Mansfield graduation is in less than two months. As someone who will be crossing the stage and collecting my diploma, I can tell you that this is the scariest yet the most exciting event in my life so far. The scariest part of all is knowing how many job applications I have and will be filling out. The road between student and employee is always a road less traveled regardless of the help all of us are getting from friends, family and professors.
I learned from talking with Nichole Lefelhoc, Director of the Career Center, that this is how just about everyone is feeling these days, and that there isn’t one “right way” to figure it all out.
“Everything is different for everyone,” she stressed. “My job means figuring out each students’ needs and goals and guiding them to the right resources and opportunities.”
Nichole has an incredible amount of resources for both internships and post-graduate employment too. Mansfield has their own online job/internship database for alumni and current students, known as the Mountie Career Connection.
“At any given time, there are between 50 and 250 job and internship postings on the Mountie Career Connection. Most importantly, almost all of them are entry level positions or jobs requiring less than 5 years of experience.”
This information also helped me feel better. Knowing that there are jobs available for entry-level employment is a relief after weeks of searching and finding most postings require 5 or more years of experience from the candidate.
Finding the right job isn’t always easy either. Especially, when you can do so many things with your degree. Taking public relations as an example, when I graduate I can work in public relations, internal communication, marketing, advertising and events. I can also work as a social media coordinator and I could work at a university, a large corporation, a private firm or a non-profit organization just to name a few! But how do I choose?
“When I was in my undergrad, I was a social work major,” Nichole told me, “And my advisor sat down with me and helped me narrow my focus. I had always been able to say what I knew I didn’t want to do, but I could never pin-point what I wanted to do. What I figured out after that discussion was that I loved getting to know what other people did and what it took to get them there. My job now plays into that perfectly, because I help students get to where they want to be.”
Aside from pointing me and many other students in the right direction of where to go to look for career opportunities, what can Nichole and the rest of the Career Center staff do to help me out in the next few months? To name a few things, they’ll look at your resume and cover letters for the jobs they helped you to find. And, there is the Professional Clothes Closet, which is a resource for professional clothing to wear during the interviews we’re offered after their help. Every student is able to have one professional suit from the closet while they’re a student here. Selection is limited as the clothing is donated, but in a pinch the Career Center is much closer than the mall.
Nichole did offer a few great pieces of advice about job hunting, which seems like the simplest thing to remember: Follow directions, triple check your grammar, and make sure to sell yourself to the employer by telling them what you will be able to bring to their company. Nichole has plenty of stories to tell from employers who have noticed when candidates didn’t do one of these things and I encourage anyone who is looking for an internship, is on the job hunt or is confused about what they want to do to stop by the Career Center in Alumni Hall and talk with Nichole and the rest of the staff. You won’t regret it!