Young woman interviewing As a mother with a college senior, I had to gauge when I could put pressure on my son Brett to start looking for a post-graduation job. I told myself that as soon as the fall soccer season ended, I would bring up the topic. At that point I asked Brett what his plans were. “I’m on it, Mom, no worries!”  Hmmm. Could I feel comfortable with that answer?

I suggested that together we could take a look at some resume templates. “Really, Mom, I’m all set. The career center helped me with my resume and I’ve started networking at career fairs. I’ve even lined up a couple of interviews.”

Wow. He really was on it. This spring he interviewed a lot and accepted a job about a month before graduation, all while keeping up his grades and doing an internship. I was impressed, and thought I would interview him to find out how he did it and if he could pass along some advice to other college students. And parents, I’ll tell you that just like those first words and first steps, when your kid links with you on LinkedIn, it’s a fun milestone!

Julie: When did you start thinking about finding a job after graduation?

Brett: I began thinking about finding a job during the late fall of my senior year. I started networking more and scheduled a few interviews during this time period using campus resources.

Julie: What campus resources did you use?

Brett: One of the best things that I did was utilize the career development center at my college. I walked right in and asked if they could help me look for possible career opportunities. They helped me write my resume and gave me advice on writing cover letters and on creating and updating my profile on LinkedIn. They also gave me information on upcoming career fairs and networking events right on campus. After I set up my LinkedIn profile, I connected with other students, recent college graduates that I knew, my parents’ friends, and other older adults I knew. As my LinkedIn profile grew, I began to utilize my network to explore opportunities. I also used the website Handshake.com to look at different companies.

Julie: What were your networking events like?

Brett: The networking events were an opportunity to meet different individuals and discuss career opportunities or internships. Many companies host these events on campus to meet potential candidates.

Julie: Which campus resources were most helpful?

Brett: My professors, coaches, and academic advisors were all very happy to help me in my search. Reaching out to individuals within my network on LinkedIn was also a great way to gain insight and information into possible career paths.

Julie: You had two internships while in college. Did those help you in the job search? How?

Brett: The internships were a great opportunity to learn in a real world setting. The experience gave me insight into what career path would fit me best. I also formed several connections and expanded my professional network during this time. I was able to talk about my experiences in several interviews with potential employers. The experience that I gained during the internships proved vital in my ability to impress employers and eventually get a job.

Julie: Do you have any interviewing skills you learned that you can share with other students?

Brett: The interview is a great opportunity to learn as much as you can about the company. They want to learn about you, but you also get to learn about the company and see if you can see yourself working in that environment. So be prepared with knowing what you find out about the company before you go into the interview. Be true to who you are in the interview. Be confident in your answers and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Use each interview experience to better your skills and improve for the next time.

Julie: What other helpful tips can you share?

Brett: Be proactive in your search. If I were to do it all over again, I would certainly start looking earlier. Make a LinkedIn profile ASAP. Connect with friends, family members, teammates, and your friends’ parents. Don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone in your network. Almost everyone will be happy to help you. Use every possible situation to network. Ask people what they do for work, what they like about it, and how they got there. Don’t be afraid if you don’t know what you want to do. You will learn through experience and trials!

Julie: How are you feeling about moving on from college?

Brett: I am relieved to know my next step, but I am a little sad to be graduating!  However, I feel prepared due to the education and experiences I’ve had at college. That makes me optimistic for the future.

Brett Rutyna, Senior, Saint Anselm College

Brett Rutyna is currently a senior marketing major at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.