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Sunday, November 18, 2018

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This year, SDSU is sending more than 10,000 graduates into the workforce. This year, SDSU is sending more than 10,000 graduates into the workforce.

5 Tips for Job-Seeking Graduates

SDSU’s executive director of Career Services provides tips for 2017 graduates heading into the job market.
By James Tarbox

This year, San Diego State University is sending more than 10,000 graduates into the workforce.

According to James Tarbox, executive director of SDSU Career Services, the job market for the Class of 2017 continues to look strong for well-prepared graduates.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that employers plan to hire approximately five percent more graduates from the Class of 2017, compared to the Class of 2016. Recent updates to this projection shows that this trend will continue into fall 2017.

Tarbox offers five useful tips to facilitate the job search for the Class of 2017.

1. Commit to your job search

Make the job search your job. Commit at least six hours a day to updating your resume, researching jobs and preparing applications. Dedicate time to networking with professionals. Start with SDSU Alumni events, your mentor from the Aztec Mentor Program and relevant professional associations.

Plan to attend “Life After SDSU,” an alumni-focused workshop series provided by SDSU Career Services throughout the month of June. SDSU graduates have access to Aztec Career Connection and the Career Resource Room for 90 days post-graduation.

2. Communicate your strengths

Assess your knowledge, skills and abilities. Determine what tangible strengths you gained from internships, involvement in student organizations, part-time jobs, study abroad programs and course projects.

Document the experiences that demonstrate your strength, then text them to yourself, blog about them, or make notes about them on your cell phone. It can help to practice talking about your strengths with a friend or family member. Flushing out your strengths will come in handy when you prepare resumes, cover letters and job applications, as well as when you get ready for interviews and networking opportunities with professionals.

3. Use apps and social media wisely

Your experience with apps and social media is a valuable asset in the post-SDSU job search. Employers know that the best place to recruit university graduates is on popular apps and social media. Expand your use of apps and social media to include platforms such as LinkedIn.

Ask your friends and family what apps they use in their professional lives and assess if these will work for you.

4. Understand the job search cycle

The job search cycle starts with committing to the work of the search. It progresses as you research opportunities, apply for them and network with professionals. Finally, the job search cycle narrows as you interview, negotiate offers and launch your career.

Stay committed to applying for jobs and networking even as you are interviewing for jobs. Interviews do not always lead to a job offer, and unexpected events on the recruiting side can lead to search delays and rescinded job offers. Keep your job search cycle active to manage job search setbacks.

5. Set realistic goals

Ask yourself who you want to become as a professional. The answers to this question will help you formulate your long-term career goals. Use your long-term career goals as a basis for getting your first job out of SDSU. Your long-term career goals consist of broad ambitions, including the industry you want to enter, the region where you plan to settle, and whether you wish to pursue an advanced degree.

Also think of more immediate goals. Your short-term goal will include the immediate need of securing an entry-level job or determining the next steps in your existing career. Your long-term career goals help you define the values that guide your decision making. Your short-term goal of employment allows you to apply these values to your first job and your quality of life.  

Once you figure out your goals and values, use them to answer career-focused questions with confidence.

Common questions asked during interviews include: What motivates you? Why does this job make sense for you? How do you define success? How important is work-life balance to you? Your honest answer to these questions allows employers to assess if you are a “fit” for their organization and helps them determine what you would contribute to their team. At the same time, the way employers discuss these questions may provide you with valuable information that could help you determine if the job is right for your needs. Ask yourself how working for this employer would advance your career plans, whether or not you see a “fit” with this organization and if advancement within the organization is in alignment with your long-term career goals.