Beginning a new position after years of schooling can be a difficult transition for alumni. For most students, the stress of a new semester is all consuming and often trumps the stress of future employment.
While taking classes is a form of preparing for the future, there are specific steps students should be taking to prepare themselves for their first position after college.
Gina Aloe, assistant director of the Career Center, advises students to prepare for their career during their time in college.
“When you’re in the midst of your classes and all other obligations you don’t really think ahead to ‘what do I have to do to prepare for my job two, three years from now?’ It doesn’t really seem relevant. But it is really important to start thinking about things early,” Aloe said.
Job readiness is something that can be cultivated through work experience, internships, on campus organizations and many other areas.
“The big things we see from employers are the lack of ability to problem solve, make decisions, and take responsibility or initiative,” Aloe said. “They’re really looking for students who can do that.
Sometimes it’s a bit hard to start off in a job if you don’t have experience dealing with crisis situations, whether it’s in a restaurant, at your internship or even in a club on campus, dealing with something going wrong with your event.”
Aloe added that the Career Center on campus prides itself in the extensive resources available to students of all levels.
The Career Center has specific plans on their website that detail steps students can take every year of their undergraduate career to ensure success following their time at the Hall. Once alumni depart from the college life, it is up to them to adapt their skill set to the workplace.
Noticing trends within the workplace and employers makes that’s adaptation easier.
Maria Capalbo ‘16, received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. Currently, she is working as a media coordinator at Universal Health Services Inc.
She said the most useful piece of advice she received during her time at SHU was the importance of networking.
“Regardless of whether or not you may like someone, networking is always important,” she said. “Expand beyond the group of friends that you have and get to know people in different clubs and majors. They can definitely be useful in your future.”
Capalbo said she would advise students to take their time.
“Everyone wants to rush into a job, but sometimes you need that time to discover yourself and map out what you truly want,” Capalbo said.
She was involved in an honor society, campus media outlets and the Student Advisory Cabinet which she said allowed her the space to explore and discover her strengths and weaknesses before embarking on a professional career path.
Capalbo added that on-campus organizations and clubs are the best outlets to sharpen leadership skills in a fast paced environment and develop a potential professional persona all while completing a degree.
Leadership is a skill that can be acquired in both classrooms and extracurricular involvement. Taking on a leadership position in an organization or a job demonstrates to employers that an applicant’s leadership style is well defined and utilized.
Cultivating future leaders on Seton Hall’s campus is the Rev. Dr. Forrest Pritchett, director of the Martin Luther King Scholarship Association.
After years of experience as both a professor and sociologist, his advice is for current students and recent grads alike.
“Do not expect that this is a job waiting for you or that you deserve it,” Pritchett said. “During your time at Seton Hall, develop good relational skills. That’s probably one of the top complaints by most recent employers – that most college graduates may have a decent transcript but they have terrible person-to-person skills. Get unhooked from social media.”
Pritchett also said that there is a rising statistic of college grads being dismissed from their jobs because they spend too much time on social media during the work day.
“Stay mentally resilient,” Pritchett said. “You’re more likely to face five or six major career changes, so you shouldn’t take it personally.”
He also said to seek advice from someone in your family or outside for that matter, on how to open a pension fund and a healthcare plan.
“Fundamentally, many companies are moving away from providing benefits,” Pritchett added.
Students can use resources on campus such as major advisors, the Career Center, various academic honor societies and extracurricular organizations.
Heather Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org