Looking for a job can be a daunting and sometimes discouraging endeavor, at any stage in your undergraduate or even post-grad career. Feelings of frustration, uncertainty or indecision all might be hard to overcome without any recommendations or support from someone with more insight. Luckily, through the Center for Career Advancement (CCA), the University provides students with useful tools and resources to guide them through the job-search process.
Through the platform Handshake, students can schedule counseling appointments with the CCA. Students can choose from a variety of categories which encompass many stages in the job search process, ranging from internship searches to job searches, career coaching, graduate school planning, resume review and more. There is even a category called “I don’t know where to start!” Handshake allows students to view and register for upcoming career events on campus which include career fairs, networking events, Q&A sessions on specific paths, alumni panels and more. The platform also serves as a database that lists thousands of current job opportunities to which students can apply. These opportunities include full-time and part-time employment, internships, as well as on-campus jobs. Students can filter jobs by location, type, industry, majors, or employers. Often, students are able to apply directly on the platform, for an easier, more straightforward process. Direct messages can be sent to employers and recruiters through Handshake. Director of Education and Career Readiness for the CCA Sarah Bell notes that Handshake is central to their activity as an office. However, Bell also recommends using a multi-search method when looking for jobs, as employers use a variety of recruitment methods.
When asking Bell about advice for graduating seniors she says, “Remember the first job is just that—your first position. As you gain experience and learn more about what you like and are good at, your career will evolve and you will find the next best step to take. A search for that first job can feel a bit overwhelming if you are open to anything—we recommend having some type of focus in terms of the type of work, location, skills you want to use, or problem you want to solve, however, the search will not be a straight line and go according to plan. Interesting and exciting opportunities will often present themselves if you remain open-minded and willing to take risks.”
For any student conducting a job or internship search, Bell also recommends utilizing the University’s rich alumni network. Getting recognized in a sea of applications is easier when someone can personally advocate for your application. Students can access an alumni directory through the CCA website, Bucknell Connect, and the University’s LinkedIn page. Bucknell Connect is an online platform, also available through a mobile app, that allows students to access an alumni database and connect with Bucknellians worldwide. Students can create a profile integrated with their LinkedIn while gaining access to University career resources. Bell emphasizes that staying organized and following up with alumni and recruiters is essential. “Keep notes on what steps you have taken with companies and individuals. An Excel or Google sheet can be very helpful in tracking who you’ve talked with, what opportunities you’ve applied to and when and who you haven’t heard back from yet. Prompt follow up is also important. Thank you notes are noted and appreciated by the employers and alumni you interact with when networking or interviewing,” Bell said.
Sophomore students can even get experience in the job world through externships, which are one-or-two day shadowing opportunities hosted by alumni, parents, or friends of the University. Externships occur over winter break in multiple locations and interested students should reach out to Rachel Redmond, the assistant director of Alumni Career Services for more information on this program.
Career counseling with staff members from the CCA is a great way to learn helpful skills and receive guidance regarding a variety of job-search questions or concerns. Katie Holmbeck ’22 explains how the CCA helped with her interview preparation. She says, “Before I met with a member of the CCA staff on the day before an interview, I was very nervous and not sure how to prepare. The CCA helped me to anticipate the kinds of questions that I would be asked and also gave me advice for handling difficult questions.” Students are also encouraged to stop by the CCA, located in the Botany building, during walk-in hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Appointments with the Center for Career Advancement can also be made online via their page on Bucknell’s website.