By Megan Pendagast
If there is one innocuous, yet loaded question that can shake an undergraduate to his or her very core, it is: “So, what are you going to do after graduation?” After spending almost four years living, learning and growing up on campus, the idea of leaving school behind and embarking on another adventure is daunting. Life outside of the Rider bubble is a potentially exciting and terrifying prospect for students.
With graduate school or employment looming in the future, thinking about what steps to take can be overwhelming. Career adviser Lauren Nicolosi offers suggestions for under- and upperclassmen alike about planning for life outside of Rider.
“You should keep up with doing whatever you are currently involved in and think about gaps in your résumé and how you can strengthen it, be it through volunteering, being involved with clubs or on- and off-campus activities,” Nicolosi said.
She recommends going to Career Services’ website if students need help planning.
“If you’re not sure what it is you want to do, taking an assessment and putting together a plan is a good idea,” she said. “If you are pretty sure what you want to pursue, you can check the website to get started on the job search. If you’re not already on Broncs Career Link, now is the time to get on. It’s a place where employers post positions geared toward Rider alumni.”
According to Nicolosi, many students don’t realize that Career Services offers assistance to Rider alumni as well as current students.
Candace Costanzo, finance graduate, ’10, who received her master’s degree in business administration in 2012, suggests taking advantage of Rider’s resources.
“I would recommend that graduating students seek every opportunity for learning,” Costanzo said. “You can learn and build valuable skills and enrich the way you think.”
Angelique Lee, elementary education and journalism graduate, ’12, says that an effective résumé and online profile are valuable tools.
“Keep your résumé up-to-date and review it for mistakes whenever you can,” Lee said. “That résumé will be sent to a lot of potential employers, so you need to make sure that it is free of errors, is completely accurate and gives full descriptions of all of your past jobs and responsibilities. Use the websites of jobs where you would want to work, create a profile on LinkedIn and visit job search websites regularly.”
LinkedIn is a social and professional networking website used by over 200 million people and is available in more than 200 countries.
Nicolosi believes in the benefits of the website, but also wishes to express the importance of forging and using connections to bolster marketability.
“Who you know is very important in addition to having resources to search and apply online,” Nicolosi said. “LinkedIn is a valuable resource, but don’t underestimate face-to-face interaction.”
Lee also stresses the importance of networking and the truth in the saying, “It’s who you know.”
“Use every angle you can,” she said. “Tell everyone you know what kind of job you’re looking for, because you never know who might have a connection that could help you. I got a temporary position over the summer because my dad knows a principal of a school that had a summer program. He gave me a chance and I got some experience, a reference and new details to put on my résumé.”
Costanzo felt similarly.
“I worried that I wasn’t making enough connections or that I was only concerned with making connections to possibly get a job, I drove myself nuts,” Costanzo said. “Because of this, I knew I had to get an MBA and started Rider’s program. I felt much more confident in my ability to succeed. Companies really do love the safety in hiring people who are recommended by current employees. The friend who recommended me was also a Rider graduate in finance.”
Setting realistic goals is also important.
“The first job you get most likely won’t be your dream job, but it could put you in line to get that dream job,” Lee said. “My current job — working in a daycare center with infants and kindergarteners — isn’t ideal, but it’s in my career field and is giving me experience I can put toward the job that I eventually want to hold.”
For students pursuing graduate school, The Princeton Review is coming to campus to talk about strategy and allow students to take graduate exams such as the GRE, GMAT, MCAT and LSAT for free on various dates from Feb. 12 to March 2.
Allie Ward, journalism graduate, ’11, received her master’s degree in magazine writing from New York University in December 2012 and agrees that the market is less than ideal.
“I was surprised at how dry the job market still is,” Ward said. “I naively thought my classmates and I would have no problems getting jobs. Don’t get me wrong, there are positions out there, but finding a job that you love that’s in your field is tough right out of the gate.”
Currently working as a digital news reporter at Newsmax in New York City, Ward preaches patience and optimism while looking for work.
“Don’t freak out about finding a job,” she said. “I had many, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to be a waitress for the rest of my life’ moments. Don’t stress and don’t settle for something that’s just a paycheck. I expected to have no problem finding a job, especially since I’d taken the next step and spent all that money to get a master’s, but it was tougher than I thought.”
Whether you are planning to attend graduate school or jump right into the job market, Nicolosi suggests that future graduates approach faculty for letters of recommendation and secure them as references.
“Life after Rider has been good,” Costanzo said. “After you get past the first six months and your student loans kick in, you feel more in control of your life. The job market is rough but if you can market yourself and have enough drive to succeed, you can find a job. There are so many different routes to be successful and more importantly, happy.”
There will be a career fair on March 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for students looking to network. You can access the Career Services’ website at rider.edu/careerservices.
Contact this writer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Printed in the 2/8/13 edition