Securing a job after graduation is undoubtedly one of the biggest worries for students around the world.
You could have it all: a degree, a high CGPA, work experience and reference letters; but all that doesn’t automatically guarantee a job in the competitive workforce.
That’s why several universities are trying their best to link students to job opportunities after they graduate, offering more internship opportunities, networking events, introducing them to industry professionals, and more.
But there’s definitely more that can be done to ensure students are aware of what the working world will be like based on their major, as well as how important their professional image and industry network will be.
At the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in the US, students who graduate might have a little less to worry about, as most secure a job soon after graduation.
According to the First Destination Survey report conducted by the university, 74 percent of the overall graduating class of 2018 were employed full- or part-time post-graduation; 20 percent were enrolled in a program for further education; and 5 percent were seeking full-time employment.
The results from 2018 were markedly similar to those of 2017, where 72 percent were employed, 18 percent were enrolled in further education, and 7 percent were seeking employment.
Plus, recent statistics show that UNH graduates are currently working in over 1,542 different organizations, earning an average salary of US$46,390 six months after graduation.
The university has a demonstrated history of producing graduates who are well-equipped for the working world and stand out from their peers.
Going above and beyond
The Department of Career and Professional Success (CaPS) at UNH empowers students to “proactively build the knowledge and skills they need to adapt and succeed in an ever-changing future.”
In addition to the university-wide CaPS office, each college division has its own CaPS office that caters to students in their specific college divisions.
They take extra steps to ensure that students are prepared for all aspects of securing a job – from fixing their résumés to interview skills, to events specially-tailored to help them succeed.
For example, they recruit approximately 200 to 250 employers on local regional, and national levels for the Career and Internship Fair, a bi-annual event.
Raina Sarvaiya, Director of Employer Relations, CaPS, said, “The other services we provide is a LinkedIn Head Shot Photo Booth, as well as career fair tours for the first-timers. There are events for students and alumni for all majors. Freshmen can look forward to finding internship opportunities and networking with potential employers for after graduation.
“Seniors are looking for full-time employment so it’s really important for them to network with all potential employers. The fair is only one of the services we offer. We help students with résumés, prepping for interviews, networking, helping students figure out what to do with their major and what employers are out there.”
Other career events organised by CaPS are ‘Résumé Review Day with Industry Experts’, ‘No Pressure Networking Night’, ‘Building a Professional Image: How to Market Yourself in the World’, ‘Start-Up Career Fair’, and more.
Steps to success
Wildcats, the UNH student community, consistently impress employers with “a belief in themselves, commitment to a set of values, dedication to hard work, agility to hit the ground running, and a responsibility to share their success with the next generation of students.”
As coaches, connectors, and champions for students and alumni, the department offers plenty of opportunities for students to facilitate mentoring, networking and personal growth.
The department has even developed a framework for students to excel in their chosen field by identifying areas they should strengthen to land the job of their dreams. This is known as the Wildcat Way to Professional Success.
For example, under ‘Build Awareness’, students are encouraged to identify their interests, skills, and values as well as research their field of interest to learn more about themselves and their potential field of work.
Recognising that a professional image is extremely important to graduate success, they also encourage students to polish their résumés, create and practice their professional pitches, and practice interviewing for their field under ‘Build Professional Image’.
For the ‘Build Experience’ category, students are guided on how to engage in academic experience through research and assistantships, participation in student organisations and the pursuit of professional experiences.
The fourth category is ‘Build Relationships’, providing assistance on building professional and personal networks, attending employer events, and more.
These helpful tips are further developed by providing students with extensive ‘action steps’ on how they can tackle them, such as using the InterviewStream website to record a practice interview or conduct a mock interview with a mentor or employer.
The multitude of resources, events and opportunities available at UNH undoubtedly prepare graduates to enter the workforce as professional, confident individuals with a strong sense of what they can bring to the table.