Until Grad School …

You have finally walked across the stage, shaken hands with President Judy Genshaft, and received your diploma. Many graduates plan to continue their education in graduate or professional school. There are many reasons to consider furthering your education right away, but what if you’re not ready for that step yet? In today’s post, we’ll discuss possible options that you can consider until you’re ready for grad school.

Entry-Level Jobs
When you graduate with your undergraduate degree, you will likely pursue one of two paths: furthering your education or entering the workforce. While some students go straight to grad school and others may have plans of returning to school later, the vast majority of students choose to immediately begin working in entry-level positions.

Entering the world of work allows you to begin using your degree instantly. You’re able to gain experience and continue to build on the essential skills that you developed in college. You’re also able to start establishing yourself financially, and while this isn’t impossible to do in graduate school, it may be a little easier to do.

Entry-level jobs also help you understand the industry that you have decided to work within. You can learn from your supervisors and coworkers, ask questions about how upper management makes their decisions, and continue to build your professional network in ways that can help you advance your career. Learning the ins and outs of the company and industry that you work within can help you determine whether or not furthering your education may be the right choice for you and can help you select an appropriate program of study.

If you’re considering an entry-level position, check out our Spring 2018 Career & Internship Fair Week. Employers will continue to register up until the week before the first fair on January 31, 2018, so mark your calendars now!

Internships
Myth: Internships are only for current students. Fact: Many companies accept recent graduates into their internship programs on a track toward full-time employment.

If you focused on your studies during your undergraduate years, a post-graduate internship can help you get some work experience on your resume. This allows the company to test your essential skills, like professionalism, teamwork, and communication and gives you an opportunity to see if you like the position and company before you agree to a full-time role.

To find these opportunities, you can attend our Spring 2018 Career & Internship Fair Week, but you may want to check out our other employer events as well. On November 14, we have an Industry Networking Night event for the Financial Services Industry, which will allow you to meet with representatives from a few companies all in one place. You don’t have to be a business or finance major to attend, but you should have an interest in working within the Financial Services Industry.

You can check out all of our opportunities to meet with employers on campus in Handshake in the Events and Fairs sections of the site. You can also use Handshake to do research on your own to see which companies have internships available for seniors or recent graduates.

Trade Schools and Certifications
Graduate and professional schools are not the only places where you can pursue post-graduate education. Trade schools are institutions that are focused on teaching their students a particular skill or about a specific industry. These include art institutes, technical schools, and specialists schools.

You can also consider pursuing a certificate program. These are often offered at colleges and universities and are less intense than graduate programs. They may be less expensive, require fewer classes, and take less time to complete than a traditional Master’s degree. Certifications are offered for a variety of different subjects or technologies. If you’re planning to work in a technology-driven industry or role, you can get certifications for Adobe, Microsoft, and Google, to name a few.

For both trade schools and certifications, be sure to do your research about what is offered, how much it will cost, how long it will take, and whether or not it will benefit you in your industry. If you need help considering this option or beginning your search, schedule an appointment with your Career Consultant through Handshake.

Time Off
If you take time off between graduating with your undergraduate degree and pursuing graduate school or entering the workforce, you may get some questions about what you did with that time during the interview process for your future program or job. Rather than going back home and working in a part-time job (a trap that Don Asher says you may not escape from!), consider taking time to explore your interests. A common option is to travel domestically or internationally. Even though it’s something a lot of people do, you can use this time to help you narrow your interests and solidify your passion for the field that you enter when you return, so don’t be afraid to talk about your unique experience during interviews.

If you absolutely have to return home, but still plan on going to graduate school or entering the world of work later, make your time off count. You may need to have a part-time or even full-time job to help make ends meet and begin paying off student loans if you have them, but you should also consider getting involved in your community. Volunteering can be a great way to demonstrate to a future program administrator or interviewer that you have passion and drive. If you can find volunteer opportunities within an area that you plan to continue to study or work, this will give you some great hands-on experience that can make you stand out during the application process.

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The Truth About Networking

Networking is the art of building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships. By networking with professionals in targeted companies or occupations that interest you, you may find more opportunities are available for you. Networking opportunities that are available to you include events put on by Career Services, social media, friends, and family.

Keep reading to find out how you can use networking to your benefit, and how you can network in ways you might not have thought of before!

 

Benefits of Networking

People often expect an immediate payoff from networking. However, creating meaningful, lasting connections with people takes time. Building a powerful network also requires you to help others as much as they help you. As you meet new contacts, listen for ways you can help them. Over time, you may find that your willingness to step in pays off!

Some benefits of networking include: the opportunity to increase your visibility by being seen at professional, social and community events; an expanded pool of professional contacts; a chance to build your personal brand; access to powerful and influential individuals; increased marketability within your industry; and a way to position yourself for new career opportunities. The benefits and possibilities from networking are endless!

