Although most students are still getting back into the swing of things, many are already concerned and on the lookout for internship and job opportunities for the summer and beyond. Fortunately, UMBC has a number of organizations and faculty that students can use to search and prepare for the work world. The Retriever reached out to members of the Career Center, one of UMBC’s key resources for all things career-related, to gain insight on what students should do and keep in mind as they begin searching for jobs.
Christine Routzahn, the director of the Career Center, stressed the importance of preparation. “Being prepared also means having experience. Across the board, regardless of industry, employers are seeking candidates with experience,” she explained. “Students looking to gain a professional edge in the job search process will want to pursue internships and other applied experiences before graduating – such as research, co-ops, service and/or student leadership. Do this early and often during your time at UMBC. These opportunities develop your skills, confidence, network, and many times lead to full-time employment.”
One common issue with the job search is that students simply do not know where to begin. Luckily, members of the Career Centers assure students that they never have to tackle this step of job searching alone.
Beth Rudoy, assistant director of Internships & Employment, stated that the “job searching can definitely be overwhelming.” She continued, “To help manage the process, make a job search appointment at the Career Center to start making a game plan. Our Spring Career Fair is coming up on Feb. 17 as well.”
Kacie Lawrence, also an assistant director of Internships & Employment, suggested that, “UMBCworks is a great place to start. Employers post thousands of jobs, internships, co-ops and research opportunities in this exclusive system every year.
Lawrence continued to speak about the biggest mistakes that students make while searching and applying to jobs, she gave us a few pointers on what not to do while looking for potential careers. “It’s easy to focus exclusively on applying to jobs online, but that’s a mistake. You’ll have a much better chance of landing an interview through a personal referral. Students need to tap their network of family, friends, professors, people they’ve met through past internships and jobs and the like,” she said.
She added, “Another big mistake is to tell people you’re looking for ‘any job.’ How can they help you find a job if they don’t know what you want? Plus, employers are much more attracted to candidates who demonstrate specific interest in their company and the type of position they’re offering. The Career Center offers appointments, assessments and tons of information to help you pinpoint what you are seeking.”
In addition to on-campus resources, Routzahn had further advice for off-campus resources. “The importance of using your network can not be overemphasized. As most job seekers know, LinkedIn can also be a valuable tool in this process. You can identify UMBC alumni for informational interviews along with conducting your job search. Face to face opportunities are ideal in making the best connections. The more people you tell about your career interests the better. A valuable connection can come from a family member, friend, professor and even neighbor,” she explained.
As seniors look for their first real jobs and younger students look for internships, we encourage them to take some of the Career Center staff’s advice.