Words from the Wise: Successful Seniors on Finding the Right Job

seems promising for 2005 college graduates. According to the survey, there has been a 14.2% increase in college graduates hired for full time positions during the past year. Furthermore, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) estimated that there will be a 13% increase in grads being hired in 2005 as opposed to 2004. In the face of the economic decline that has stifled the job market in recent years, these are positive indicators for the economy, and certainly for Colgate’s graduating seniors. However, these figures in no way suggest that the job market is any less competitive. For current seniors, the challenge lies not only in getting a job, but in getting the perfect job.According to Do What You Are, a career guide based on personality types, “The right job enhances your life. It is personally fulfilling because it nourishes the most important aspects of your personality. It suits the way you like to do things and reflects who you are.” A recent college graduate will often find him- or herself in a well-paying occupation, only to abandon it after realizing it wasn’t what they were looking for. Surely, this is a story that is heard over and over, but what can we do as college students to make sure we land job offers we’re confident we’ll enjoy? We put the spotlight on successful seniors who are currently on the hunt or – in the cases of a select few – who have already found their ideal job.One of the first things seniors will tell you is to take advantage of the Office of Career Services. According to Associate Director of Employer Relations Chip Schroder, “Career Services is essential for aiding students in their search for jobs after graduation because not only do we allow you to pursue more options, we allow ‘them’ to pursue you as well.” Schroder says more than 80% of the class of 2004 used career services to aid their search.”However, not everyone agrees with Career Service’s claims. According to senior Greg LaBanca, an International Relations and Russian Studies double major, “Career Services is most helpful for students seeking a future in finance. Ninety percent of Career Services’ [career counselors] are geared towards that direction.”Where, then, does that leave the rest of Colgate’s job seekers? LaBanca says the best advice he can give is that “students have to realize just how important their summer going into senior year is. I would suggest anyone to attain an internship in a company they see fitting. However, just interning is not enough. What you have to do is start talking to employees; establish acquaintances, if not friendships. Ask them how to get a job at the company after graduation. Ask them who the people you should be talking to are. The most important thing is building connections.”Senior Ben Goldman, a history and English literature major, also stresses the importance of making connections. According to Goldman, “The most important method I used while obtaining my job was networking through Colgate alumni. Since the middle of sophomore year I was using Career Services and Colgate alumni lists to get in touch with any alumni I thought might be able to help me. Whether these alumni were in finance, law or public service, they were all willing to answer any questions I had about fields that I thought might interest me.” After determining his interests laid exclusively in finance, Goldman began to narrow down his contact list. Goldman continues, “I started over the summer going into my sophomore year and began getting in touch with people who lived near me. I asked if they would meet with me to discuss their work and answer questions I had.”For Goldman, one connection led to another, and names began pouring in; it was a snowball effect that ultimately led to a job offer in the fall of his senior year: “Looking back, it is an unbelievable roadmap of probably close to 30-40 alumni I was in touch with before acquiring this job. Although it was hard to see at the time, one of the first alumni I met told me that I would look back one day, and all the dots would be connected. He was right. I can now see how each person along the way helped me and contributed to my success in acquiring a job in the fall of my senior year.”All his hard work paid off: after he graduates in May, Goldman will begin working in the Global Institutional Sales and Trading division at Goldman Sachs. Goldman has three pieces of advice for students who hope to get the perfect job offer during senior year: start early, become a “networking rock-star,” and be perseverant. When asked what his ideal job would be, Goldman’s reply was “Global Institutional Sales and Trading division at Goldman Sachs.” It seems that Goldman has not only attained a job, but one in which he believes perfectly suits him. But what exactly makes that job so ideal? Senior Erick Bond, who is planning to work as either an M&T branch manager or as a group representative for an insurance firm, describes his perfect job as “one where there is no limit to how successful I can be, a job where how much I make and how quickly I advance are determined by how hard I work.”According to LaBanca, “I think an important part about success after Colgate is being financially stable – that is no doubt an aspect of it – but I think the most important thing is finding something you are passionate about and enjoy doing.” But the good news is that Colgate students have an advantage. “At Colgate,” LaBanca remarks, “it’s all about the liberal arts education. I see that as an extremely helpful asset in all sorts of careers. The four years at Colgate will challenge your mind to think in different ways, explore avenues you never thought you’d walk, and at the end of it all, you come out more confident about what exactly you want to do.”According to Schroder, Career Services can help students with the process of self-discovery. According to Schroder, “You can tell a lot from a r?esum?e, and the employers can too. It says what your interests are, what strengths you have and what kind of skills you’ve acquired throughout your life. The r?esum?e process is one of he main focuses at career services because it also forces the students to look at themselves in a way that really brings light to each individual’s uniqueness.”Amid all the frustration and worry that besieges seniors around graduation time, perhaps the most reassuring words a senior can give about success in the real world is to “take it easy.” Senior Matt Brogan, an art history major and physics minor, believes that the key to success in securing a job after Colgate is to be persistent, but not to become too stressed: “Start early – once you leave Hamilton no one at Colgate cares about you anymore. Try something cool, don’t worry if you get a strange job for two years: there is plenty of time in life.”