According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the jobs outlook is improving for recent college graduates. In a new WalletHub feature, UMBC Career Center Director Christine Routzahn and fellow career experts around the country offer tips on the best next steps for these job seekers. Like her colleagues, Routzahn recommends that graduates pragmatically make sure that the work they plan to pursue is in demand in the location where they want to live. She also encourages job-seekers to broaden their perspectives and their searches, and to go in prepared but also know how to move forward after a setback.
Routzahn recommends that job seekers go outside of their comfort zone, and use their networks as they job search and more broadly explore career possibilities. “Identify alumni from your institution who currently reside in the area for informational interviews along with conducting your job search,” she says, adding that “face to face opportunities are ideal in making the best connections.”
She also encourages current students as well as alumni to contact their university career centers, which can offer advice related to job searches, resumes, and the interview process, as well as practice interviews and connections with employers who are actively hiring. For those who have not yet earned their degree, Routzahn strongly recommends internships, research, co-ops, service, and student leadership opportunities. “These opportunities develop your skills, confidence, network, and many times lead to full-time employment,” she says.
And what if, even with all that planning and preparation, a young job seeker makes a mistake on their path to a dream career? Mistakes happen, Routzahn says. “It is important to own your mistakes and grow from them. Take initiative, listen and learn from others, understand the importance of a team, build your network and never stop learning.”
Image: Christine Routzahn, left, and Sue Plitt during the 2016 Presidential Faculty and Staff Awards Ceremony. Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.