May is just around the corner—What should you be doing to prepare?
Tips for freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors from Career Development
Story by Jenny Connell; photo by Dan Landau
Graduation will be here before you know it! Read to find out what Career Development has to offer—Inside are tips for each grade, online resources, and advice on mistakes that you could be making.
It may be hard to think about summer now while the leaves are turning bright colors, but Commencement will be here before you know it. Here is how to make sure you have a job by the time summer comes around.
First of all, every student should pay a visit to career development. “Whether you are a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior, the fact of the matter is that you need to get in here,” stresses Ryan Stalgaitis, a career counselor at FDU’s College at Florham.
Stalgaitis has specific ways students can prep for finding a job after graduation and breaks it down by each grade: “Freshmen should start jotting things down on their resume, and I invite them to come in as early as possible even to discuss things like their major options,” says Stalgaitis. The advantage in working with career development during freshman year, is that the career development counselors can better help students get on track for where they need to be by the time graduation rolls around.
For sophomores, “We would edit resumes, and review some important interviewing skills and help identify internship opportunities,” says Stalgaitis. He pointed out a helpful program called, Perfect Interview, which gives interviewing tips. When students master the program, they are invited in for mock interviews—“I would rather our students get their butterflies out during a mock interview, than on an actual interview,” says Stalgaitis.
Stalgaitis advises upperclassmen to focus on networking, saying, “Don’t be afraid to network. The first thing you can do is to go on LinkedIn.com.” The Career Development website conveniently has a LinkedIn Job Search Guide for a tutorial on how to create an account and build connections. “Also, don’t just be on LinkedIn, but use it. Join groups and follow companies; if there are open positions look for who the contact is and see if you are connected to them in anyway. You might be a third-degree connection,” advises Stalgaitis. “Students also tend to neglect their family and friend connections, which can be the best references.”
His best advice for seniors is to plan ahead. “Seniors, you will save yourself a lot of heartache if you start looking now and start looking often. The job search turns into a full-time job and it is something that I know as a senior you are very busy, but you need to set aside time everyday to search job boards,” urges Stalgaitis.
Two resources available are College Central—a job board just for FDU students—and Career Shift, which is a job search aggregator. Career Shift has an area where students can proactively look at companies and contacts to reach out to. “But again, these are things students should be doing early on—not in their final semester,” stresses Stalgaitis.
Tips for any year…
It is incredibly important for students to maintain a professional presence online. “Always be managing your online identity because it could come back to haunt you. I have looked at profiles in the past and it is quite alarming what is up there,” says Stalgaitis.
“Email addresses need to be professional as well. I have seen some email addresses that students have made, and I guess they are still in the high school mindset, so I just stress sticking to your name. The last thing is voicemail—I had called someone recently whose voicemail was just, “Hey! What’s up?”—which is not even the worst one I’ve heard yet. Some employers who hear that probably won’t even leave a message,” says Stalgaitis.
Students are invited to make appointments at the career development office, which is located on the first floor of the student center, and to browse the career development website for resources and tips.