So it happened again – suddenly, you’re a senior. It may sound cliché but, you truly have your entire life before you. How exciting! And terrifying!
Here are a few tips to help you survive your final year at Holy Cross from a career development perspective.
- Take a deep breath. This is your FIRST step in your professional life – not the only step and certainly not the last. The beauty of studying at a liberal arts institution like Holy Cross is that you possess the core skills employers across all sectors seek. As a result, you can adjust to not only your own ever-evolving interests but also our world’s ever-changing needs. Holy Cross seniors go on to do a variety of things immediately after graduation as evidenced by our first destination reports. Whether you go directly to graduate school, enter a training program, do a year of full-time service or take a job that is just for a year or two, your experience right out of Holy Cross is valuable to your long-term career progression.
- Listen to your elders. I know, I know. Its hard to admit but your parents, friends’ parents, aunts, uncles, older cousins and yes, even older siblings actually know a thing or two. And while you definitely don’t have to admit this out loud, odds are, they have valuable information (and definitely opinions!) to share. Share your immediate plans and longer-term goals with them. Tell them about the courses, topics and issues that are of particular interest to you. Talk about your favorite ways to spend your time in and out of the classroom. They just might have soe valuable insight that can help you formulate a plan of action for the next nine months.
- And now ignore them. There is a downside to taking everyone’s opinions and advice to heart. Sometimes students pursue an industry, career or path that they believe (or know) their families want for them but is not a good fit for their own interests and strengths. We speak with far too many students who feel pressure to pursue careers as doctors and lawyers because it will make their parents proud and bring prestige to their There are more career fields and industries available to you today than ever before that are lucrative, fulfilling and prestigious in their own right. No one knows you better than you. Trust that you can make the best career decisions for yourself based on your own interests, strengths and values.
- Show up. There are many people and resources in the Holy Cross community who are eager to assist you in getting to where you want to be after Holy Cross. But you has to be the driver and propel your own progress to get there. No one can be helpful to you if you don’t show up and engage. Your first stop? Try the Center for Career Development.
The team in the Center for Career Development (CCD) is available to meet with you no matter where you are in the career development process. We offer career counseling and career assessments for those students who are undecided about their path. We offer job search advising for those who are ready to enter that process. We can coach you through the intimidating endeavor of conducting informational interviews and networking. But here’s the hitch: you MUST come in to our office to meet with us! We are available by appointment, Monday – Friday between 9am and 5pm. We also host daily drop-in hours, Monday-Friday from 1pm-4pm and Wednesdays from 10am-12pm for quick questions and critiques with no appointment necessary. You simply need to visit us in Hogan 203.
- Timing is everything. Full-time hiring, graduate school admissions and volunteer program recruitment all happen on different timetables. Many graduate and professional school acceptances are issued late in the spring. The same holds true for full-time volunteer program placements and fellowship awards. In the employment world, finance, banking, accounting and consulting recruitment happens via summer internships and very early in the fall semester. Most other industries aren’t interested in interviewing graduating seniors for employment until the candidate can actually start working, i.e. once they graduate.
That is not to say the job, graduate school or volunteer program search should wait until April. You should begin now to identify program application deadlines, request letters of recommendation from faculty members and advisors, craft personal statements and resumes and most importantly, network with alumni and other contacts in his/her field of interest.
- Knowledge is power. Visit the Center for Career Development website to familiarize yourself with the many services and online resources we offer. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our blog to find out about our industry nights, networking receptions, workshops, programs and visiting employers. Its senior year – show up and take it by storm!
(Written by Amy Murphy)