By Madison Martinez
Spring has sprung and that means a few things for students: warm weather, finals approaching, and for seniors: graduation. This milestone is important for seniors because it completes their journey through college, but begins their journey into the workforce, and that is already a confusing time.
The diploma in their hands is the key to their career, but what door should they open with it? FDU has the Career Development Center, available to students and alumni and are willing to give the tools and advice needed for every student’s path to a successful career.
Christine Vitale, one of the coordinators for Career Development, helps students in all different majors, and when interviewed by The Equinox, she presents some excellent points on students entering the job market.
Students often worry about which markets are growing and which are shrinking, but Vitale has a different way of looking at them.
“I don’t really know of any specific areas that, in my line of work, that I would actually say are dwindling,” she says. “I would say they are changing.”
English and communication majors might be worried about entering the field of publishing or journalism because of the decrease of consumption of written media. However, these fields are just changing into a more digital age.
“There’s another way to look at your field,” Vitale says. “You will find a way to fit into the field maybe not doing what you initially thought could be diminishing.”
“Students who have an interest in animation may find more work opportunities increasing in video games. As opposed to producing for say TV or film animation. There are growing opportunities in the video game industry and that will continue to grow…those students who have laboratory skills in science will find increased demands in doing their lab work with software as opposed to raw materials,” Vitale lists of a few examples, “There’s a growing demand for the digital understanding of programs.”
With this change, it’s important for students to keep track of the fields they are interested in.
“Scope out career profiles whether they’re online or published in books somewhere about what is required in the fields. . . read in your field all the time,” Vitale recommends. “That’s how you will keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the field.”
Students need to prepare for this anticipated transition, and Vitale has a few tips on the matter.
“I would first of all scope out what software programs are being utilized in which fields and then try to find online tutorials,” Vitale says. “You may find videos for instance on YouTube that are training videos that an employer may be doing for their organization. Even if it’s a little dry at times [you] can get a good feeling of what this software can do. If you watch it enough times, you can become acclimated pretty quickly.”
Networking is also a very important aspect of career searching, and Vitale offers a few strategies.
“I think of everything as a networking event. Anything that’s labelled as a networking event. If it doesn’t cost a lot of money than I think that’s one way to do networking,” Vitale explains. “Another way to network is by again reading other publications.”
“By the time they’re reaching their senior year and looking to graduate, hopefully [students have] been building some networking connections because greater than 90% of the jobs people get because they know people.”
Just meeting people, however, isn’t enough. Vitale gives advice on what to do after the initial meeting.
“You need to follow up and maintain connectivity with those individuals,” she explicates. “Start by having a simple conversation, collecting a business card, writing a follow up thank you letter for the person who spent some time speaking with you. Maybe asking if you can meet with them again to learn a little bit more about what they do or the field. If they talk to you a little bit more, they may have a growing interest in considering you for employment.”
The Career Development Center is in the first floor of the Giovatto Library and all students and alumni can receive help from one of its several advisors.
“You have to put every ounce of energy that you have into shaping yourself and your career,” Vitale closes with. “Don’t think of it as a chore. Think of it as a journey. Think of it more like a treasure hunt. So if you make it your priority you’ll find that it’s actually a joyful and exciting time.”