Experts share secrets of post-graduation job search

The idea of finding a job after graduation can be daunting, but, by utilizing the knowledge and the various resources found at UC Davis, it doesn’t have to be.

Subhash Risbud, the director of the UC Davis Internship and Career Center (ICC), said some of the best job leads that students obtain after graduation come from career fairs held by the ICC.

“At any one time we have from 80 to 120 companies come to the campus all at once,” Risbud said. “That’s a great resource for students to find contact with employers. For a UC Davis graduate, it’s a precious resource they should definitely be using.”

Apart from attending the career fairs, Risbud recommended networking as a way to find jobs. Though the search for a job can be tough, he urges students not to give up.

“I think the way students should navigate the job market is to be frequently ‘out there,’” Risbud said. “Very often what happens is you have one interview and you kind of give up. Be persistent.”

Virginia Hamilton, who teaches a class on organizational communication, said that students should be prepared to work in entry-level jobs and internships before eventually getting to their dream job.

“Entry-level jobs are the path to the dream job,” Hamilton said. “No ‘right out of college’ student should expect their dream job. Typically, it will take a few years of simply working and learning on the job to move into the dream job.”

Hamilton said that during an interview, the best applicant explains in clear and confident terms why he or she would be perfect for the job. She recommended that applicants express how they possess the characteristics required of being good at the job they are applying for.

“Also, dress well, be polite, be natural and give consistent eye contact,” Hamilton said. “But the key is to tell stories of all the ways in which you’ve been successful in the past and how you will be able to apply those same abilities to your new job.”

Although jobs openings have been particularly hard to come by in the past few years, there is unanimous consent within the ICC that things have improved. Staff members believe that companies are now in the hiring mode and that internships are more possible than ever.

Michael Blaskower, a UC Davis alumnus who graduated in 2010, was hired for an internship with E&J Gallo Wineries after speaking with representatives at one of ICC’s career fairs.

“After my first internship, I was asked to come back to intern again with the chance of a job at the end. The key was working my butt off to the point where I became indispensable to the company,” Blaskower said.

Risbud says that students majoring in the physical sciences, engineering and business seem to be finding jobs the easiest, but that anyone can make a good impression at an interview by presenting their own unique strengths to their future employers.

“People don’t like to hear pre-rehearsed speeches during interviews,” Risbud said. “They like to hear what it is that you will uniquely do, and what you will bring to the company.”

In the search for jobs after graduation, Hamilton believes in remaining optimistic.

“Learn from interviews and believe that all things will eventually work out,” Hamilton said. “Be patient – eventually all good people get discovered.”

RACHEL RILEY can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

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