By Destiny Caster
As graduation approaches, the excitement and anticipation of completing your college journey can be overshadowed by the looming question: “What’s next?” Landing a job after graduation is a significant step in your career path, and while the process may seem daunting, with the right strategies and preparation, you can increase your chances of securing a great position in the field you want to go into.
CI has a variety of useful resources to guide you in your next steps after graduating and it starts with you taking the first step. One resource that every currently enrolled stateside student has access to is Career Development and Alumni Engagement (CDAE). CDAE offers one to one career counseling (virtual and in-person) to students and alumni on a variety of topics such as resume building, mock interview, job search and so much more. They also host a variety of events throughout the year such as Speedy Resume Review Event with Recruiters, Career Fair Best Practices by Alumni, and the Career and Internship Fair.
The Career and Internship Fair is in-person on Oct. 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the John Spoor Broome Library Plaza. If you are interested in looking at different career options, want to build connections and network, or are looking a job for post-graduation, then the Career and Internship Fair is the place for you.
To help you prepare for the Career and Internship fair, The CI View reached out to the assistant director of career development, Sherilyn Ashena, and the director of career success initiatives in the MVS school of business and economics, Jessica Muth for some advice on career readiness and tips on how to find a job post-graduation.
One of the challenges that graduates have faced when finding a job is not coming to the CDAE for career assistance. “The trouble with this is that it can take up to 6 months to find a job. But if students can come and see us before they graduate to work on their resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and interview skills, as well as job search strategies, then hopefully, this will help them begin getting interviews and hopefully a job sooner,” Ashena shared. It can be discouraging when you first start out looking for jobs, but the CDAE is here to help you before and after you graduate.
Self-Exploration and Career Exploration
The first step in finding a job is getting to know yourself and being able to communicate your skills and accomplishments to employers. Set up a meeting with a career counselor at the CDAE to get assistance with your first steps of career development. Here are some great self-exploration and career exploration resources you can use to start your search before meeting with the career center:
- Career OneStop – Video collection to learn about careers, industries, skills and abilities or work options and education levels.
- Focus2 – A self-guided career, major and education planning system.
- ONet OnLine – You can discover soft and hard skills to identify an occupation or industry to explore.
- 16 Personalities – MBTI-like personality assessment
If you are still unsure about the career or industry you want to pursue or what skills you need, that is okay. You can still meet with the career center for either a virtual or in-person appointment to discuss different options and while doing so, you can learn more about creating a professional online presence.
In today’s digital age, having a professional online presence is crucial. Ensure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and polished. “It’s really important to have a presence on LinkedIn (and Handshake),” Muth shared. LinkedIn is a professional networking site where you can find jobs, connect with other professionals and learn skills through LinkedIn Learning. Handshake is a platform specifically for college students to find jobs, learn about career fairs and similar events and set up meetings with the career center for career assistance. You can meet with a career counselor to go over your LinkedIn and Handshake profiles and tailor it to best represent your professional self.
In Muth’s BUS 411 Career Readiness course, students can learn how to set up a LinkedIn profile, tailor their resumes, practice mock interviews and learn how to network. Networking is a powerful tool when it comes to job hunting. There are many opportunities to network with industry professionals, both in-person and virtually. “With networking, it’s like leveraging any opportunity you have to connect with professionals in your desired area,” Muth explained.
One networking opportunity that you can leverage is the Career and Internship Fair. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to talk to employers and see what you can expect from different industries. It is a low-stake and high-reward opportunity for you to learn more about several types of careers and to connect with industry professionals.
Another networking opportunity is Dolphin Connect, “which is our online Dolphin Mentor Network where students can connect with mentors,” shared Ashena. “This platform is for students, alumni, and community partners. Dolphin Connect is a way for students to connect with those who share their background, interests, or other affiliations and access exclusive job offers.” You can ask to chat with alumni or community partners and see how they started out or even ask to look at their resume to see what they did.
Resumes and Cover Letters
Your resume and cover letter are your first points of contact with potential employers. Tailor your resume to highlight relevant experiences, skills, and achievements that match the job you are applying for. No two resumes are alike. It takes time to go through every single job description and to match the language on your resume. If you have one copy of your original resume to duplicate and tailor, it will help you save time and energy when applying to jobs. For cover letter help, you can go to the career center to get assistance on how to make your cover letter shine to hiring managers when you apply.
Be Persistent and Stay Positive
Remember that your first job after graduation might not be your dream job, and that’s okay. Be open to new experiences, and view each job as a stepping-stone in your career journey. Job hunting can be challenging, but maintaining a positive attitude and staying persistent will help you overcome obstacles and land the job that’s right for you. The post-graduation job hunt is a process that requires preparation, resilience, and adaptability.
“We know that students and graduates are more likely to find positions when they’ve had previous internships and other experiential learning opportunities throughout their college experience,” Ahsena stated. “Internships are a primary recruiting strategy for employers and a method for students to gain valuable career experience. CDAE can assist with finding and preparing for these opportunities. Come by and see us to get the process started!”
For more information about career readiness and career exploration, you can visit: https://www.csuci.edu/careerdevelopment/ and if you are interested in networking with potential employers come to the Career and Internship Fair on Oct. 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the John Spoor Broome Library Plaza.