I thought I had my mind made up. With a lawyer father and an unhealthy obsession with Legally Blonde, my 11-year-old self was set in her ways of becoming the next Elle Woods. Fast forward a decade: there I was registering for the LSAT, commuting to Philadelphia to attend an LSAT preparation course that required nine hours of instruction per week and eight hours of homework. I was going through the motions of what appeared to be an imminent destiny. And then, like suddenly awakening from a bad dream, something clicked. I don’t want to do this for the rest of my life.
So… now what? Although it’s unfortunate, many of us unassuming seniors have these moments of enlightenment as graduation approaches. In times like this, it is important to start the job search as soon as possible.
A very useful option that will assist you throughout the stages of the job search is your university’s general career center. This student-minded resource reviews and revises your resume with you, tailoring it to your career prospects to help you stand out from the pack. The career center also provides students with interview tips, cover letter suggestions and methods for narrowing down potential career directions.
For those in specialized areas of study, you are provided with additional resources as well. At the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business, for example, the OCD (Office of Career Development) was created to set up workshops about interviews, give corporate presentations and review resumes. The OCD also arranges dinners, meet-and-greets and other events in order to assist students in connecting with potential future employers. Michigan senior and business school student Rachel Sawa said she is “120% sure” that the Ross School of Business resources have been extremely beneficial in her job search, making a somewhat grueling process more manageable and “so much easier.”
In today’s job market, however, we do find that snagging a career right out of college can be difficult. According to University of Michigan alumnus Josh Friedman, the job search was a very long one that began in the summer 2010 before his senior year and resulted in a job in July 2011. Friedman used a range of resources, from LinkedIn connections to University of Michigan alumni to family friends, persevering through the disappointments that are inevitable with today’s job search. In the early summer of 2011, he was contacted by a recruiter from a legal firm in New York City, and, after two rounds of interviews, he received a job offer and began just a couple weeks later.
Although there are many options that facilitate the job search, in the end, it really rests on you. Without the self-motivation to be diligent with your applications, ready for interviews and relentless in your efforts (don’t get discouraged when you get rejected… it happens to everyone!), no amount of university guidance will be able to find you a job. In today’s troublesome job market climate, it’s very important to put yourself in a position where your application showcases your skills and is in the hands of potential employers early.
So good luck and get workin!
Photo: Hilda at Girl In Your World