 

Using LinkedIn to Build Your Network

LinkedIn is a very powerful networking tool that you can use to build and maintain your professional network. If you don’t have a profile set up yet with LinkedIn, we highly recommend setting one up before you begin networking!

Through LinkedIn, you can make your network aware of your job search status, find out where other people within your industry are working and see what their path to their current position has been, and connect with people you may not have had the opportunity to meet with in person. You can also find hiring managers for jobs you would like to apply for so that you can write more effective cover letters.

 

Networking Events

During your college career and throughout your work life, you will have opportunities to attend professional and social events where participants “network.”

Here at USF, there are tons of opportunities for you to practice your networking skills and build your contacts. The Career & Internship Fair Weeks, held once in both the fall and spring semesters, provide a way for you to connect with contacts from a variety of companies in many different industries. These events are good for students of any year, regardless of whether you are looking for a full-time job or internship. If you’re a first-year student, you can come to the Fairs to prepare yourself for what it will be like when you are seeking employment, and you’ll make connections with recruiters that will likely be recruiting a couple years from now. If you’re in your senior year, you can use the fairs as a way to match your face to your application, and you might even have a chance to sign up for an on-campus interview!

Our Fall 2017 Career & Internship Fair Week starts on Monday, so be sure to check out the list of participating employers on Handshake and download the new Career Fair Plus app to get the map!

Other networking events that the Career Services office hosts include Employer Spotlights, Information Sessions, and Careers & Coffee events. All of these events are listed in Handshake so that you can easily find events that align with your schedule and allow you to interact with companies that you want to meet.

 

For more information on networking, please visit our website

Social Networking

Do you have a thousand followers, or a couple friends? Are you the next YouTube star, or do you prefer to sing in the shower? Do you love meeting people and connecting with them online, or would you rather have a one-on-one chat with someone over coffee?

Does the idea of meeting new people thrill you, or intimidate you?

Meeting new people, making friends, connecting with others, and building your network is different for different people. While extroverts may be able to expand their network more quickly and easily than introverts, they may not make connections that are as meaningful as the ones that introverts make. And neither option – a large network of unfamiliar names and faces, or a smaller group of close friends and associates – is better or worse than the other.

Regardless of who you are or how you connect with people, building and maintaining your network becomes an important part of your college life from the moment you step on campus. You’ll meet roommates, classmates, students in your organizations, work colleagues, professors, and advisors. Through Career Services, you can make connections with your Career Peer Advisors, your Career Consultant, and the employers who can’t wait to have you on their teams! And, while not all of the new people you meet will become your best friends or colleagues, they each have experiences that they can share with you to help you realize your next step towards your life after graduation.

Because of the vast number of people you’ll come into contact with during college, building your network can be easy, even if you’re an introvert. Maintaining that network doesn’t have to be hard either, but it will require some forethought. Before you add your professor to your Facebook, check out our social media tips below.

 

Get Connected

Decide what social media platforms, if any, you’ll want to use to connect with people. If you already have social media accounts and don’t want people to find and add you, make sure your privacy settings are updated. Keep in mind that what is posted online never truly goes away, even if your account is completely private.

Some people choose to create a public account that anyone can see, including potential employers. If you decide to do this, watch what you share and post to that site. While you do have to be mindful of what you share, creating an online presence is increasingly important for those who will eventually be seeking employment. Many employers research potential hires and look at their social media accounts to see if their activity aligns with the organization’s culture.

For maintaining professional networks, we recommend using LinkedIn. In addition to being the preferred platform of many employers, you are able to customize your link so that you can easily add it to business cards or your resume. If you need assistance setting up your LinkedIn profile, or understanding how to use LinkedIn, schedule an appointment with your Career Consultant.

 

Google Yourself

Want to know what others see before they see it? Type your name into Google and see what pops up. If you don’t like what you see, you can try to work with a Search Engine Optimization expert to bury undesired content or make other content more relevant.

 

Use an Appropriate Email Address

Your middle school crazyygurl401@hotmail.com email address is not the address you want to email your professors or advisor from, and it is certainly not what you want listed on your resume. Because your social media accounts are often linked to an email address, consider creating a professional email address and relinking the accounts to it. That way, if the email address ever shows up, you don’t have to worry about it being linked somewhere that embarrasses you or that you no longer access. When creating a professional email account, we always recommend using some combination of your first and last name.

 

 

College is a great opportunity for you to begin building your network and making connections. If you’re not sure how to start, try saying hello!

If you need help figuring out how to network, what kinds of people would be good for you to connect with, or how you can get involved at networking events, contact USF Career Services to schedule an appointment with your Career Consultant or view out tips online here: http://www.usf.edu/career-services/students/networking-intro.aspx.