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Real world hints: Job hopefuls talk struggles, tips

Jan. 29, 2010

By Erin Nipper
Reporter

Hannah Russell isn't sure what kind of paper to print her resume out on. She is worried about looking too young, being too over accessorized or maybe not accessorized enough. She hopes that she knows enough about the job she is about to interview for.

Russell, a college senior at an Arkansas university, is on her way to her very first job interview.

"I'm not prepared to be job-less," Russell said. "After I graduate in May, if I don't have a job, I have to rely on my parents. At least I have that option for a little while. Some people don't."

Russell's degree in general studies will have emphasis in the areas of business, education and psychology. She said that she changed her major from early childhood education because there is currently no demand for teachers.

"If your major is in biology and you are not planning on going to graduate school, go ahead and apply for jobs that are not biology related," Russell said.

Many recent graduates and even future graduates are on the job hunt with little success.

Recent Baylor graduate Michele Harle completed her bachelor's degree in psychology and said she is only going to graduate school because she is unable to find a job.

Dr. John Boyd, director of Career Services for Baylor, said graduates should prepare themselves to have to "satisfice." Or, as he said, "Find another alternative."

"An art history major can go to medical school. If you're a philosophy major, getting a job in retail might not be bad, or teaching for a year," said Boyd. "Find out to see if this is what you want. It's really not that critical. You've got a long time ahead of you and you have so many options."

While Boyd said it is important not to stress, he said not to neglect the important things.

"You are facing those people who have been laid off in your same field," Boyd said. If you're the employer and you are looking at the resume of someone with five years of experience in the field and someone with none, that is a situation you have to be prepared for."

Boyd also said that the most important thing for college students to do is network.

"Network, network, network. Do not leave any stone unturned: your mother, your father, your parents' friends, anyone. It's all fair game. Find someone in that field you want to enter, who is working in the field and connect with that person. You have an immediate rapport because of your common interest."

Harle, who is currently writing essays and letters as she prepares to apply for graduate school says that she should have taken advantage of networking opportunities while she was at Baylor.

"I got turned down for internships," Harle said. She believes had she networked more she could have found an internship.

Although networking is important, Boyd said that you must show employers that you are ready for the job.

"Sell yourself, what did you do with yourself? It's up to the individual. What did you make of [your time in college]?" he said.

Many freshman and sophomores believe that the job hunt only begins to affect them during their junior or senior year. Boyd said that as soon as you declare your major, begin planning for the future.

"Internships, study abroad, gain an international internship, be active in clubs or organizations related to your area of interest and never cease to network!" Boyd said.

Baylor offers a Career Prep Series that covers everything from writing a resume to transitioning from college to your first job.

Mock interviews will be held on campus on Feb. 3 and 4, and job fairs begin on Feb. 10. Students can sign up at www.hireabear.com.