Interview with The Shorthorn, March 2019
-How does being a proactive job searcher help you succeed?
This is a great question because many students wait too long to start looking for jobs. I have a lot of students who get great full-time professional jobs because they start earlier, and then their employers, not wanting to miss out on a great employee, will offer them a work schedule that they can fit around their school schedule.
-For someone who knows nothing about job searching, where do they begin?
UTA students need to get connected with the Lockheed Martin Career Development Center on campus. They are an invaluable resource. They have resume and cover letter workshops, networking events, job coaching events, mock interviews, skype interviews, and a Handshake account for every student that helps them connect with employers in their field. This is a free resource offered to all UTA students and alumni.
- How has job searching changed over the last 20 years?
Great question. It is electronic now and driven by the student’s ability to brand themselves online. More than 70% of employers are now googling their top candidates. It is up to students to have an online brand. I know in the college of business, we give our students a Foliotek account that allows them to create a web page to share with employers. Every student needs one to showcase themselves online. We also require every COB student to create a LinkedIn profile. Having a Foliotek page and a LinkedIn profile are two great ways to get professional information about yourself on page 1 of a google search. A resume and cover letter are more of an introduction now. You have to be able to showcase yourself online with a web page and work samples.
-What is the simplest way to increase your odds of finding the best job opportunity?
Networking is still a great way to increase your odds of finding a good job. Creating a LinkedIn page and networking through student clubs are two great ways to increase your job opportunities. One thing I tell my students is to relax and enjoy the process of job hunting.
-What are most people doing wrong?
Many students put too much pressure on themselves to get the perfect job out of college. Sometimes, you just need to take a position to get some experience in your field, even if it’s not exactly what you see yourself doing long term. Many students overlook really good smaller local companies because they want to work for what they perceive as larger, more glamorous corporations.
-What do students find hardest about job searching?
Students give up too easily and they don’t persevere. Finding a job is all about selling yourself. Students need to get good at articulating why their skills and abilities can meet an employer’s needs. Students need to go to practice interviews to get better at interviewing. Part of why they don’t is because of a perception that if they don’t get a job, they are “failing.” In reality, you have to go to several interviews to get a job offer. That’s because you get better at interviewing over time. Don’t be afraid to fail…life is a combination of “failures” and “successes.” People give up too easily.
-If you are looking for a job, how much time out of each day should dedicate to job searching?
When I am job hunting, I tailor each resume and cover letter to that specific job. I incorporate key words from the job ad into my materials. Therefore, looking for a job is extremely time consuming. I tell my students that it’s the equivalent of another class per semester. That’s how much time you should be investing. But work smarter, not harder. So make sure you’re applying for jobs where you have the preferred qualifications or close to it to increase your odds of getting a job you will like and excel at.
In our work with employers who hire our graduates, we have found that they love to hire UTA students because they generally have more work experience than students at other schools, and great work ethics. They also know our students are not entitled; they are willing to work hard and don’t expect a handout. They also say that our students are extremely technically proficient. However, our students are not as confident in the job interview process. That is why every student should work with our career development center up at the UC to gain that confidence. UTA is a Research 1 university. Our students should feel confident that they have what it takes to succeed in the workforce. One look at our amazing alumni and you can see how UTA has prepared our students for success.