Jump start your job search

Raena Wilson

Lumen Reporter

“This is the toughest I’ve seen the job market, and I’ve been in the field for 20 years,” Beth Dolder-Zieke, director of Career Services, told Lumen.

“Now that I am about to graduate, the only concern I have is not find­ing a job and having to go back to Germany to find a job there,” Den­nis Benthin, a Sports Management major from Hamburg, Germany, said. “It would be very disappoint­ing to me if I wouldn’t be able to stay in the U.S.”

Benthin is among the students who will graduate this May.

Graduates are entering a job market where unemployment rates have been consistently high. In May 2010, the national unemployment rate was 9.6 percent. Currently, it is 8.3 percent.

With graduation approaching, Benthin has been job searching for a position as an athlete marketing manager or sports advisor.

“I applied for a couple of both types of jobs and I actually just start­ed about two weeks ago,” Benthin said.

“A familiar theme related to job search is that it is not to be left for second semester of your senior year,” Ann Ellefson, a career spe­cialist in Career Services, said. “For students seeking employment after graduation, career issues should be infused throughout their time in col­lege.”

“In a tough job market, it becomes even more important for job seek­ers to expand the scope of their job search activities, enhance their job search skills, and seek assistance and support from a variety of sourc­es,” Ellefson said.

There are a variety of services that are offered to students right on campus at Viterbo University in Ca­reer Services. Career Services assists students with job search correspon­dence, mock interviews, and arrang­ing and preparing for internships.

Career Services has an office on the third floor of Murphy Center where students can schedule individual appointments and career assess­ment. Career classes, such as Uni­versity Studies (UNST) 110: Career and Life Plan, UNST 310: Career Planning II, and UNST 410: Job Search Strategies, are offered for one or two credits. Students who have declared a liberal arts major are re­quired to take these courses and they are also open enrollment to any other students wishing to enhance their job search skills.

“Last semester, Career Services provided some type of service (ap­pointment, class, career fair, presen­tation, special event, etc) to over 900 students,” Ellefson said. “Of those students, 430 of them were seniors, which usually means the service is related to a job search or grad school issue.”

“Because the economy is so com­petitive, students need to be aware they need to do more to be com­petitive,” Dolder-Zieke said. “Stu­dents who have taken the initiative to really prepare themselves for the next step in their career path are often confident about their options and future,” Ellefson said. “Define your targeted job or field, start the job search now, prepare quality job search correspondence, practice interview skills, and network, net­work, network.”

Benthin agrees with the advice Ellefson and Dolder-Zieke offer of starting the job search early. Benthin began his job search four months before graduation and he is find­ing employers are completing their search for the right candidate.

“For students graduating in May, I hope that they already started looking for jobs because I have had some companies tell me that they are in the last weeks of their search for new employees,” Benthin said.

Dolder-Zieke said taking time to reflect about what you want specifi­cally and where you are going, de­veloping documentation such as an error-free resume and cover letter, and creating a portfolio is beneficial.

“Get internships and hands-on experience,” Benthin said. “In ad­dition, students should become in­volved and try to take leadership positions in campus organizations or jobs they have. I noticed that I don’t feel as qualified as other peo­ple because I didn’t have any intern­ships.”

“During senior year, students should take advantage of every op­portunity to network with profes­sionals, especially professionals in their field,” Ellefson said.

When actively searching for a job, Dolder-Zieke advises accessing the “hidden job market.” This is the job market that is available by word of mouth and through networking.

Most people engage in the passive job search. The passive job search is when people look through newspa­pers and websites for job advertise­ments. Dolder Zieke said while this does show job openings, only 25 percent cent of available positions are advertised and the rest are filled by the hidden job market.

“It is a huge strategy to teach students to network,” said Dolder-Zieke. “Put your name out there, use contacts like your parents, par­ents’ friends, professors, and doc­tors. Use websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and V-Hawk Job Talk.”

While the Internet offers many more opportunities to connect with other professionals, the sites are eas­ily accessible by the public.

“Sites like Facebook are easy to look at,” Doler-Zieke said. “Any­thing can be viewed, even inappro­priate pictures and comments. Em­ployers are checking these sites.”

“My only advice to students would be to utilize the help avail­able at Viterbo and start early so you don’t have to worry about having a job when you graduate,” Benthin said.

“The message we want to send is that there is help on campus,” Dolder-Zieke said. “Don’t wait until the day before you graduate.”

“If you don’t start the job search early — well before graduation — you miss the window when most employers are looking for upcoming graduates to hire and the best jobs for new grads will already be filled,” Ellefson said. “If you don’t prepare solid correspondence, interview skills become less important be­cause you are unlikely to get called for an interview.”

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1 Comment

  1. That may all be true but will Benth find the situation any better back in Germany?

    Reply

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