MU Career Center gives job hunting advice for students
Craig Benson, Student Support Services Manager for the MU Career Center: “Really think about what you would be contributing to a potential organization and how you’re going to add value, solve problems and meet the needs they have.”
Apr. 28, 2016
As the spring semester comes to a close, students are trying to lock down their internships and summer jobs. Craig Benson, Student Support Services Manager for the MU Career Center, said many go about searching for employment the wrong way.
Many students respond to job postings online because it seems less daunting. Benson advised that, instead, students prioritize looking for jobs through past employers, people they have worked with before and connections through family and friends.
“The reality is that for a lot of employers, the first place they go to find a potential new employee to fill a position is someone they know or someone they know something about,” Benson said. “If you as a job seeker don’t already have a connection with that employer, that means they’re looking at somebody else first and usually one of the last resorts they have is posting the position online.”
Benson encourages students to visit the career centers for their specific major and to form close relationships with advisors and faculty.
“You want to be more active and get out in front of this and try and network to a point where you can know about jobs before they’re posted so you’re not competing with everyone else to get the jobs,” Benson said.
If students choose to use online tools, the professional networking site LinkedIn has an alumni tool that allows users to locate graduates from their university to see the companies they are working for and what part of the country they landed in, regardless of their major, Benson said. The site also offers users the ability to connect with others who have graduated with the same major by visiting LinkedIn.com/edu.
In addition to networking, Benson said his biggest piece of advice for jobseekers would be to tailor their resumes, cover letters and interview skills to match the jobs they are applying for. He also recommends being patient, organized, “persistent but not annoying” and having a clean social media presence.
“After taking care of the basic stuff—making sure your resume and cover letter are in order and that you have practiced interviews—really think about what you would be contributing to a potential organization and how you’re going to add value, solve problems and meet the needs they have,” Benson said.
Career Center specialist Nick Dematteo said students should consider whether they want to work in Missouri, in a different part of the country or internationally. He recommends using the websites hiremizzoutigers.com and LinkedIn to find jobs within Missouri and the rest of the country, and the site Goinglobal to find employment internationally.
Dematteo said getting involved in on-campus organizations that relate to their future career is an important way students can set themselves apart from other applicants.
“Our motto at the Career Center is that we want to be the last step or second-to-last step,” Dematteo said. “If people are struggling to get involvement in activities that are pertinent to their major, we can give them options for what specific clubs to get involved in to help boost their rèsumè and help them find specific internships that will set them up for a full-time job after graduation.”
Specialists at the MU Career Center can offer feedback on rèsumès, cover letters, help students find jobs on and off campus, hold mock interviews for students and can offer advice for making LinkedIn profiles as professional as possible, according to their website.
“In the end, the reason (job seekers) get jobs is because an employer needs their help,” Benson said. “If they can’t make a connection with that employer and help draw a line between experiences they have had and what that employer needs, you’re going to lose that job to someone else.”
Edited by Emily Gallion | firstname.lastname@example.org