Lisle, Illinois ~ According to recent reports, unless you are an engineer, the 2013 jobs market poses a challenge for graduates seeking work in their major. Although degrees in business, computer sciences and accounting, followed by health care, round out the top five jobs in demand, competition is high and May graduates need to take steps to get ahead of the crowd.
These steps start with having an impeccable resume that is error-free. It may seem like a basic rule of thumb but employers find a surprising amount of spelling errors on resumes – a serious enough issue for 43 percent of hiring managers to immediately eliminate a candidate from consideration, according to a survey of 500 hiring managers by recruitment firm Adecco.
Taking advantage of your university’s career center is a first step. As a standard, the better college career centers should provide resume design and proofing sessions, mock interviews and employment referrals. Benedictine University’s Office of Career Development does this and more.
Ulyana Smolyak, M.B.A.’08, works as an appraiser at a real estate firm after initially being recommended as an intern by the University’s Office of Career Development. Smolyak said she worked closely with the University’s career advisors who she credited with helping her secure her current position.
“Their guidance – including helping me prepare for interviews – paved the way for me,” Smolyak said. “They (Benedictine advisors) introduced me to my current employer where I started as an intern and right before graduation I was offered a full-time position. It was a collaborative effort in making the internship possible and creating a path to success for me where the Benedictine staff recognized what I had to offer.”
Career centers that are able to assist in successful job placement for its alumni build credibility with employers and students. While job placement is not guaranteed, students can find other ways to make use of their college’s career services post-graduation. For the job seeker, these opportunities include resume and cover letter writing, job search advice, interview preparation and attending workshops. Career service offices can also be a vital referral agency to help build a company’s workforce with qualified applicants.
Benedictine alumnus Mark Connelly, C00, Bachelor of Business Administration in Management and Organizational Behavior, works in human resources for an Illinois bank. He uses Benedictine’s Career Development office to recommend possible new hires he knows have a strong liberal arts education and the preparation skills he requires.
“I work with Benedictine’s Career Development when I am looking for new hires because they know the skills I am looking for,” said Connelly who volunteers during alumni career events to help better prepare students to enter the job market. “Benedictine has become my first choice to seek applicants. We have several full-time employees who were recommended from Career Development.”
Students and graduates looking for an advantage during their employment search should get involved with their college’s career services office and attend employer seminars and job fairs not only in the hopes of landing employment but also to better understand what employers want. They must learn how to consistently represent the desired candidate image, which should be compatible with skills learned through study and hands-on experience. Career offices such as the one at Benedictine also help students better understand the skills employers are seeking as well as how to avoid mistakes when applying for jobs or during interviews.
Employers are looking for polished standouts and even a minor resume blemish or the slightest improper interview etiquette could doom any qualified degreed applicant.
Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 56 undergraduate majors, 16 graduate and four doctorate programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently ranked Benedictine University as the seventh fastest-growing campus among private nonprofit master’s universities, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among the top 20 percent of America’s colleges for 2011. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business as the fourth largest in the Chicago area in 2011.