The Career Center is home to professional development as its mission is to aid students in career exploration and discovery. Located beneath the UCR Bookstore, Career Center has officially launched its next project — R’Professional Photo Booth. Open from Monday to Friday between the hours of 11 A.M. – 3 P.M., the photo booth requires no appointment and encourages students to utilize it to present their best selves on online platforms.
The Highlander sat down with Michelle Gomez, Career Center’s Associate Director of Employer Relations, to gain further insight into the new project.
“I would say through my work with R’Professional Career Closet, we’d get requests from student organizations that were looking to us for a headshot service. [They] had difficulty accessing [a headshot service] on campus and we didn’t have a place to refer them to,” stated Gomez when asked how the project was first thought of. “Kai Buckner really was the one who brought this [Photo Booth] to our team as a potential project to provide for students.”
Kai Buckner, Career Center’s Industry Outreach Specialist for Business & Operations, also commented about her initial thoughts when creating the idea. “[I] know the value of having a professional photo on LinkedIn or Handshake as students begin to navigate their professional careers. It will be such an incredible opportunity for students to enhance their social media presence.”
After receiving a sponsorship from Alliance Partner, Enterprise, the Photo Booth soon became a reality with the help of vendor Simple Booth as one of the final steps to implement the project. The R’Professional Photo Booth is a self-serving station where students can email themselves their professional headshots, as well as use any professional attire the Career Center offers for the picture.
“We are trying to collaborate with R’Professional Career Closet interns as there is so much overlap over the services they provide for professional images,” said Gomez.
Showcasing your best, professional self online has become a need, as stated by Gomez. “There’s a lot behind a digital image. Having that confidence when you’re making a first impression [online] is important.”
Sean Gil, Director of Career Center, commented on the helpfulness of the Photo Booth for students. “Because some students cannot afford professional headshots, this is about giving our students access to professional photos. And that’s why this booth is such an important addition to the UCR Career Center.”
When asked about the future goals of the Photo Booth, Gomez hopes to outreach to different organizations and departments on campus to increase student engagement at Career Center. With a similar viewpoint on growing the new project, Buckner said, “I think for me right in the short term is spreading the word to students that the photo booth is open and available for use. Long term, it would be wonderful if we are able to expand our reach to campus organizations and have these organizations sign up during their membership meetings.”
Not only wishing to expand to campus organizations but both Gomez and Buckner expressed their desire to move the Photo Booth to Career Center career fairs and other professional development events to promote accessibility for students on campus. The addition of the Photo Booth at events could also assist with building student engagement and encourage those to seek other Career Center resources.
“There are other features that the equipment has that can display a live feed of pictures, either professional headshots or showcasing the event,” said Gomez when describing the Photo Booth’s functionality at in-person events.
For final thoughts, Gomez affirms that the Photo Booth could help students jump into different conversations, whether they be about improving their LinkedIn profiles or job search-related questions when visiting Career Center. “[I hope it] gets students exposed to the Career Center and [that they] take advantage of our resources.”
Buckner expressed her gratitude towards Enterprise, Career Center’s long standing Alliance Partner as they aided in the process of building the Photo Booth from beginning to end. “I’m grateful to the team at Enterprise Holdings for their generous contribution to the Photo Booth. They have really been a fantastic supporter of UCR students.”
For more information about Career Center resources, visit careers.ucr.edu.