Career Center offers cure for job-search blues

As seniors head to graduation in May, some are nervous about finding a job.

The university Career Center suggests students do something about that.

“I always recommend students go to career fairs to practice marketing themselves and see opportunities,” said Katelyn Caragher, a consultant with the Career Center. “I recommend students meet with us once a semester to discuss goals, learn how to network and get their documents reviewed.”

The job outlook for 2023 graduates is promising. A fall survey of employers found they plan to hire 14.7% more college graduates from the class of 2023 than they did from the class of 2022. 

The survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found nearly half of employers rated the job market for new college graduates as “very good” to “excellent”.

“About a month ago I was feeling really lost about my impending graduation,” said Ayianna Vanique Massey, a Biology major in her last semester.  “Currently, I feel a little better about … my prospects.”

But Caragher said students cannot take anything for granted and should take advantage of existing opportunities.

“We host two [job fairs] in the fall and one in the spring,” she said. “Employers there are looking for both interns and full-time employees.” 

Handshake, a networking platform used by more than 10 million college students, last year surveyed about 1,400 recent graduates and current seniors. Half said they were worried about the economy.

PNW students have access to Handshake through the Career Center.

“What is great about Handshake is that it is geared toward college students [and] entry-level positions so the opportunities in there are what students are looking for,” said Caragher. 

The system also enables students to ask employers about job or internship details, inquire about the company’s culture or ask questions about the industry in general. 

Massey is optimistic about finding an internship.

“My uncle has a few people who work in the healthcare field, so I applied at some of their locations, [and] I’m waiting for them to contact me,” she said. “I also applied for an internship at an animal hospital.”

As a backstop, Massey said she will probably spend more time with Handshake. 

Many of the Career Center’s activities are available virtually. 

“We launched our Online Career Center [a Brightspace course under Resources] that walks through how to write a resume, make a Handshake profile, find an internship and even negotiate [a] salary,” said Caragher. “We see more students virtually than we used to. … With many of our students commuting to campus and having busy schedules a virtual appointment is the better option.”

Most important, Caragher advises students to put themselves out there.

“Make connections with your classmates, professors, clubs and the jobs/experiences you do off campus,” she said. “These connections will help you in finding a job you are enthusiastic about, and you will learn something new along the way.”