conference and Events Manager will provide rental rates.