Searching for a full-time job prior to graduation or upon graduation can be stressful.

According to Laura Carey, director of career services at the University of Akron in Akron, and Heather Golden, director of the career center at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Cleveland, students and alumni should look to their university for help.

“Career services (at CIA) manages an online job board where employers looking to connect with alumni and students can post internships, co-ops, part-time and full-time positions,” she said. “Employers can also search for candidates on the job board as students and alumni are encouraged to upload their resumes and cover letters there, too.”

At CIA, Golden said career services are for all students and alumni at any time in their education and career. 

“We offer students one-on-one advising appointments where we will show students how to search for jobs, teach them interview skills, help them with their resume and cover letter, and provide them with our College Central network job board,” Golden said. “We will do this over the phone or via Skype if they are no longer in the area, so no one is excluded.”

Both institutions said students and alumni are encouraged to attend their job fairs. 

Golden said alumni are CIA’s best employers.

“Our alums will actually come back, whether that’s for career fairs or for our spring shows where students showcase their work,” she said. “Our alums understand that (school) is an in-depth and rigorous process. So, they know the quality they are getting when they recruit from CIA. Any time an alumnus comes back or emails a faculty member that they are looking to hire, they forward that message to (career services) and we post it on the job board.”

Carey said it’s important for students and alumni to use any career help a college offers.

“It’s important because our team is a team of trained professionals that can assist students with their job search,” she said. “Talking to professionals allows students to know they are getting advice that is current for hiring trends and what markets are in demand.”

Golden believes students should use their college’s career services early and often.

“We want to make sure the professional ideals are instilled early on,” she said. “The importance of utilizing a school’s resources is that employers know we produce strong candidates and come directly to us for hiring. But if you’re only utilizing a general job board, you might not see those specific jobs.”

But when considering the most important part of a job search, Carey and Golden had different advice.

“Students need to be prepared with a resume that showcases their skills and experiences,” Carey said. “They need to be ready to perform well on interviews, which can be practiced first. Alumni can come to us for mock interviews and we take walk-ins. We practice some general questions as well as ones specific to their field of study.”

Golden said, “You need to cast a wide net in your job search. You should reach out to your former contacts and go to networking events and get yourself out there. Using as many resources as you can in this search is very helpful for alums, especially since job searches can feel so isolating. Forcing yourself to reach out can help with that.”

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