Job Search Strategies of Recent Graduates

Job Search Strategies of Recent GraduatesHere's the sage advice THE BLACK COLLEGIAN received from three graduates who landed jobs this year.


University: Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA

Degree: B.S. in Business Administration - Marketing, May 10, 2003.

Current Job Title: I am currently a Sales Representative for the 3M ESPE Dental Products Division in Philadelphia, PA. I found out that I was accepted for the position the day before graduation.

Hire Date: June 9, 2003.

Learning About This Position: I learned that 3M recruited at my school my sophomore year when another business student completed a summer sales internship for 3M. The next school year, I signed up for an interview through our Career Services office and completed an internship for 3M the following summer.

Xavier's Career Services office was a vital part of both of my internships, during my sophomore and junior years. Throughout the year, they host major career fairs, and Fortune 500 companies frequently come to interview students for internships and full-time positions.

Number of Interviews and the Interview Process: Interning with 3M made it much easier to obtain full-time employment with 3M than not having interned. However, I cannot even begin to count the number of interviews I had to go through:

* One interview for the internship - Human Resources

* Three informational interviews at the end of the internship - Managers from various divisions

* Two interviews for full-time employment with the 3M Pharmaceuticals Division - Managers from Pharmaceuticals

* Two interviews for full-time employment with the 3M Medical Division - Managers from Medical

* Two interviews for full-time employment with the 3M ESPE Dental Products Division - Managers from Dental

I really wanted to work for 3M ESPE Dental Products. That was the division I interned for and I truly enjoyed the work I did. However, at the time interviewing began, that division did not have any positions open, hence the interviews with multiple divisions. I did not let that stop me! I became very proactive and wrote interest letters to managers in this division and even called them to ask for a position. Finally, a sales position opened up in Philadelphia and the rest is history.

Fit for My Career Goals: For one beginning his or her career, 3M is a great company. I like the independence and versatility of a sales position and definitely see myself being successful in this field. The great thing about working for such a large company is that if I ever want to change the direction of my career, I can stay within the firm. If I decide not to do dental sales anymore, I can move to a different job function or even explore options within different divisions. Although I do not have any definite long-term career goals, 3M is a company I know I can grow with.

Advice and Strategies Students Graduating in '04 Can Use Now to Get a Job: My advice to college students right now is intern! Intern! Intern! The experience students acquire during an internship is invaluable. A student who completes a summer internship is much more valuable to an employer than one who has absolutely no work experience upon graduation.

Internships give students a sneak preview of what a full-time position will be like.


University: University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH.

Degree: Marketing with an integral in Management, March 2003 (an integral is similar to a minor and is required of all University of Cincinnati Business graduates-an integral complements your major).

Current Job Title: I am currently a consultant with Global Lead Management Consulting, Cincinnati, OH. I work for a small firm. We wear many hats. My primary focus is training, design and development, and general consultation. Finally, we are all salespeople for our organization. Promoting/advertising Global Lead is not limited to our Marketing Department - we are all responsible for "spreading the word" about Global Lead.

Hire Date: March 31, 2003.

Learned About This Position: I learned of this position through an internship. I worked with the firm for two years before being extended a full-time offer of employment. I was a member of the Darwin T. Turner Scholars Program (University of Cincinnati), and a staff member of the program introduced me to the Global Lead.

Number of Interviews and the Interview Process: I had one interview with the HR Director. The process is more formal for those interviewing externally (no prior interaction with the firm).

Fit for My Career Goals: First, consulting is very flexible, exposing me to many aspects of business. We work with many of our clients' legal, human resources, or diversity departments. I like the flexibility.

Second, my work at Global Lead is diverse. I would like to earn a master's degree in management, organizational development, or human resources. My current position exposes me to people who hold positions I would like one day to be in. I am not pigeonholed into one career path. I have many options that I can explore.

Advice and Strategies Students Graduating in '04 Can Use Now to Get A Job: Here are strategies I'd offer for soon-to-be college grads:

a. Be flexible and willing to take an alternate route to land your dream job. Don't pigeonhole yourself into one career path or industry. Take risks.

b. Don't discount small firms because they may not be able to match the salaries of larger firms (i.e. Fortune 500 organizations). Small firms often allow more one-on-one attention and provide opportunities to interact with clients directly. Small firms allow for mentoring opportunities.

c. Review the entire benefits package - money is not everything. Many firms compensate employees with benefits other than money. Currently, I am interested in long-term and work/life balance benefits (i.e. 401K, tuition reimbursement, flexible work arrangements and travel opportunities).

d. Set realistic expectations for yourself and your organization. Some people feel as if they should graduate from college making $50K annually when they lack the skill-set needed to make $50K per year.

e. Maximize networking opportunities. You never know who is connected to whom and who may be willing to speak for you. Know the power of relationships. Relationships are amazing and may open doors you thought were closed.

f. Don't become discouraged and allow your frustration to get the best of you! Don't be your biggest enemy. Stay focused, be patient and know that with hard work and dedication you will reap rewards.

g. Be a continuous learner. Continue to develop new skills and enhance current skills during your down time. Employers desire employees who are motivated, smart, and willing to invest in themselves. How can you expect your employer to invest in you if you are unwilling to invest in yourself?

h. be proactive. Don't expect the job to come to you; go out and market yourself!

i. Know what you want and what you are willing to compromise on. Develop negotiation skills.

j. Create a circle of mentors. You need several mentors to provide well-rounded perspectives and additional points of view, at least one mentor inside your organization and one within your industry.


University: Chicago State University, Chicago, IL

Degree: B.S. in Business with a concentration in Management, June 2003.

Current Job Title: I am currently in an 18- 24 month "Boot Camp" training program for managers with First American Bank, Elk Grove Village, IL.

Hire Date: August 25, 2003.

Learned About This Position: I learned of this position through the Career Development Center at Chicago State University, Chicago, IL.

Interviews and the Interview Process: I had one interview. I met with the manager who heads the training program and had a rotating interview schedule with five people from the bank before I received the offer. My career planning office referred me to only one position. I got the job!

Fit for My Career Goals: This position fits my career goals well. I eventually want to get into human resource management. Once I complete the training program, I can interview for available positions. I am hopeful that I can get into human resources later.

Advice and Strategies Students Graduating in '04 Can Use Now to Get A Job: Pray. I didn't do anything else but pray. All I did was pray and go to the career development office and talk with the assistant. There were no guarantees. There were other people who put in their resumes. He sent mine to the bank; they called me for interviews. I would say that you should just keep God first and pray about what you're looking for when you hand in your application to the career development office. Hearing about one student when I handed in my resume discouraged me: She had gone on twenty interviews before she got a position. There are different things for different people.