Assistant Features Editor
Senior year presents all sorts of challenges: classes are getting more difficult, work is piling on demands, and extracurricular activities are taking up more and more time. However, the more pressing challenge is one that is often neglected: the job search.
According to Margo Sassaman, director of the Career Services department, Millersville students often make the mistake of waiting to begin job hunting until after spring break. Her advice is to start early. Some companies, she says, start the interviewing process as early as October.
Additionally, since the financial collapse and the onset of an economic recession, job hunting has become even more difficult. Jobs have been disappearing, and budget cuts cause companies to lay off employees and downsize.
Sassaman says that one of the departments that has seen serious cutbacks is education, which is very important for Millersville as an education-focused school.
United States employers only added 96,000 jobs in August 2012, according to HLN, when 120,000 were expected to be added.
On top of that, the process of applying for jobs has changed, partially from the influence of the internet. Social networking sites have opened up all kinds of marketing opportunities, including instances of employers looking at potential employees’ Facebook and Twitter profiles.
Bloomberg Businessweek published an article in 2009 that stated, “While networking is…the best way to find a new job, the second-most effective tool is another type of networking: sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.” According to a poll published by placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, quoted in Businessweek, “Old-school employment search tricks like attending job fairs and reading newspaper classifieds got the lowest ratings.”
Now, employers are looking for more on a person’s resumé. Sassaman states that most companies are looking for prospective employees with some sort of experience in their field. Internships are practically a must.
Despite the somewhat bleak outlook of today’s job market, there is still hope. For one, the job market is increasing in some areas, according to Sassaman.
Smaller companies are interested in hiring, she says. Technology-related jobs are also still in very high demand. Not just computer sciences jobs, however. Sassaman says that a lot of companies are looking for employees to manage their social networking sites, for which you do not have to have a degree.
There are several steps to make the job search successful. Before applying for a job, Sassaman recommends analyzing your specific skill sets. Develop an “A list,” a “B list,” and a “C list” of companies and research them. Know about them and tailor your résumé to them by offering them an employee they can use, based on your skills. In true John F. Kennedy style, ask not what they can do for you, but what you can do for them.
Attend job fairs. Though they may not be as popular as they used to be, they are still useful. Millersville University is hosting a job fair during Career Week, which runs from October 15 to October 19. The job and internship fair is on Thursday, October 18 in the SMC MPR from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
At this point, 48 companies will attend the fair, providing a perfect opportunity to introduce yourself and meet possible employers. Sassaman recommends students as young as sophomores attend the job fair to get a feel for what is available.
Career Week also includes a dining etiquette program and the Dress for Success Fashion Show.
Sassaman urges students to utilize the Career Services office.
“We’re a centralized office,” she says, meaning that students can go there for a whole host of services to help them find jobs.
Career Services can help develop marketing tools by creating a “branding image” for students. They review resumés, develop interviewing skills, and do mock interviews. The Internship Office, within Career Services, can help students find internships within their fields, and Volunteer Central can help students get involved in their fields in other ways.
Recently, Career Services upgraded their website to make it more user-friendly. It provides several resources for students that can help them figure out what to do with their major, as well as information about available jobs through Career Connection. Some “really exciting things” will be happening within Career Connection in the next few weeks, allowing students to have access to these available jobs and resources.
For more information, visit the Career Services website: http://www.millersville.edu/ices/careerservices/index.php.