As the financial aid bills start to collect for upcoming graduates, it is time for many to start cashing in on the ideas they have worked so hard to learn in their time at PSU. While some people may have their things together and will have jobs waiting for them after graduation, others will have to find out just how to best use their newly acquired degrees.
Your future is now
As the financial aid bills start to collect for upcoming graduates, it is time for many to start cashing in on the ideas they have worked so hard to learn in their time at PSU.
While some people may have their things together and will have jobs waiting for them after graduation, others will have to find out just how to best use their newly acquired degrees.
Luckily, career counselors and a whole office of literature and resources wait to assist in this process on the fourth floor of the University Services Building.
Don’t limit yourselfCareer Center Director Dee Thompson said most people are limited in their understanding of what jobs are available. Students will often get frustrated after looking at the classifieds or Craigslist and not seeing jobs that fit under the heading of their major.
Thompson said a good thing to keep in mind is that “your major is not your job title.” With the exception of some of the more specific majors, the skills, interests and values of the students are more important than their declared major.
When people come in to the Career Center, the first thing staff do is to put aside majors and job titles. The counselor looks to help build a profile of the student based on various attributes including individual strengths and interests. This profile is used to narrow down the types of jobs the person would fit into the best.
From here, the job search begins. The Career Center has many resources that can assist in the particulars of successful searches. They hold workshops that can help with writing résumés and cover letters, in addition to interviewing and networking.
Choosing a careerOne of the hurdles often faced by graduates is simply choosing a career. Thompson said this process can be frightening. The commitment involved is a somewhat new experience for many students.
“School is a wonderful environment. Every 10 weeks you get to start over,” Thompson said.
A common misperception is that once somebody picks a career they will be stuck in it forever. Thompson said the truth of the matter is that people often change jobs several times throughout their lives.
Many people have to take a transition job just to fill in for the time that they are looking for a more career-oriented job. The average career job search can take four to six months, and doing something like waiting tables or serving coffee can be a perfectly suitable thing to help pay the bills throughout this time, Thompson said.
The Career Center remains open throughout the summer, and services there remain free to alums for six months after graduation.
Thompson said in an ideal situation, students will come to the Career Center and start planning in their sophomore year. This lets the exploration phase of freshmen to pass, while allowing time to help mold schooling and internships to their career goals.
Visit the Career Center Web site at www.pdx.edu/careers.
Going it aloneSome options are available for those confident in doing some job searching on their own.
-PSU CareerConnect is a database of organizations that have specifically contacted PSU looking to fill positions with students and alum. It can be found on www.pdx.edu/careers.-The long-time job finding Web site www.monster.com is still a common resource for people looking for a job.-Craigslist.com has many local and national jobs for searchers.-Your local newspaper is also another increasingly underused resource for job hunters.
Taking some timeSome graduates may want to jump right into the career field, but others may want to take some time off and explore other opportunities.
Here are some resources for those students looking to take a break after they leave school.
VolunteeringTaking the skills you have acquired over the years and volunteering them for a worthwhile cause may be an excellent way to broaden your horizons. There are many ways to apply and sharpen your skills while helping others.
Here are some agencies that can help point you in the right direction:
Peace CorpsPSU Representative – 503-725-3015www.peacecorps.gov
Volunteers for Peacewww.vfp.org
Volunteers of America Oregonwww.voaor.org
TravelingWhether it is hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, staying in a hostel in Prague or taking a cruise in the Caribbean, taking time to see the world outside the classroom could be a much needed recharge before taking on the next step in your career.
The PSU Alumni Association sponsors trips around the world. The next planned trips include a 12-day expedition on the Yangtze River in China and eight days in Italy’s Lake District.
More information can be found at portst.ahitravel.com
Going back to schoolMaybe you have not had enough schooling or you’re just not ready to start making payments on the loans. Whatever the case may be, universities including PSU are always looking for more tuition.
Here are some online resources that can help place you in the best post-undergrad program:www.princetonreview.com/grad/grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/gradwww.petersons.com/gradchannel