May 25, 2024

Graduation is around the corner and seniors across campus are biting their nails in anticipation of taking the next step in their careers. 

As students prepare to walk across the stage, there are some things they should be aware of as they get ready to jump into the workforce. 

Bethany Anich, career counselor at the Career Center, shared her expertise on how students tend not to prepare for interviews. 

After conducting more than 250 mock interviews, there was something that stuck out in most student’s interviews that didn’t go so well. 

Most students got stuck on the first question of almost every interview, which is the tell us about yourself question. 

She shared that this vague question was something nearly every student saw coming but didn’t spend the time rehearsing their answers. 

“I think the number one thing is that students don’t actually realize that you can actually prepare for an interview. If you haven’t had that much experience in an interview, you tend to think that I’m just going to have to go in blind, they’ll ask me a question, and I’ll do my best to think on my feet,” Anich said. “Sometimes that happens, but you can actually prepare for it because if you don’t prepare for it, you’re super nervous, you’re stressed out, and you can’t think very clearly because there’s so much anxiety in your brain. ”

Besides preparation, students must constantly be aware of current resume expectations, as employers are constantly changing their standards for what they want to see on new applications.

“Resumes used to be really verbose. Super wordy paragraphs and a lot of recruiters and employers don’t like that,” Anich said. “There’s a tendency in the past where people put everything they’d ever done, from my high school job at Wendy’s to my college rec center job and now my internship. So we’ve seen in the last several years a shift to put what’s relevant. Not that your experience is not important, but it is irrelevant to what you’re applying for now. You want to tailor your resume.”

There is also merit to creating several different resumes for different types of jobs, especially for students who are open to multiple industries of work. 

Certain buzzwords and phrases will work better for one field as opposed to another, which is why one resume often isn’t enough. 

Megan Madrigal, senior English major, shared her anxieties about graduating and what she was worried about as she went off on her own. 

“Of course, just like anywhere else, I’m worried about finding a good, secure job as quickly as I can because I want to be able to be independent as much as I can after graduation because I’ve been set up to believe that after college I will be more directed towards stability and independence,” Madrigal said.

Other students, such as Audrey Smith, creative writing major, have committed themselves to higher education, and are taking steps necessary to ensure that they will be accepted into the grad school they want. 

“I’ve been preparing by applying for grad school and even thinking about what schools to attend for a potential PhD,” Smith said. “I’ve also been pouring even more time into my academics because I want to finish strong.”

Regardless of how students are preparing for the next step in their career, if students are unable to get internships for their expected job field, there are ways to beef up their resume without them. 

“Use the organizations that you’re a part of. Use your outside jobs. I’m a big proponent for students who think that their fast-food experience or their retail experience helps them in their future jobs. It really does,” Anich said. “You’re growing those interpersonal skills; you’re growing those problem-solving skills that you’re pretty much going to need in every job. Can you communicate that on your resume? ”

 One of the most important aspects of applying for a job is having a robust LinkedIn page. 

A recurring theme among employers is the interest in transferrable skills that could be used across different fields. Anich mentioned that solid writing skills were one of the top three skills that employers liked to see.

The job searching process doesn’t need to be perceived as a stressful ordeal; students should enjoy the process and come into each interview with an open mind and a smile on their faces.

“Entering every single experience that you have with humility and knowing there’s something for me to learn here, whether this interview works out or not, we trust that God has a plan for each of us,” Anich said. “I’m going to go and see what I can learn and how I can serve this organization if this is where God wants me to be.”

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