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Launching your student's post-graduation career

By Lynn Fowler, Senior Career Advisor, UC Davis Internship & Career Center (ICC)

Unbelievably spring quarter is almost over. What will your student be doing this summer? Perhaps they already have an internship or will be taking classes. Maybe they’ve secured their dream job or graduate school admission. That is wonderful! Some students are still figuring out their summer or career plans and the ICC is here to help. Students might have been discouraged after a difficult employment year, but the good news is that there are more positions than ever posted in Handshake! In the last six months, the job market has turned around—so encourage your student to apply.

If your student is graduating, congratulations! This is an exciting time, filled with pride and anticipation. However, it can also be a time of fear and loss. There are so many changes for recent graduates and families. To help, here are five things we recommend for a successful career launch (Hint—even if your student isn’t graduating these tips are useful):

#1 Treat the Job Search like a Job

Looking for a career position can take three to nine months (internships take about three months) and can seem like a job in itself, so students may need to get a part-time job or an internship while looking. This can help students manage their time, learn industry skills, and try-out an organization or job. To stay on top of the job search, students can get organized, set weekly goals and utilize multiple search approaches including job boards, creating a target list of companies and networking.

#2 Make Use of the Internship and Career Center (ICC)

The Internship and Career Center is open all summer and we will kick off Summer with Hire Me! Academy, a two-day intensive boot camp on job search skills. All UC Davis Aggies are welcome, but it is especially targeted for rising and graduating seniors, recent grads and alumni. For detailed information on Hire Me! Academy workshops/sessions, have your student register in Handshake. The ICC offers newsletters and drop-in/scheduled advising as well. Alumni can access all ICC services for one year after graduation. After that, they can access nearly everything with the exception of appointments. ICC services will increase the chances of your student getting a job quickly.

#3 Don’t Plan Too Far Ahead

This sounds counter-intuitive, but focusing on the next step, while being mindful of long term goals, will help your student focus on the opportunities currently available. They may need to cast a wide-net and consider many types of positions when getting started. The first job isn’t always the dream job and won’t be the last job either, but it can build skills and insights and give more direction for future plans.

#4 Connect

Many career opportunities come from networking, so students are encouraged to continue to build professional relationships. This is often the last thing students want to do, so your encouragement can go a long way! They can create a LinkedIn Profile, connect with alumni, and talk with employers. In the ICC we offer many events to connect students with employers and alumni.

#5 Stay Positive

Every applicant hears “no” at some point. Assure your student that it is part of the process and encourage self-care along the way. If they stay focused on their goals and use multiple approaches, the “yes” will come!

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