Leonora Hall, Career Advising Fellow
I remember the transition from college to a career a few years ago and have empathy for students feeling nervous about the transition. I recall feeling the pressure and stress of looking for my first professional position. In higher education, I believe we can support students when they are feeling overwhelmed by the job search by doing the following:
- Preparing Students:
At Elon University, career advisors give presentations to all first-year students to introduce them to the Student Professional Development Center and share what resources we offer. Additionally, we have events such as the Job and Internship Expo and employers visit campus regularly so students can find out about opportunities and network. When students come in for appointments, I remind them that our office is here to help them along the way in their career exploration and development journey. Whether students want to take an assessment, have their resume reviewed or do a mock interview, our office can help. The better-prepared students are for the job search, the easier it will be for them.
- Building Students’ Confidence:
Sometimes students’ confidence is challenged through a job search. I remember one student who was job searching and getting numerous interviews but no job offers. This particular student was also dealing with the loss of a loved one so he was not his usual self. As a result, the lack of job offers was even more discouraging. I believe this student needed to be reassured of his skills and reminded that every interview is a success. Having an interview means that you are a top candidate but there may have been an internal applicant or someone who was a slightly better fit.
- Helping Students Consider their Options:
Though a career advisor cannot tell a student to take one job over another, we can ask intentional questions to help students consider their values and what they want to empower them to make their own decision. When a student is trying to decide between two positions, we can ask about the pros and cons so they can reflect on their options. One of my professors gave me advice that I found comforting when I was involved in the job search. He said that when choosing a position, there is no right or wrong path. There are just different paths.
When students are well prepared for the job search, confident about their skills and have reflected on their options, they are closer to finding meaningful work. One of the best parts of advising students is finding out that the student you advised got the position they were hoping for.