Staying Connected: Tips for Senior Year and Beyond

In honor of graduation, CEHD Undergrad sat down with CEHD career counselor Jamie Schumann to discuss how seniors can utilize career services and the resources the university offers long after they flip their tassel and take on the title of alumni.

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Jamie was motivated to become a career counselor after spending countless hours with her own as an undergrad. Jamie’s counselors helped her as she switched majors, decided on graduate school, and networked  for her current position as a CEHD Career Counselor, which she’s held since October of 2014. Jamie attributes her career successes to the relationship she built with her counselors and now she is sharing that wisdom with students and alumni.

Post-Grad Life

 

CEHD Undergrad: Senior year can feel panicky and sometimes students really don’t know what they want to do in their lives all of the sudden– kind of like a quarter life crisis. What resources does CEHD have that can help students with that?

Jamie Schumann: Current students and alumni up to two years out can meet with a career counselor to talk about what they’re going through in terms of figuring out what they want to do if they don’t know. If they’re still unsure of their interests they can take an interest assessment online and come in for an interpretation with a career counselor– sometimes that can help ground people in what it is that they’re looking for and give them validation that they’re on the right path, or give them new ideas for things maybe they haven’t thought of yet.

CEHD: If a student is having a hard time transitioning into the workforce after graduation what resources are available to them? Is there anything outside of meeting with a career counselor if they’re not in state?

JS: The typical job search takes six to nine months after graduation so I think that’s important to keep in mind. Maybe you aren’t getting interviews, so it’s always a good thing to review your materials and we can still help people with that out of state. I did a phone interview with a student that was living in Chicago a couple months ago and she sent me her resume and her cover letter.

The job search strategies page on our website goes over this career development cycle process which it can be hard to navigate if you aren’t 100 percent sure what you want to do. A good way to ground yourself can be to figure out ,“If I know my values, I know my interests, I know my skills, how do I roll those into a job?” It’s always good to start with knowing yourself. Set some career goals and then look at the job market.

CEHD: What is the most common concern that a graduating senior or an older student will come in having?

Most students just need assurance that they can do something that they’re thinking about. I have had people come in across the board: people who are wanting to do a gap year, AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and thinking, “How can I translate this into a career?” Some are people that are in a current career who are rethinking and trying to figure out if it’s right for them. We help students with decision making, personal statements, interviewing, researching options, and if you get an offer and you need help negotiating, we help students with that too.

The Job Hunt

 

CEHD: What are some networking resources that are available to CEHD students?

JS: On our website we have a guide to professional social networking and online identity. It’s really helpful because it goes over online networking on LinkedIn, which I really recommend everybody get. We have a CEHD student and alumni networking group which can be  another safe way to explore because you can look people up by major and see what they’re doing, read their profile, and then you can send them a message and say, “Hey would you like to meet for coffee? I’d like to know more about what you want to do and how you got there and tell me about your career path.”

We also have some handouts on informational interviews so if you’re trying to figure out like how to do an informational interview, we’ve got some suggestions on how to get connected, how to conduct it, how to schedule it, like literally how to go about doing the interview and all the way to follow up.

On GoldPass, we have a professional networking tab so that’s another place where you can strategically look for people to conduct informational interviews with.

CEHD: What is the best advice you have for students as they begin their job search?

JS: Always be active in the process. Whether that means going back to the knowing yourself stuff: identifying skills interest values, exploring that, all the way to evaluating what kind of resources you have. A lot of times just talking to people, reaching out learning what people do, sometimes that process can really bring in new doors for you to open. Today about 80 to 85 percent of internships and jobs have been landed through networking and that’s a really great way to stay connected to the pulse of the field.

Again, a typical job search does take six to nine months. To really go through that process, engage in it as soon as you can. Compile all of your resources and see what you have and what you’re missing and consult with us if you need help. It’s really important to stay positive through the job search process. It can be easy to  feel bummed after you had a handful of interviews but know that the job search process is really a two-way street: it’s not just about the employer seeking you out and hiring you, you’re looking for a good fit too!

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Come for the career counseling, stay for the view from the Ed Sciences building.

Staying Connected

 

CEHD: And once a student lands that dream job, what ways can they stay connected to the university?

JS: We hope that if we’re working with students they will share their story on our blog! We do have a Career Services blog, and that’s also a great place to search for jobs and internships. Some specific ways to get involved and stay connected is by becoming a member of the UMN Alumni Association where you can become involved with the CEHD alumni society. You can also volunteer with current CEHD students if you want to become a mentor to them.

CEHD: What would you say the biggest benefits of speaking to a career counselor would be for a graduating student?

JS: Career counselors can really help you no matter where you are at. Whether your complete undecided and you’re just challenged by what you want to do or trying to negotiate your first salary, it’s never too late to connect with your career counselor.

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