As with success in the classroom, preparation is important to a student's success after graduation in locating and landing that perfect first job, or to obtaining similar success in post-graduate studies. In either case - and as with anything else - success requires some preparation.
In either case - and as with anything else - success requires some preparation.
While it is common for students and parents to rely upon the Career Services office of any given university to find a graduate that first great job, experience - and research - has proven that a student's success improves when they:
1. Begin to think about their career choices and preferences right away.
- Although first-year students might not (of course) know what they want to do after they graduate - and graduation seems like something very far-off that first year - they should begin to inventory their interests and, especially, what they are (or might be) passionate about. It is never too early to be thinking about the future.
- At the same time, however, they should also be open to "experimenting" with courses. The university's curriculum offers opportunities to study in many disciplines that are not part of the typical high school curriculum. So, unless they try different things, they might not discover that their real passion is - literally - just down the hall waiting for them.
- Muskingum University's General Education (Gen Ed) curriculum is helpful in this way, in that it exposes students to disciplines that they might not have considered on their own, plus it equips students with the valuable - broad-based - skills that employers are increasingly seeking today from graduates.
2. Talk with their professors.
- University faculty are the very best sources of information about career options and possibilities, and the coursework that will best qualify students not only for that first job, but for success on-the-job and later in life. Similarly, they can advise students if the path that they are thinking about will require graduate studies. They can also point them towards internships or research opportunities that will give them pre-professional experience, as well as that extra "edge" in the job interview process - or that will make their graduate school applications stand out from the others.
- For basic information about internship and research opportunities available to students at Muskingum University, see the Internships, Study Abroad and Experiential Learning page.
- Students should also bear in mind that studying an academic field - English, Philosophy or History, for example - does not mean that they must become teachers in that discipline. Faculty can help them to see how their acquired skills and competencies relate to non-academic fields, and can discuss with them great career opportunities outside of education.
- For an example of how Muskingum University faculty help students see and expand their job possibilities - and how our faculty go the extra mile to help them - click the following link to view an article about our History department's career-assistance activities published in a recent Ohio Academy of History newsletter.
- As an example of the way to think about the competencies learned in a given discipline that may be applied to other jobs or fields, consider the following from the American Philosophical Association.
3. Attend department Open Houses.
- Every Fall semester - usually in October - Muskingum University's academic departments hold "open houses" for our first-year students. Held in the department offices and suites a few weeks prior to the university's "Majors Fair" where students may speak again with department faculty and declare their major, the department open houses are a great opportunity for students to sit down with university faculty in a casual setting and to ask questions about the benefits of studying in a particular discipline.
- For example, they might ask: "What can I do with this major after I graduate from college?", "What are my prospects for employment?", What courses would I take?" and "Do I need to go to graduate school to get a good job in this discipline?
- At these open houses, departments commonly make available to students information about the discipline, printed four-year graduation plans - a "road map" to graduation, if you will - and data and information about internships, careers, employment prospects, and graduate school options.
4. Visit, and register with, Muskingum University's Career Services office - and do so early.
Research shows us two things:
1. Entering first-year students are increasingly showing an interest in learning about careers, career options, and career-related educational plans. This is a change from just a few years ago, when most students only began to show an interest in careers in their junior or even their senior years of college.
- This means that students who put off thinking about their careers and, especially, utilizing the resources available to them, will be at a competitive disadvantage relative to other forward-thinking students.
2. That students that do take advantage of a university's resources are likely to be more successful at finding that first job, and to land a job in their preferred field of interest.
Each year, the office offers many workshops and informational opportunities - including mock interview sessions - and even the opportunity to have professional "headshots" taken.
- Encourage your student to begin to interact with Career Services today - and follow up to make sure that they have done so.
- They will benefit greatly and the sooner they start, the more opportunities they will have to learn about careers, discover what finding a job is all about, and to learn about how to acquire - and to practice - the skills needed to land that all-important first job.
- Link to: Career Service's online calendar of events.
Complete information about the services offered by Muskingum University's Career Services office, may be obtained by consulting the Career Services webpage.
Among the many services offered are online resources, such as:
- An online, interactive, "Four Year Career Development Plan"
- Resume and interview advice
- The College Central Network, where students may review job opportunities, and obtain career information, and even create a electronic portfolio.
- Plus, a full listing of services and Career Services office contact information.