MELISSA CHICKER — News Writer
As Southern seniors come closer and closer to that graduation date, it sets in; there will be no more professors to guide you, no more Thursday nights with your roommates, and no more living off your parent’s money. The real world is calling and that means getting a job in the career you have worked for four years to obtain.
The last semester can be a difficult time; sending out resumes, applying for jobs, and trying to finish an undergraduate degree can be very stressful, but there are tips and guidance for students who may be overwhelmed by the process.
“Over the last year we have seen 5,000 students and a large percentage of those are graduating seniors,” said Patricia Whelan, associate director of Career Services on campus.
Career Services Center helps to develop and provides recourse and services for Southern students who are trying to reach their career objectives. They also help students prepare to find jobs that are best for them.
The center offers one-on-one appointments, workshops, a computer lab and resource library, full-time and part-time jobs and help in the job search process.
“Employers that we work with hire students because of their background and work experience–because some do work on campus,” said Whelan. “I think if students work with us and use faculty members as recourse since they know the most about their students and their majors, there is a lot we can do to help them.”
When soon-to-be graduating seniors are in need of assistance, Whelan said the Career Center has many option to offer. Students nearing graduation can come to the center to find out if there is any work available in their major and to get help reviewing and refining their resumes, cover letters, and references.
They also can help when students are preparing for job interviews. The Career Center offers mock interviews for students to help them practice what employers will ask and how a student should present him or herself. This way they can be offered proper feedback and improve for the real interview.
Whelan said when going on an interview, it is always important to ask the employer questions and to not be afraid to follow up after the interview is complete.
“Most students are afraid to follow up after an interview is over,” she said. “They don’t want to seem like a bother to the person who interviews them.”
Whelan also said networking yourself on websites like LinkedIn can gear you towards a more professional networker. Resumes also should be tailored to the specific job one is applying for.
“During job search you need to stay organized, so don’t blanket your resume to the job you are applying for. Also, stay organized by keeping a spreadsheet of places, dates, names you have applied for,” she said.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers Research, for the class of 2011 the job market is off to a positive start. According to their site, in the spring of 2010, employers reported that they would end the recruiting year by hiring 5.3 percent more new graduates in 2009-10 then they did in 2008-09.
Warren Kwan is the regional recruiter for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. He recruits in the New Haven area as well as Fairfield County, the Greater Danbury area, and Westchester County, NY. Kwan attends Southern’s Career Fair along with 100 other employers from around the state of Connecticut.
“We look for recruiters who display hardworking ability, intelligence and have good communication skills,” he said. “We also look at the behaviors you presented in your college career and how they would transfer over to an actual career. We know they can tell us how they would work but we want to see it also.”
Kwan said that in the past Enterprise has hired nine Southern alumni and that it’s not about how much experience you have but what you have done with experiences that many recent graduate lack.
“A lot of recent graduates don’t have a lot of experience to talk about, but that doesn’t rule them out,” said Kwan. “The hands-on experience can be found while still in college. Whether it is in a classroom, coursework, talking with professors or through part-time jobs students may have, we look at all aspects; we are an equal opportunity company.”
One of the things Whelan said recent hires demonstrate is the ability to work in a professional atmosphere.
“Students need to understand they are in the workplace; they shouldn’t be there texting on their phones all day. They need to be professional,” she said.
According to the Connecticut Labor Market in the State of Connecticut, there are many jobs for students that are in demand. Computer Software Engineers, teachers and registered nurses are just some of the jobs in high demand around the state–many of which Southern offers as majors for students.