Graduates on the go
With the economy in a slump, the job market follows into crisis mode, and students must maneuver their way through. Three University students are on their way to different career paths after the caps fly at graduation. Seniors, get ready for life-changing advice. Juniors, take out your ballpoint pens – these soon-to-be graduates have advice for you, as well.
Regardless of your job-searching goals, don’t be skittish of non-traditional tracks. Try applying for a job that isn’t within your major, or freelance your hard-earned college skills. Utilize campus resources and go out into the job market with confidence to bag your first post-graduate job.
Sean Oliver, Grant Thornton Audit Associate
“Accounting is kind of lucky in how job recruiting works because everything is kind of uniform in the fall,” Sean Oliver, 23, said. Oliver applied for several jobs through job links last fall and ended up landing the role of Audit Associate at Grant Thornton in downtown Portland.
“The Career Center was an amazing resource for me,” Oliver said. He made the Career Center part of his weekly, if not daily, ritual seeing multiple advisors, attending workshops and getting feedback on specially tailored resumés and cover letters.
A large part of Oliver’s job search began his junior year. “I knew I didn’t have a lot of leadership experience going into my senior year, so I decided to run for an officer position in a club in the business school to get more leadership experience,” he said. By rounding out his resumé, Oliver increased his odds of getting an interview.
Be careful not to overlook daily opportunities, Oliver warned. “Professors, I don’t think, are always seen as a resource for careers,” he said. “I think students tend to look at them in the strictly academic sense.” Professors have networking connections that can be the borderline factor in getting a job, especially at the University, where there are research professors working out in the field.
Oliver kept an open mind while job-searching. “If there is a company holding a presentation about what their company is about or something like that, I would go to it,” he said. “I was actively involved in perusing anything that I could.” He even went through the interviewing process for working a sales job at a winery.
Ashley Stevenson, Teach for America
Ashley Stevenson, 22, found a job with Teach for America when she decided to apply at the third deadline last November. “I’m the kind of person that really likes to know what I’m getting myself into, so I decided to contact everyone I knew who was in the program or had applied,” Stevenson said.
Past applicants reviewed Stevenson’s resumé and gave her a look into what was coming in the long recruitment process.
Stevenson also applied for other opportunities besides Teach for America. “You will never get from point A to point Z without going through those different points,” she said. “There are a lot of different steps you need to take.”
Even though Stevenson doesn’t think she’ll stick with the education field, she sees it as a great transition into counseling and is happy with her decision. “It can be really sad or heart-wrenching, but at the same time, we are doing really good work,” Stevenson said. “I’m really excited that I actually get to make a difference right out of college because I don’t think that happens to many people.”
Davey Raver, Triple R
Davey Raver, 21, takes employment matters into his own hands with his own real estate business, Triple R. In addition, he plans to work as a freelance land-developing consultant after graduation for Central Oregon Housing Authority. Raver likes the idea of being his own authoritative figure, as well as having the flexibility to be spontaneous.
Yet, freelance doesn’t come without its risks. “I make my own hours, but I don’t know when my next payday is. It might be 10 to 20 grand, but it might not come for two or three months,” Raver said. “That’s really tough and you need to know how to manage your finances.” In addition, Raver must purchase his own insurance, but that doesn’t faze him, as his father has been doing this for years.
“I’d learned to juggle two jobs, one being my own company and one job being school,” Raver said. “Once I’m done with school, I can invest more time into my own company and still have time to do the freelance. It’s what I always do, so why not work two jobs and make more money?”
Raver warns students to do their homework before starting the freelancing gig. “I worked in my field for about two years before I turned it into my own business,” he said. “I spend three hours a day every morning just educating myself on my field.” [email protected]
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