Amid the rising costs of tuition and rising student loan debt, there’s some good news for graduating seniors. Employers anticipate hiring 8.3% more grads from the class of 2015 than they did from the class of 2014, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).
NerdScholar asked Sarah Burrows, director of the internship program at Lasell College in Massachusetts, to share her tips and advice for students who are preparing to look for entry-level jobs upon graduation.
Q: What is the most common question you receive from students who are in the midst of the job search process?
A: The most common question is how long will the hiring process take. This varies tremendously from company to company and it depends on the urgency of the hire, i.e., if the company just won a huge account, they need to onboard employees quickly.
Q: When a student begins to search for an entry-level job, what should he or she keep in mind?
A: Research is key when starting a job search. Create an Excel list of companies, titles, and actual job postings that are of interest to you. Do some research on each one, through its website, LinkedIn and Glassdoor, and decide which are the top 10. Write a custom letter for each position, using keywords from the job description, and match the tone of the language on the company website. Keep in mind professional communication skills (e-mail), [have a] clean social media imprint, and compile a list of references before the search actually begins.
Q: What are some interesting entry-level jobs that students should consider pursing?
A: Graduates often do not think of jobs within a field like higher education, health care, insurance or life sciences. These types of employers often have lots of open positions and there is room to grow in those organizations.
Q: What resources are available on your campus to help students find jobs?
A: Counselors in career services, director of internships, faculty, staff, and resources on MyLasell (Lasell’s internal website) such as databases and resume and cover letter guides.
Q: What was your first job out of college?
A: I worked as an administrative assistant to the WGBH [public broadcasting] auction manager and helped launch WGBH’s first “Two Collection” (of art and antiques) as part of the annual auction. I learned so much about professionalism, office protocol, database management and how to work with people. The job itself paid $12,500 a year and was filled with tedious tasks.
Q: Any other tips for students searching for entry-level jobs?
A: Do informational interviews and make sure you do not ask about a job. Network every day, keep your resume fresh with any new skills or experiences. Keep active on LinkedIn and with your alumni network. Stay positive!
Q: Who is your favorite nerd?
A: Pee-wee Herman.