Some students have a career lined up after convocation.
But many students detest the dreaded question: “So, what are your plans after graduation?”
Searching for a job can become a full-time job in itself, especially since at least 70 per cent of jobs are not formally advertised, says Kristen Roberts, career development co-ordinator for the Faculty of Science.
“Building a connection should be more meaningful than randomly collecting business cards and cold calling professionals asking if there are any job openings.”
But, if students begin their job search strategies prior to graduation, she says, they can get ahead of the game and have job prospects before or soon after their degree is complete.
“Students often do not realize the many transferable skills they have gained throughout their degree and feel uncomfortable explaining these skills to employers during an interview setting,” Ms. Roberts said. “Employers are seeking soft skills in candidates, such as the ability to work with a team, presentation and communication skills and time management skills.
“By presenting in front of their fellow classmates, working on projects in groups or managing their busy schedules, students are honing these skills, whether they realize it or not. It is imperative to know how to effectively communicate these types of skills to employers.”
Ms. Roberts says one of the best ways for students to practise articulating their skills and experiences to employers is to start networking. Connecting with professionals in a field of interest can increase the chances of students finding a career that matches their interests and values.
“Building a connection should be more meaningful than randomly collecting business cards and cold calling professionals asking if there are any job openings,” she said. “This approach must be replaced with conducting interviews with industry professionals to learn more about careers in the hidden job market. They should ask questions such as, ‘What is your educational background?’ and, ‘How did you achieve your career goals?’”
Building your network works, says Ms. Roberts, who points to two new computer science graduates who recently secured employment by following up with a science alumnus who presented at a science networking event.
Hidden job market
Offering to assist industry professionals and showing genuine interest in a career path can also go a long way.
Ms. Roberts says employers are more likely to think of students and graduates who volunteer or work part-time with their organization when a position becomes available, rather than going through hundreds of resumés from people they’ve likely never met before.
“Volunteering, job shadowing and part-time work experiences can enable students and graduates to build their network, learn about hidden careers in the job market and develop new skills that can be transferred into various work environments,” she said.
Memorial University students and alumni can also take advantage of services provided at Memorial’s Career Development and Experiential Learning office, located in the University Centre in room UC-4002. Those services include resumé critiques, mock interviews and job search consultations. Science students also have access to networking events, weekly workshops and science career consultations each semester.
To learn more these services, or to book an appointment, contact Kristen Roberts.