Career Services Offer Tools for Job Search Success
There are seven months left and an enormous amount of anxiety in tow. You have until May to figure out where you'll be living, who you're working for, and what the rest of your life (or at least the next chapter) is going to be like.
Before you start panicking about your future, all it takes is some preparation. Many schools, such as Penn State University and Rutgers University, have a Career Services department. They offer students preparation in landing not only an internship, but also a job, something important in today's economy.
Jenna Adams, a senior majoring in business at Penn State, says the Career Services department has helped her with applying to jobs.
"They have been useful in helping me prepare for interviews and career fairs," Adams said. "They have given me constructive criticism on how I can improve myself to better achieve my goals."
Adams added that the more prepared you are, the more confident you will be when applying for jobs and internships. This is extremely important when interviewing.
She's just one of many students who participate in mock interviews at Penn State. The interviews use the STAR method, which is a technique to help students do well when interviewing.
S means situation. This usually refers to an employer saying something such as "if you were in such and such situation, how would you handle it?" or "name a situation when you were the leader of a group and had a problem."
T is for task or target. This includes specifics of what's required, when, where, who, etc. It's basically the logistics of the interview and job.
A stands for action. What you did, skills that you used and the behaviors and characteristics that were noticed during the interview.
And R is the result. It's the outcome of how you did, what you did during the interview, what was good that you did and what can be fixed.
The STAR method of interviewing is extremely helpful, especially in situational interviews, Adams said.
"It shows that the interviewee is able to clearly and concisely organize their thoughts and demonstrate to the interviewer that they are competent and qualified for the position by using personal experiences."
This past month Adams applied to 10 jobs and even attended her university's career fair.
"The career fair can be hectic, crazy, and sometimes overwhelming; I have found that researching and applying to companies prior to meeting them at the career fair allows you to have a clear objective and plan of attack," she said.
Rutgers and Penn State both have an on-campus interview service. These programs allow students to find job postings for companies who are coming to the area or just looking for a position to be filled. Both universities also offer numerous workshops.
Another reason to see a career services counselor is your resume. Your experience isn't everything; you also have to have a professional resume that includes what a potential employer wants to see. Most employers do not want to see that you were a nanny for three summers or that you worked at a local grocery store, unless it pertains to your major. Career Services will offer help with what to keep, what to get rid of and how to properly lay it all out.
Amanda Ullmer, who works at Rutgers Career Services front desk, says students are missing out on a lot of resources by not taking advantage of the opportunities.
"We offer a lot of resources around the campus," she said. "Generally they may be missing information specific to their major that could really help get into grad school or for applying to jobs. Maybe they need to fine tune their resumes and cover letters, but really just being able to interact with recruiters and internships is important."
I personally have been to the Career Services department at Penn State. They helped me with my resume, figuring out what to put on it and what to leave out. From formatting to organizing, my resume looked professional. The Career Services department also gave me great advice on how to make sure my resume spoke about my experiences-beyond just being on paper. By preparing my resume for potential employers, I was able to land an internship at Fox News this past summer.
To see if your school has a Career Services department, check your school's Web site for more information.