If you ask any college student what preoccupies them on a typical day, the answers probably will range from the 10-page paper that needs to be completed by tomorrow to wondering what’s for dessert.
College is such a hectic universe in itself—full of exams and classes and extracurriculars—that it’s easy to forget about the future beyond the nearest weekend. Enter Central’s Adulting 101: Career Wellness Conference, coordinated by the student development/wellness and career/professional development offices. The day-long program Saturday, Feb. 17, provided students with insights into the ways of the world—so they can go out into the world on their own.
Adulting 101 consisted of various panels and workshops featuring experts and alumni panelists, each focusing on a different aspect of adulting. Read on for a few pointers on how to live successfully in the real world. And, yeah, don’t forget to eat your peas.
More than 70 students attended the Adulting 101 program in February. The program offered practical details for students about what to expect after graduation.
1. THERE’S NO ONE RIGHT WAY TO SEARCH FOR A JOB.
Some people enlist hiring companies like Aerotech or Midwest Professional Staffing to aid their search. Others rely on building a system of connections through job fairs, alumni contacts or faculty referrals. Central’s career development office posts jobs online and forwards announcements directly to students according to their major. In the end, students need to enlist a variety of strategies to discover opportunities, use their network to aid in searching and follow up on all leads.
“Build and maintain a strong professional network now because that network will work for you later.”
— Mitchell Phipps ’17, financial analyst, Technical Solutions and Services Inc.
2. INTERVIEW ONLY AS YOURSELF.
Knowing about the company you’re interviewing with is important, but so is personality and passion. Interviewers know that no one they hire goes into a job with all the necessary skills perfected. What matters is that you bring your own passion to the table and are the kind of dependable, authentic person with whom people want to work.
3. WHEN DONE RIGHT, SOCIAL MEDIA CAN HELP YOU.
If your social media is littered with photos of some less-than-stellar college decisions, your job prospects might be shot, no matter how impressive your résumé. A polished social media presence can do no harm. For entrepreneurs, social media is a way to create a personal brand. Sites such as LinkedIn can provide connections to like-minded career professionals across the globe. Use social media to show just how professional, technically savvy and interesting you are.
4. RELIANCE ON OTHERS IS NOT A WEAKNESS.
Adulthood is a process. Living alone is expensive, especially when you’re also paying for student loans. Living at home or with roommates at the start of a career does not diminish your hard work. Sometimes, it’s better to have a sensible start and gradually build independence than to get in over your head by trying to go it alone.
“The best thing you can offer in the future is what you have learned and the skills you’ve gained from your experiences because that makes you unique.”
— Evan Fischer ’16, event coordinator, Hoyt Sherman Place
5. OWN YOUR IGNORANCE.
The work world is an entirely new place. Being around a group of coworkers from a larger demographic might be difficult, especially as the new person who knows the least. Rather than trying to keep up, take a step back and listen. As an employee, be patient and willing to learn your duties well, and ask questions about your progress and how you can best contribute. Slowly discover your role as a team member and how others function.
LEARNING ON THE JOB
Internships—short-term supervised work experiences—allow students to immerse themselves within a specific company. They offer students the opportunity to either learn what they want to do for a career—or realize what they don’t want to do. Here are just some of the ways Central offers its support:
- Once students declare majors, they automatically will be emailed notifications of major-specific internships.
- There is a Central alumni network on the college’s LinkedIn page. Students can see where and in what fields alumni work, allowing them to proactively connect to potential internships across the country.
- Central has relationships with 150 nonprofits and an even greater number of for-profit employers in a 60-mile radius, allowing immense diversity in internship opportunities for students.
- Some internships also can be completed for academic credit under the guidance of a site supervisor, faculty supervisor and the center for community-based learning. Contact Jessica Klyn de Novelo at email@example.com to learn more about internships or to tell us about an internship opportunity.
“Students are equally successful in ending up with a fabulous internship by both applying for a position that they see posted and by contacting a company or organization they’re interested in themselves.”
— Jessica Klyn de Novelo, associate director of community-based learning and director of internships
DO RÉSUMÉS MATTER?
- A good résumé is what gets you an interview. That interview will hopefully lead to a job offer.
- It’s a way to advertise your qualifications, and you get complete control over what you market.
- Tailor your résumé and cover letter for each job. Focusing on the specific skills required for the position shows the reader that you’ve done your homework.
- Employers scan résumés looking for eye-popping details, so begin bullet points with action verbs and keep them snappy. Don’t be afraid to boldly proclaim your talents.
- Setting yourself apart from the crowd on paper is more possible than you might think.