By Casey Domski
NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – According to The National Center for Education Statistics 1,606,000 students at the bachelor’s degree level will graduate college in 2014. And what’s the number one question on just about all of those students’ minds? “Will I find a Job?”
While many people say that the economy is down and that jobs are harder than ever to find, not all hope is lost for upcoming graduates.
The truth is that many students who graduate college have great success in finding not just a job after graduation, but a career. According to the September 2013 issue of NACE’s Salary Survey, the average starting salary offer to a bachelor’s degree candidate is $45,327. Not a bad start for someone just entering the work force.
Angie VanEvery, business major at Robert Morris University, said that with graduation fast approaching, her main concern is finding one of these decent earning careers.
“It’s scary,” expressed VanEvery. “Not knowing if I will find a job that I will be able to support myself with is my main concern.”
VanEvery said that her hope is that her college experiences will help her in building an impressive resume to attract potential employers.
“Building my resume has been tough,” she said. “It’s hard to make sure that you’re taking advantage of enough college experiences to include on your resume that will hopefully attract potential employers.”
VanEvery’s concerns are similar to the concerns of just about any upcoming graduate. For some graduates finding success after graduation is easy, but for others it takes time and patience.
Steven Yusko, a recent Penn State graduate, advises all students to take advantage of internship opportunities while in school.
“Do an internship, required or not,” said Yusko. “They open up more opportunities than people realize.”
Yusko landed a job directly after gradation due to his impressive work at an internship for a local IT company throughout his junior and senior year at Penn State New Kensington.
Yusko stressed that applying for a job that you are truly passionate about will yield the best results.
“Find a job that you love,” said Yusko. “Not one that pays the most; if you hate your job you’re not really being successful after graduation.”
Not all graduates have the same success as Yusko following graduation, and many are forced to conduct months of hard job searching before finding success.
Recent Kaplan Career Institute graduate Zachary Mullaney said that he feels patience is key after graduation.
“When I first graduated I got so frustrated that I wasn’t finding a job,” said Mullaney. “I finally got a call back and ended up taking the first place that called me; I absolutely hated the job.”
Mullaney said patience is what ended up getting him his dream job.
“Eventually after months of applying for positions I got a call back from a job that I really wanted,” he said. “If I had just been patient, and waited for all my searching to pay off, I could have saved myself a lot of headaches and stress.”
Mullaney recommends that all students approaching graduation start their job search early.
“I love my job now,” expressed Mullaney. “The biggest thing after graduation is committing to the job search and being patient. I advise all students to start building their resumes and applying for jobs before graduation and not just waiting until they graduate and expecting one to show up.”
Another important skill for students approaching graduation to master is interviewing. Just about every job in today’s working world requires an interview, so knowing proper interviewing etiquette and techniques is a big help in landing a job.
Emily Miller, the recruiting operations center screener for SWPA at PNC, said that she looks for strong interpersonal skills when she’s interviewing job candidates.
“Interpersonal skills are important for any position,” said Miller. “Even if the position is not working with customers or clients, workers need to be able to voice their thoughts effectively.”
Miller advises all students to take advantage of classes focused on professional communication skills.
“If your campus offers a course built around interviewing and professional communication, take it,” stressed Miller. “Many people think that interviewing is easy, but it’s not. It takes practice and a lot of learning to master.”
Although many students choose to jump right into the work force following graduation, some students may be considering to further education in graduate programs.
Maria Gerardi, a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, expressed the importance of being committed before going into a master’s program at any school.
“My best advice would be to make sure that you are ready to commit a substantial amount of time to a master’s program,” stressed Gerardi.
Gerardi said that grad school is really more of a lifestyle, so you want to make sure that you are in the right mindset and that you are doing something that you truly enjoy.
As far as finding employment goes, Gerardi said that networking is crucial.
“No job is just going to find you, so you need to put yourself out there,” said Gerardi. “If you find a position you are interested in, don’t be afraid to reach out and learn more information about it.”
Gerardi feels that building connections is all part of the job searching process.
“Building a personal connection with employers is the easiest way to land an interview,” said Gerardi. “Also, don’t be afraid to conduct ‘informal interviews’ where you reach out to an employer and find out what he or she does,” she explained.
Any student looking to get ahead after graduation should check out their college campuses career services office for advice and help in finding success after graduation.
Penn State New Kensington offers a variety of services to students who are approaching graduation in their campuses http://nk.psu.edu/StudentServices/CareerServices/careers.htm office. Career Services offers a variety of services including individual career counseling, resume and cover letter writing, interviewing help, and offers job/internship postings to students. For a full list of services please visit the Career Services page on the Penn State New Kensington website.