Career Advice from Trudy Kunkel

photoWe had the opportunity to talk to Trudy Kunkel, a professor from the Government Department here on campus. She has more than 27 years of experience in the law enforcement field, 7 years as a fire marshal, and has been a recruiter for many years as well. You could say that she’s seen it all!

We asked her a few questions on how to improve students’ career development, what recruiters look for, and what you should do based on her experience. Here are the great answers we got.

Q: What could students be better at in a job interview?

Trudy: Many candidates lack that eye contact, face to face communication skills. Get some customer service skills on top of your education, or related career job. Make sure you practice those intrapersonal skills that are also a huge asset in job interviews.

Q: How should a candidate approach the salary/benefit negotiation?

Trudy: For police officers the salaries are mostly set but you can always look at other things like equipment such as cars, radar, amenities, tasers, digital cameras etc. Competition between police departments is huge and they might be willing to offer better equipment that might make your job way easier and comfortable.

Q: How should candidates approach a career fair?

Trudy: It is a great opportunity to meet face to face with potential employers, and to use that opportunity to act, be professional, and dress professional etc. because it is all about that first impression. Go to career fairs like if you were going to a job interview because you never know what might happen!

Q: How you should present yourself in the law enforcement area:

Trudy: Same as business, wear a suit, look professional and have a resume ready just in case although most of the police departments have their own application processes.

Q: What is important as a freshman all the way to graduation:

Trudy: It is important have contact with your advisor, build relationships with faculty and more people since they will be able to write those letters of recommendation, act as references etc. and they can also be a great support and resource for you. So connect with professors or advisors so you can be more successful and get that help you might need in the future to stay in school or even graduate. In law enforcement, there are background checks that consist of people coming to the school and talk to advisors, professors etc. so it is important you keep those relationships and networks close so they can benefit you in the future. Meet in person with your professors and advisors instead of just emailing, texting etc. and follow-up with them! You never know when you will need that letter of recommendation…

Q: What do MNSU students have compared to other schools that make them better?

Trudy: MNSU students tend to have a better work ethic; they mostly come from the Midwest. They are polite and pleasant and know how to act professionally. It is all about the Minnesota Nice.

Q: What students should do to boost their chances of getting a job right after graduation?

Trudy: Try to get an internship, volunteer as much as you can if you can’t get a one or even if you already have an internship. Prove employers that you don’t have to get paid for to get things that really need to get done, done. Volunteer in things that are related or that can provide you with skills related to your career if possible.

Q: Things to look for when looking for a job:

Trudy: Recruiters look at your social media profiles so make sure they look professional or are private so no one can see your profiles. Remember that anything that gets posted on social media stays there forever. Intrapersonal skills, take classes you are afraid of because you never know what you might learn…

Make sure you take her advice to boost your career! If you have something you would like to contribute or know of some faculty member or person that could provide the Career Development Center with great advice regarding career development, feel free to get in contact with us through email (, phone (507-389-6061), or stopping by our office (209 Wigley Administration).

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