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On the hunt: Clemson students discuss job finding process

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The spring semester means much more than basketball season and student elections. For some Clemson students, it may mean a stressful period of job hunting, both for internships and co-ops, as well as for full-time employment. But how exactly do students go about their job search, and how do they plan what is essentially a huge step in their life?

For most students, it comes down to their academic department as well as the resources available around them. 

“We get a lot of emails pertaining to our major,” Damarcus Holland, a junior history major, said, explaining how the history department emails its students about job possibilities tailor made for their profession.

“My advisor has been very helpful,” Holland added. “She has alerted me of many things I could do to continue my education.”

Likewise, Richard Douglas, a senior parks, recreation and tourism management major, spoke about how the PRTM department goes out of their way to help their students by prioritizing building their personal network. As part of his degree, Douglas is required to have an internship, which he will begin this summer.

“They definitely bring people in,” Douglas said. 

However, things aren’t always so stress free. Mariah Canty, a senior sociology student, is still on the job search. 

“It’s been kinda hard, especially for my major, just having a bachelor degree. Most jobs, I have to go to graduate school to get a good job,” Canty said.

When asked about advice she would give to younger students in her major, she said, “I would definitely say to do an internship and see what you can do after graduation with the degree you have.”

The sentiment was repeated by Emily Nance, a senior biomedical engineering major who admitted to the stress she felt in regards to her upcoming graduation. 

“I really haven’t been too on top of it with the job search. That being said, I’m graduating within the next few months and my student loans are lingering over me like some dark ominous figure,” Nance said.

When asked about advice she would give others, Nance said, “applying for jobs can be a long and tedious process. Don’t be shy when it comes to all the resources at Clemson. From mock interviews to endless volunteer opportunities. Take advantage of your department too; they will have a network of companies you can start pulling from.”

Dr. Neil Burton, executive director for the Center for Career and Professional Development, agreed with Nance’s statement regarding resources. The Michelin Career Center is a larger student resource on campus, offering basic services such as resume critique and mock interviews, to more involved help like the strong interest inventory, which helps students evaluate their work interests, to the UPIC program, the University Professional Internships and Co-op Program, which pairs students with on campus internship and co-op opportunities. The career center also organizes multiple career fairs throughout the school year.

“There is no downside to coming and meeting with those employers,” Burton said, encouraging students to come to career fairs and network with potential employers. 

As for students who are looking for a job right now, Burton had this to say.

“You need to be on top of the job search process,” Burton said. “Look at ClemsonJobLink, see what is out there, ping your personal network. You want to put as many hooks in the water as you can.”

Dr. Burton also warned students about their expectations of their first job. 

“It is not going to be the perfect position. That’s fine,” Burton said. “We don’t want to just identify that first job after graduation, we want to help them with the pathway to get to that ultimate goal. So what we want to do is to provide the skill set for students to do those searches and know those questions to ask, to wring what they can out of those experiences to move them along that pathway.”

Burton also said that the resources don’t stop after graduation, and the career center will work with students up to 12 months after graduation. 

For those students who are stressed about their future, according to the Center for Career and Professional Development’s Annual Report, within six months of graduation, 88 percent of graduates are employed, continuing or planning to continue their education, or not currently seeking employment. 

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