On April 6, the Career Development Center hosted a panel of alumni, employers and professionals. They were asked to come to campus to talk to students about their career paths. Representing many different career fields and industries, they revealed a variety of career options for students with science degrees. I took notes as I asked them to share their best advice for college students and realized that what they had to say did not just apply to science-related majors, but ALL students. So, I am sharing their bits of wisdom!
- Utilize personal/family connections, and faculty office hours – ask for their advice/information
- Investigate multiple professions/careers
- Informational interviews – conduct as many as possible
- Read job descriptions – what is interesting? Bring that information in to informational interviews
- Keep track of everything you are doing in classes – projects, lab techniques, research, computer programs used
- Get involved in extracurricular activities
- Internships – gain experience
- Pay attention to the transferable skills you are developing
- Join campus-based student clubs that relate to your interests
- Attend Professional Association events and conferences
- There is no wrong initial decision – you have time to do different things along your long career path
The Career Development Center has links to a number of resources to help students explore different careers. See the Career Resources section of the Homepage, www.stthomas.edu/careerdevelopment
If you are like most graduating seniors, you realize that you have to submit many applications to get a few interviews.
During the course of the search process, you hopefully will identify a ‘favorite’ job or employer. The reality is that some employers will make their job offers before others. What if the first offer you receive is not from your favorite?
Well, you need to know the timing of all of the hiring cycles of all of the employers you are dealing with. Remember the OCI Orientation coaching? Don’t leave your last interview without learning their intended time schedule for decisions.
With this information, when you get the first offer from the employer that is not your favorite, you will have what you need to negotiate for more time to make your decision. You can say, “I have not completed all of my interviews, but I should have more information by ______ time/week. Could I give you my response then?”
They will let you know if this is acceptable or if they have a different deadline date. If their deadline does not help you, you have a choice. You can put pressure on the employers you are waiting for, or you can simply make a decision.
The situation you want to avoid is accepting the first or early offer if you really don’t want it. You accept it just because you fear having nothing. The danger is that if a subsequent offer comes in and you accept it, you will have to go back to the first employer and renege (back out). This is really unprofessional. You risk burning a relationship bridge, losing the respect of the other recruiters, and having other employers hear about it. Many of them talk to each other – it really is a small world!
Know that your behavior in this process not only reflects on your personal integrity and ethics, but also on your academic department and this university. Please visit with a career specialist in the Career Development Center if you are having difficulty making decisions. Call 651-962-6761 to make an appointment – we’re here!
Whether faced with one or multiple job offers, you have many factors to consider when deciding whether to accept the job offered you.
The best place to begin is to identify your Work Values. What elements are Must-Have’s for you? Is it variety, knowing you are helping others, fast-paced environment, team-focused work? Career specialist staff have access to tools to help you assess your values if you can’t rattle them off. Make an appointment to talk to one, call 651-962-6761.
Essentially, break down all the elements:
- The job description – Will you enjoy doing the tasks? Will it require you to use your best skills? Will you be motivated to get up early every day because you look forward to the work?
- The employer – Is their industry of interest to you? Is this place financially stable? How do they treat their employees?
- Non-salary benefits – Ultimately, the benefits that go along with an employer are more important than the salary being offered. Health insurance: include dental, vision, and mental health?
- Vacation/PTO/paid holidays – How many days are in the mix? This impacts your quality of life.
- Retirement investment plan – Do they provide one? How much does the employer put in? It seems odd to think about retirement when you are just beginning, but financial stability is key and takes time to build!
- Professional development & Training – Will the employer pay to continue to train you in new skills? Is your interest in continuous learning and growth supported?
- Personal – Geographic location? Is the commute doable or will you need to move? Will there be travel required, if so how much? Are the hours manageable enough for you to have a personal life, too?
- Career Impact – Finally, where does this job lead you? Is it logical given your degree? Your interests? Does the organization have a fairly structured career path in terms of promotions? Or, will this job give you experience and skill sets that will add value, given your future ambitions?
Lots of questions! Come to discuss all of this at the Evaluating Job Offers & Negotiating Salary Seminar, Monday, April 10 at 3:00 p.m. in MHC 124. www.stthomas.edu/careerdevelopment/events