With graduation quickly approaching, many college seniors’ schedules are packed with classes, projects, studying, meetings and squeezing in a few final memories with friends. While some allot time in this busy line-up of responsibilities for finding a job, many decide to put off the job search until graduation. Sadly, this tactic often ends in stress, anxiety and frustration when the new graduate finds difficulty landing a job within weeks of graduation day. Following the old adage “the best time to find a job is while you still have one,” college students should seize every opportunity they have while still in school (i.e. their current job) to pursue job leads, network with employers and interview for open positions. Once a student has graduated, gone are the days of career expos and interviews on-campus, company representatives speaking at their campus organization meetings and emails from the career center with job descriptions. Luckily, it is not too late for college seniors to work on beginning their careers before May graduation.
Polish Your Resume:
Make sure your resume is up-to-date by adding new part-time jobs, internships, leadership roles or industry specific skills. Work with a career center staff member
on keeping your skills descriptions attention grabbing, yet concise. Tailor your resume to each job and employer by highlighting your qualifications as they relate to the position for which you are applying.
Prepare Your Elevator Pitch: Make a positive first impression at spring career expos with a great elevator pitch. Be prepared to introduce yourself to a potential employer and explain what you are seeking, what you do and why you are the best in a brief 45-60 second spiel. A well thought out pitch will make you stand out in the sea of career hungry expo attendees.
Pursue Your Best Fit Positions: Identify the types of positions and companies that mesh best with your skill set, education and values. Rather than applying to any and every job posted, targeting specific companies and positions that fit these criteria will allow you to maximize the time spent searching and applying. Plus, you’ll up the chances of finding a job that you truly want!
Practice Your Interview Skills:
Don’t blow all of your hard work with a poor interview performance. Take advantage of opportunities to practice your interview skills through mock interviews
at the career center and by using online resources such as InterviewStream. Knowing how to effectively respond to typical interview questions will help you feel more confident when you are put in the hot seat with a potential employer.
Waiting until after graduation to find a job seems like a great idea for the busy college student who is trying to juggle a mountain of responsibilities. However, the added stress of being an unemployed graduate is not the ideal alternative. Taking the steps listed above now can position you for career success.
Visit the Auburn University Career Center website
to find out how we can help you!
Very often, it seems, conversations with students about any potential career path seem to follow a specific pattern. The student finds that over the course of their education here at Auburn their interests have changed, or perhaps they have found a new potential career path about which they are excited. We will discuss what type of work someone in the particular field might do, what types of degrees might be necessary for advancement in the field, and even potential opportunities for the student to gain more information by job shadowing or informational interviewing. At some point in the conversation, however, the student will ask the same question, sometimes in hushed tones as though to broach such a subject was somehow considered taboo: “How much money can I make?” While this is both a relevant and necessary question for anyone doing research on a potential career, it is one that is easily answered by utilizing the resources made available for all of us on the Career Center website, as well as a few other sites easily accessed on the internet.
For your convenience, I have summarized what some of the more popular resources have to offer:
Accessed via a link on the Web Resources tab of the Career Center webpage, this resource provides salary information for recent graduates of Auburn University divided by major. The most recent data is for graduates from the summer of 2012-spring of 2013. Some of the information is provided for department rather than specific major, but Auburn students should utilize this resource as a great tool for setting reasonable entry level salary expectations for their chosen career field
This handy tool provided via a link on the Career Center website allows one to search for salary date by location, occupation type, and education level. Upon entry of the relevant information, the tool will provide one with salary data for entry level positions, the median for the area specified, and the top ten percent of earners for the desired occupational field. Perhaps most useful, the tool also provides one with the salary one can expect in the market specified, which should equip a student with the information necessary for negotiating that first salary with a potential employer.
A website maintained by the U.S. Government, the Occupational Outlook Handbook provides information on a wide variety of careers, including degree requirements, expected growth, and, you guessed it, the median salary for a field. One need simply choose an occupation from an extensive list to access this information.
Having a realistic understanding of salary expectations is important, but remember that the your experience level will impact your earning potential. Do yourself a favor and take advantage of opportunities to gain relevant experience while in college to help boost your starting salary.
Written by Christopher Burkhalter
Practicum Student in the Career Center
When it comes to discerning the differences between business casual dress and business professional, one might be tempted to cry out in confusion and dismay. Fear not though, I will save your teeth from a gnashing.
Business professional attire is a staple of the interview room and more traditional workplace settings. You should assume, unless otherwise stated, that business professional is the go to attire for your interview. With that being said, you will want to begin your investment in the clothes early. Simply stated, business professional is expensive and you will want to invest in quality clothes to get the maximum wear and use.
For gentlemen we suggest dark colored suits (i.e. matching pants and jacket, not blazer and khakis. There is a time to look fresh out of the J. Crew® Summer Catalogue, this is not it), charcoal, dark grey, black, etc. The shirt should be white or light blue of a solid color, avoid patterns. Your tie should complement your shirt and not be overtly garish or flamboyant. As well it should be a regular straight tie, not a bow tie. Shoes should match your belt and socks should be of an appropriately dark and matching color. Remember the goal is to be remembered for what you said, not what you wore to the interview.
For ladies we suggest dark colored suits as well (pant or skirt suit being equally fine, but be sure the skirt is of an appropriate length.) The accompanying blouse should be conservative and modest in nature. Recall you want to be remembered for your salient and on-point responses, not your plunging neckline. Shoes should have a low heel and be conservative in color, black and nude are fine. Keep accessories to a minimum, you should not jingle as you move about.
Business casual is the go to clothing standard for many offices and professional events. However, unlike business professional, with its very clear guidelines for dress, business casual is a varying and highly particular to the specific culture present. You can look for more opportunity to express personal style and preferences, within reason. Remember it is, after all, dressing for professional engagement not leisure. Business casual can fluctuate from situation to situation and office to office, when in doubt ask someone familiar with the office or event, but to the left you will find some general assistance and advice.
For gentleman business casual can consist of a standard oxford button down, with top button unbuttoned, khakis and appropriate shoes with matching belt. The prohibition on patterns and colors present in professional dress is no longer present. In some instances, a simple golf shirt could be sufficient, but in all instances collar should be worn down, not up.
For ladies the task of defining business casual is harder still. Women’s clothing provides a great deal of variety and opportunity for showcasing personal taste and preferences. Be sure that you read company policy concerning dress as a solid resource for getting started in selecting your wardrobe. In general trousers with an appropriately styled blouse are standard. Matching accessories and shoes complete the ensemble.
For all interviews do NOT wear cologne or perfume. Antiperspirant is sufficient for odor control. You should not presume your signature scent is pleasing to all noses. If you must wear it, spritz once, wait for it to dissipate then walk through. In general, the later in the evening an engagement is, the more formal dress is typically expected to be. The more formal an event the darker the clothing selection should be. For additional inspiration see our Pinterest board, pinterest.com/aucareer