Planning the job search

With graduation on the horizon, jobs are on the minds of Pamplin students who are getting ready for life after college. To assist students in meeting the challenges of today’s job market, the college has expanded its resources for student placement and professional development, including developing a web application to match students and employers (see “Dominion gift: Helping students start careers”) and hiring a staff member to increase employment and internship opportunities for MBA students (see “On the move”).

Career services staff standing at a fair booth

Recommendations for students

Pamplin’s career services staff recommend that students prepare themselves by learning how to develop an effective plan for their job search; attending information sessions hosted by recruiting companies; exploring career databases; using social networking sites such as LinkedIn to connect with alumni; and taking career development classes, such as the Career Planning and Marketing Institute and Job Search Strategy Institute for MBAs, taught by MBA career services director Barry O’Donnell.

Pamplin undergraduate career services director Stuart Mease notes that job-seeking students “can participate in career-related programs and events sponsored by the college or university career services units, take a do-it-yourself approach, or do both.”

Sponsored programs and events

Mease expects that about half of Pamplin’s graduating students this year will find jobs through sponsored programs and events at the college’s target firms — about 1,000 organizations that employ at least three Pamplin alumni and have hired at least two recent graduates during the past five years. Many other organizations, he says, may also offer opportunities for which students will need to take the initiative in seeking and securing jobs.

“It is crucial for students to participate in our sponsored events — job fairs, company days, Executive Planning Committee info sessions — and programs — Hokies4Hire, on-campus interviewing.” It is also important for students, he says, to learn techniques and strategies that will help them in their job search.

Planning the job search

The “perfect job seeker” plan, says Mease, starts with establishing a career mission that aligns the student’s academic major as closely as possible with industry, company, and location preferences. A diverse search strategy should be developed, followed by extensive research on employers and persistent follow-up actions. Students should prepare for interviews thoroughly and learn how to accept, reject and negotiate offers in a professional manner, he says.

“The final step is the most important, and that’s action,” Mease adds. “Job seekers will spend on average three months looking for the job they want. Most do not spend nearly enough time on the search. Further, the time spent is focused on online searches, which yield poor results.” Networking is far more effective.

MBA assistant director Gina French, recently hired to increase employment and internship opportunities for MBA students, says her focus is to “grow our relationships with companies who already have a presence here and develop new relationships with companies that may not be active at Pamplin.”

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