Best to dive in job world early


Test the job market waters early through networking and resume building. Erica Magda

By Marie Wilson

Even in January, some students are applying their best strategies for finding employment, and many say it all begins with thinking ahead.

“Students can’t wait around for employers to come to them,” said Lois Meerdink, assistant dean of Business career services. “They have to start early and make connections in multiple ways.”

Students like Nate Evett, sophomore in Business, make connections by networking through friends, family members and career fairs.

Evett said he attended a career fair, but he found an internship at the accounting firm Peter Shannon and Company in Hinsdale, Ill., through a friend of his father.

Meerdink said actions that shows effort and initiative on the job seeker’s part will help advance career opportunities.

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“It’s important to begin early and continue contact and interest,” Meerdink said. “It’s amazing how important interest and effort is in the eyes of the employer.”

Employers want to hire enthusiastic people with a drive to succeed because a strong work ethic is contagious, Meerdink said. Showing those characteristics could help ease the pressures of interviews and the job market’s climate.

Evett said he feels pressure to stay ahead of others in the search for a job.

“I feel like you have to kind of set yourself apart if you want to be successful,” Evett said. “It seems like the earlier you start the better.”

Being prepared during early is helpful, but Meerdink said the process of finding a job should not be viewed as a race.

“I think people need to realize it’s a competitive market out there,” she said. “It’s not necessarily about getting ahead, but it’s going to take a lot of work.”

Tarah Thommes, senior in Fine and Applied Arts, said she feels pressured to figure out her future during her last semester.

“I don’t know what to do,” she said. “Now it’s actually approaching. You can put it off before and go party but not anymore.”

As an art education major, Thommes said she is looking into graduate school options and grants for artists. She said a grant would allow her to accomplish her goal of creating and selling her own artwork.

Meerdink said goals are important in the search for a job, and that students should identify an area they are passionate for and immediately begin to develop a strong resume.

“Earlier is better,” she said. “But it’s never too late to start.”