September 20, 2017  

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Jones Returns to USM, Helps Students Get on Track in Job Search

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Paige Jones

A former University of Southern Mississippi track star has hit the ground running in a new role with her alma mater.

Paige Jones, a 2014 USM graduate, recently joined Southern Miss Career Services as its job location and development coordinator. Her responsibilities include helping students find off-campus part-time jobs, assisting with resumes/cover letters, budget management and planning part-time jobs fairs, among other duties.

The Pass Christian, Miss. native worked with AmeriCorps for two years in Buffalo and New Orleans before joining the USM staff.

“I saw this position as an opportunity to start a career in higher education, which is what I've always wanted to do, and at the place that was my home for four of the best years of my life,” Jones said.

When it comes to preparing students for jobs, Jones says Career Services has many tools and strategies to assist them, from resume builders to social media reviews. “We go over interviewing techniques, the language to use, and provide tips to help them be as successful as possible,” Jones said.

“On and off campus jobs get posted to our site, so they are available to students. I hope to help create that bridge so students don't think they have to do everything by themselves when it comes to that part of their college career.”

A new software system acquired by Career Services – “Handshake”- is another tool being utilized to help employers and students connect for job opportunities. Employers can make an account through the system, and post their job opportunities for students to view.

“It (Handshake) will look a lot like Facebook, so I think it will be a huge success. I also do online searches for part time jobs in the area for our students, and reach out to employers in-person to see if they would like to post to our site,” Jones said. “They shouldn't be surprised if I stop by to visit with them during the day.”

Jones said a majority of USM students also work, and with their academic obligations it’s critical that they find a good balance that allows them to succeed in both. However, she said doing both helps students gain time management skills, and gives them an extra sense of responsibility as they gain work experience. “These are all traits employers will look for when students seek careers after graduation,” she said.

Jones also advises students to create and maintain a good relationship with their employer and professors. “They’ve been in your shoes, and they can help you when they know that you need it,” she said. “I'm not saying they’ll take it easy on you, but they will understand. Having them on your side will make a huge difference in your success.”

A scholar-athlete at USM, Jones majored in mass communications and journalism with an emphasis in public relations. She was named Female Athlete of the Year as a senior, served on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and pledged the Iota Kappa Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

“We’re thrilled to have Paige working on our staff to connect students with the numerous employers in our area who post part-time jobs with us,” said Rusty Anderson, director of Career Services. “She will play a key role in facilitating this process.”

Students who need assistance with part-time employment should contact Jones at paige.jones@usm.edu. For more information about the Office of Career Services, visit https://www.usm.edu/career-services.