BY EMMA SMITH
Hunting for a job in today’s climate is tough. With businesses looking for experience and Master’s degrees, the average college graduate is having a harder time finding employment. So, when I decided last spring to graduate this December, I spent the first couple of months freaking out. I didn’t have a business degree or a Masters and graduate school wasn’t in my immediate future. Then August came and I realized that I needed to start my search immediately.
I began scouring the Internet with sites like monster.com and hotjobs.com but they yielded only a few hits and no returned phone calls. I spent some time on Craigslist and found even fewer hits and more scams than you could shake a stick at.I realized I needed to get serious about my search.
“A recent study of more than 13,000 graduating students found that those who used the career center and its resources were more likely to report job search success than their friends who decided to go it alone,” said the 2009 issue of the Job Choices for Science, Engineering, & Technology Students publication.
I started my job as a Peer Career Advisor in Career Services mid-September and I quickly realized through the training process that there would be more to finding a job than just picking it out of a binder and applying. Those sessions helped me understand that Career Services should have been my first step – not my last. Resumes had to be written and rewritten, cover letters had to be made for each individual application and, of course, there was the interview process to go through.
I soon began sending out feelers to different businesses. Through Career Services, I gained access to a site called eRecruiting.com, which, much like monster.com, posts jobs online. These listings are different though, the employers who post are often targeting UMW students, however, these listings are not accessible to just anyone. This site is available only if you have a registration code; something that Career Services can provide for you. They can also help you rewrite your resume, give you access to several very helpful online job sites, talk you through cover letters, free of charge.
Their service is paid for by our tuition. If you think about it, why wait until after graduation and spend hundreds of dollars to get someone else to help, when you can do it now for free? That’s a no brainer.
So I began hearing back from jobs, many of them still saying no, but at least I was starting to get somewhere. I had several meetings with career counselors to work on cover letters for applications and spent plenty of time in the office looking through the job binders. Then I found out about Career Day, which is happening today in Great Hall and got a list of the businesses coming to the fair. On that list was GEICO. I looked them up and applied online for one of their positions. I figured it was a shot in the dark and at this point with the slipping economy, I would be lucky to find anything.
The economy is something that has everyone, including me, worried. With stocks falling and the next several months looking uncertain, I worry about my entire class finding jobs.
We need to be serious about the job search, because unless your parents own a multi-million dollar company and that job is a sure thing, you may have to start worrying about where our next meal is coming from.
Therefore, my words of advice to the Class of 2009, as well as the other classes, are to start looking, and start looking now. I was lucky enough to hear back from GEICO and I will be going in for a second interview sometime in the next week, but for the rest of you who aren’t graduating in December and have those few extra months in the Spring, go to Career Services and start working on this issue now instead of worrying about it and leaving it till the last minute. Work on that resume, make some connections, learn what is available in your field of choice, because all of these things are crucial to you finding a job in today’s tight market and with over 900 students graduating from Mary Washington alone this spring, it’s going to be quite the competition.