When Jessica Polsky was a Nursing student in college in Florida, she had no idea what fate had in store for her—working at a not-for-profit, and healing others in an entirely different way.
Jessica actually started off as an intern at Met Council while pursuing her graduate degree. When she finished the internship three years ago, the director gladly offered her a position as a full-time career counselor and she has been here ever since.
Sitting in her office—full of lively Van Gogh prints—I asked Jessica question after question about her work, all to which she responded warmly and patiently. I could tell that she is great at her job as a Career Counselor at Met Council, helping domestic violence survivors as well as clients who have lost their jobs in these trying times.
Yet, a career in career counseling (J) wasn’t always on the agenda. Jessica was working as an EMT and taking nursing classes when she first started college. After taking some time off, she came back to pursue a degree in Psychology, and at the suggestion of a caring undergraduate professor, decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. Although she is not specifically a mental health counselor, Jessica notes that her mental health degree from NYU helps her a lot.
For Jessica, the best parts of working in career counseling are, “the clients, helping them, seeing their progress and networking.” She mentions this last word with a glimmer in her eye. Jessica really loves networking and sees it as a process of giving back. Jessica mentioned that “83% of job-seekers find a job through networking,” and encouraged me to network as much as possible.
With a staff of 15, Met Council’s Career Services offers clinical, career and personal counseling, educational advising, interview skills preparation, computer skills training, and much more.
In addition to all of this, the busy team is in charge of a variety of exciting programs that are offered to clients at no charge. Among these is the PIN program, which prepares foreign nurses for the RN-NCLEX through more than 160 hours of contextualized ESL education. Another program is JCC Works, which offers job training and placement for Jewish residents who meet household, low-income requirements and reside within the 5 boroughs of NYC. All of these programs are here to serve you and your community.
However, there are distinct challenges to a career search. Jessica mentioned that job-seekers sometimes come into the Career Services Center looking for employment, but give up after a couple of hours. In addition to networking and preparation, persistence and setting goals—in this case, finding a job—is key.
We all know that the job market is more competitive than ever, but you can increase your chances of getting a job by standing out from the large pool of applicants. “There are so many resumes coming in,” Jessica says. “What makes you stand out? If you are going to read a book, what is it that makes you inclined to read it? Be true to yourself and the process, no matter how tedious it is. You only need one job.” Her words ring true.
If you or anyone you know is in need of a job, please don’t hesitate to contact Met Council’s Career Services. Met Council is here to help!
-Written by Blog Intern, Mila