For sophomore Carmella Holl, starting the job search her freshman year was a priority.
During her first year at the College, Holl went out on a limb and decided to attend a Career Fair with the intention of getting experience talking to professionals. She admitted that she was not expecting to get any job offers.
“Some people think ‘Oh, I’m a freshman, I have time, I don’t need to worry about this now,’” said Holl, with regards to the post-graduate job search. Holl declared that the longer college students wait to put themselves out there, the less time they have to figure out what they want to do once they graduate.
“Be proactive as early on as possible.”
After that first Career Fair, she landed a position—albeit unpaid—as Assistant Talent Coordinator for the “Big Joe Jersey Talent Show” at the local Jersey 101.5 station. The summer following her freshman year she aided the chief talent coordinator, worked closely with the contestants, attended the weekly events, and helped with registration.
“It took place on the beach so I had to deal with all the loonies who were passing by,” said Holl, citing this as a unique learning experience. “I acquired a lot of people skills through the internship,” which she believes fit under the umbrella of skills “you can use at any type of job.”
According to Associate Professor of Journalism, Donna Shaw, interns should gain “the ability to work well and cooperate with others,” a skill she finds supremely useful. In addition, Shaw stated that being able to follow instructions, learning quickly, and “the ability to multitask without crumbling under pressure,” will prepare interns for the workforce.
In a study of more than 12,000 college students conducted by Intern Bridge, “the premier college recruiting, consulting and research firm,” according to the website, 64.1-percent of respondents stated that, “taking part in an internship experience is a critical component to planning their career.”
With a good amount of professional experience now under her belt, Holl suggests that college students get their résumés critiqued, check out LionsLink (the College’s online job database), and, perhaps most crucial of all, read every e-mail about job opportunities.
“[They’re] throwing these things at us,” Holl said with regards to the endless e-mails she receives about invites to recruiting events, meet-and-greets, and both part-time and full-time job opportunities. “And I think it would be good to take advantage of these things.”
Professor Shaw constantly advocates for this kind of upbeat attitude.
“Internships are very important for college students. If two new graduates have equally good résumés, an employer is more likely to hire the one who successfully completed at least one internship, if not more,” said Shaw.
Professor Shaw continued, explaining that such experience adds to a student’s presence in the job market. “It's a sign that the grad is ambitious, knows how to behave in a workplace environment, and has learned from professionals as well as professors.”