Job seeking advice for post-graduation and beyond

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The JTAC/ Alex Huerta

For many students, such as myself, graduation is just around the corner. The scariest part about graduation is, that the giant job market mountain is still in front of you.

Whether you’re graduating this December, next spring or in a few years, it’s never too early to start job hunting, building your connections and filling out your portfolio and resume.

One great place for Tarleton students to begin the process, is to utilize some of the resources Career Services offer. From people who will review your resume to job fairs that will directly connect you to people in your industry, career services is a great place to start, even if it’s not the reason you’re able to find your post-graduation job or career.

Starting the networking process is extremely important, but even more important than that is actually having something to show those jobs who are interested in hiring you.

A lot of people put huge amounts of emphasis in finding a job, as if the biggest problem is finding one. I personally believe the issue isn’t that students don’t know how to find a job, it’s that they don’t have anything they can present to a job, or at least they think they don’t.

I always thought a lot of my experience didn’t apply to helping me find a job, especially in my industry. I changed majors my third year of college, which means a lot of my college life was spent preparing me for a industry I was no longer interested in. The jump from theatre to business seems like a huge one, but it’s not.

During my time as a theatre major, I mostly focused on lighting and the technical aspects. Running a light board, hanging the lights, building the set, making a lighting cue sheet, how could any of this stuff possible transfer to Business?

Believe it or not the skills I picked up during my time as a theatre major do transfer, I just had to learn how to market them.

Learning to market yourself and your portfolio is just as important as having one. Creating the cue sheet, taught me how to manage and visualize a project then turn that vision in something tangible. Working as a lighting crew member taught me how to work with a team to create a finished project. While working as the master electrician, the person in charge of the light crew, taught me how to communicate between different departments and manage a team.

While the classes I took as a theatre major may have seemed like a waste, the experience I got from being a theatre major was tangible. I just had to learn how to apply the skills I learned. It cannot be said enough that building a portfolio and learning how to market yourself and that portfolio is extremely important.

Talking to other graduates helps a lot as well. Learning what its like on the outside keeps you grounded, especially because hindsight is 20/20.

“I would have taken more internships. I would have prioritized internships and volunteering over being involved in as many student organizations as I was a part of. I would have also prioritized networking and being active on LinkedIn sooner,” a Tarleton graduate with a BFA in Digital Media Studies, Sarah Bushland, said.

Bushland is someone who I have been asking for answers about what the best way to find a job is. I have also asked her for advice on preparing for graduation. Something we have in common is we both feel like we didn’t do enough to prepare, as I have never taken a internship, which I feel will and has already started to hurt me, when it comes to applying for jobs. The best time to take an internship is during college, even if they don’t feel like a great idea, you have nothing to lose and experience to gain.

Another important thing to remember is getting the jump on the competition as soon as possible.

“What I found to be successful was moving swiftly and efficiently. If your using Indeed, LinkedIn, or ZipRecruiter, you have to be one of the first people to apply. I learned this through the process of hiring people for my family’s company. If you get in front of them first, recruiters are more likely to look at you and you are more likely to stand out amongst the crowd,” Bushland said.

Getting started as soon as you can is extremely important, a lot of college careers are super competitive and though its not a fun thought, your class mates become your competition as far as the job market is concerned. Start building your portfolio and start applying now. College is the time to build yourself and find who you are. Even if you end up finding yourself your third or forth year of college, like I did, it’s important to use college for what it is, the first step to the rest of your life.