Career Center staff helps students move to world outside college

Natalie Burkhart

It is easy for students to get caught up in all the festivities associated with graduation and to forget the next step: finding a job to begin their career.

Students can start their job search at the Career Management Center on campus, where staff members help with networking, resume formatting, interviewing, etc. Dirk Welch, director of the Career Management Center, said 85 percent of graduates last year found jobs within three months of graduation.

“We really work hard towards helping MSU graduates separate themselves or highlight their qualities, skills, and experiences in such a way that it will help them when they are competing with other job seekers,” said Welch.

Located on the Career Management website is a salary survey given to employers so that graduates of different disciplines can see estimates of their starting salary in each field. Starting salary can be found by bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, discipline, and region. Welch said that MSU graduates are in line with this nationwide survey, so they can apply the salary ranges it gives to them. Students can then see whether job offers line up with those typical of their field; this way they will not undervalue or overvalue themselves.

Welch said, “All MSU students can do well, and one of the things that we work with in the Career Management Center is helping students regardless of their discipline.”

The Career Management Center also helps students to find locations where there are a lot of job opportunities for their particular industry. Staff experienced in the student’s chosen field can also help with this.

Brandi Reid, senior in marketing, said she has already used the Career Management Center in some of her business classes. The students had to take their resume, and Reid has also used them before for interviewing techniques.

Although the Career Management Center is located on campus, the job searches staff members assist with are not limited to the local area.

“The job search engine actually has millions of opportunities,” Welch said. He added that the search engine pulls from various websites so that students can see job availability in specific zones. Welch explained that there are other search engines which are specific to different industries.

Welch said that in general, it is taking students on average six months to find a job post-graduation. However, the process may be shorter depending on the demand in each field.

Reid said she is hoping it will take her no more than three months to find a job, but that realistically she estimates it to take about three to six months.

“The Dallas/Fort Worth area is an area in which a lot of our graduates are going to work,” Welch said.

He said since such a large portion of the student body is from this area, it is not surprising that this is where a lot of students want to pursue their careers. This area is also home to a lot of job opportunities, due to its size and continued growth.

Reid said she would like to begin her career in an area such as DFW or Austin. She knows that both of these places hold a lot of opportunity.

“What I expect to happen is finding an opening that I’m interested in and contacting the HR department and sending over my resume, and from there hopefully setting up a phone interview, and then if they’re really interested, going in for at least one or two face-to-face interviews,” Reid said.

No matter where students choose to pursue their career, Welch said that it is important to prepare for the job search process ahead of time.

“I’m going to start looking before I graduate, that way it won’t be as stressful,” Reid said.

She said she is even considering getting her master’s degree after graduating with her bachelor’s. This can increase pay and further experience for some careers.

Welch said, “The Career Management Center would encourage students to get involved in networking and the job search process early on in their senior year if they haven’t already begun to make connections with professionals in their field. The resume, the interview skills, and the cover letter are critically important and the Career Management Center can help them with that.”