Campus services crucial for job-seekers

Despite the inevitable fear of post-graduate unemployment looming over college students’ heads, the future seems bright for those at the College.

“97 percent of (those sampled in) the class of 2012 either had full-time employment or graduate school within six months,” said Debra Klokis, employer relations specialist at the College’s Career Center and liaison to the school of Business. “And that was either (from the Career Center) or their faculty member.”

But a statistic like that takes preparation and effort. Many students at the College are proactive in the job or internship search, utilizing resources available at the Career Center like career workshops, résumé reviews, mock interviews and appointments with career counselors.

“Having experience on other campuses, this is one of the busiest career centers I’ve ever had experience with, because there’s just so many students who are using our resources,” Klokis said.

Junior psychology and special education double major Gladys Wu found the Career Center’s online résumé-review service to be extremely helpful.

“I submitted it into the website and then within, like, two days, they would return it (and) they would tell you what you should do,” Wu said.

Students can also make use of LionsLink, the College’s online recruitment program where employers can post job listings and recruit students. Wu, who aspires to be a special education teacher, frequently checks for new job openings on LionsLink.

“(LionsLink) might open my eyes to some other places, like schools,” Wu said. “Usually what I do is I look at the schools that they list … and then I look at what else they offer and connections and stuff. I use my resources.”

Some students receive notice of job openings through an academic department or a professor. Senior English major Alex Kim learned of an internship at Brainerd Communications, a communications consultant group, through a mass email from his accounting professor.

In addition to using online resources, Klokis emphasized the importance of attending networking events, whether hosted by both the Career Center or individual student organizations.

“Not all of the opportunities are always posted,” Klokis said. “(Networking events) are great ways for students to get one-on-one interaction, ask questions, find out more about the company, as well as internship opportunities.”

The Fall Opportunities Fair, which will take place on Friday, Oct. 4 in the Recreation Center, is a great way to network, Klokis said. A variety of companies and organizations will be in attendance, including Johnson & Johnson, Goldman Sachs and the FBI.

Amee Patel, a junior finance major, began her internship search at a past Opportunities Fair, where she networked with recruiters. She now works as a co-op student for Johnson & Johnson and hopes to stay with the company after graduation.

“Everyone is so nice and friendly and are very invested in our future and seeing us grow,” Patel said. “I’m learning so much about (Johnson & Johnson) that I didn’t know before, and I’m making all of these connections that I hope to carry with me beyond those six months.”

After a student has found a company or organization of interest, it is up to the student to prepare, practice and discover ways to stand out to potential employers.

“First thing I did (after getting an interview) was buy a nice matching suit,” Patel said. “It cost a little bit of money, but it definitely gave me the confidence.Sometimes I would also look up interview questions and practice talking to myself in the mirror. It was kind of awkward at first, but I think it helped me to see what my expressions were like.”

Sometimes standing out is as simple as following a hobby or a passion.

“Try to make yourself stand out from everyone else,” Kim said. “My friend recently got hired because his résumé apparently stood out to the employers. He had recently tried to start his own company, albeit failure, it showed initiative.”

But the most important step, Klokis believes, is just to get involved and get started. Whether a student is a beginner or a seasoned veteran at job-hunting, the Career Center is open to offer guidance and support.

“We are just here to be a partner with the students in their career decision making,” Klokis said. “Don’t be afraid to come in to us at Roscoe West, because we’d be happy to help.”