Ten helpful tips for graduating seniors
Graham Johnson, Staff Reporter
May 8, 2012
Filed under Campus
Carthage College will be saying goodbye to some fine students this May. Among other things, graduating seniors will be pondering over ways to get jobs, manage their money wisely, and maintain healthy lifestyles. The Current interviewed Jason Pruitt, director of Career Services’ “Life After Carthage” program, who had some much-needed advice for our dearly departing seniors.
1. What are some things students forget to put on their resumes that are important to include?
“Extracurricular activities and study abroad experience. They always include job experience because they think that success is measured by money. But employers often look for applicants who demonstrate leadership skills and the kind of global thinking that J-Term trips provide.”
2. How should seniors decide whether to continue their education, or to get a job immediately after graduation?
“It depends on their long-term career plans. If they desire a career, which requires graduate education, they should apply to grad school. If they want to take a year or two off to gain professional work experience, they should apply for jobs that are applicable to their chosen field. Students also need to keep in mind that they will need to start paying back student loans 6 months after graduation if they do not go directly from undergraduate to graduate study.”
3. What can seniors do to avoid stress during this transitory phase?
“The basics: eating right, exercising, and having realistic goals. It can take weeks and months to find a job, so no one should panic if they do not get hired overnight.”
4. What industries out there are currently hiring?
“Computer Science, Accounting, and Finance. Even if they didn’t major in management, people who are exploring career options should apply for management level positions because they offer a wide skill set. Places like Enterprise-Rent-A-Car and Walgreens often hire anyone with a bachelor’s degree as part of their management training programs.“
5. What is the best strategy for students who majored in a field that is not currently hiring?
“They should evaluate their skill set, and see how a liberal arts education may have provided them to think critically and solve problems. Then they should utilize these skills as a guide to look for opportunities in classifieds or on Monster.com. They may also want to think about temping or signing up for volunteer projects to broaden their resume.”
6. How should graduating seniors manage their personal finances?
“Plan a budget based on the costs they will incur over the next few years (rent, utilities, groceries, etc.). Choose an apartment that you can realistically afford, and avoid wasteful spending. If you workout, choose a gym with a membership plan that works.
7. What is the most common question students ask you, and what do you tell them?
“How do I conduct a job search? It is more than submitting a resume online. You have to market yourself through cover letters and through social media. Ask friends and acquaintances if they are aware of any job openings.”
8. Should students be worried that a mistake they make at this stage in life will doom them to failure?
“No, it is a myth that if someone makes a wrong choice during their career it automatically prevents them from achieving their dreams. Each of us makes good decisions and bad decisions, but it is how we choose to deal with failure that determines if we will achieve a career that we love.”
(Career Service’s Jean Frederick pointed out that we all change jobs 3-5 times in our lifetimes)
9. Career Services is one place that students can look to for support. Who else can we ask for career advice?
“Faculty who are mentors, site supervisors at internships, and even your parents. At Carthage we have a strong support system, and the entire Carthage community is here to help.”
10. What can students do to stay motivated and keep their spirits up?
“Have realistic expectations and always reevaluate your goals. If you are bored in a job, focus on getting your tasks done on time, then ask your boss if you can take on new responsibilities. Being proactive at work can help you gain new experience that will help you in the long run. They also have to remember to be patient. Their dreams will happen and they will appreciate it when they do.”