Monday, June 20, 2016

The journey of the job search

For college graduates of the class of 2016, the prospects of finding full-time employment are bright, according to Michael Van Lear, Hawai‘i Pacific University Director of Career Services.

“We are at very low unemployment levels — at the state and national levels — when you look at the last 10 years, especially coming out of that recession,” he said. “This is the time college graduates should be aggressively pursuing work opportunities.”

To help HPU alumni and current students find employment, the Career Services Center (CSC) offers HPU Connect, an online job board. Once registered, employers may list positions and the university’s students and alumni may post resumes and search for jobs in the portal.

“Employers know that a good resource for their labor pool is colleges, and recent college grads are often the ones these entry-level positions open up for,” Van Lear said. “They’re eager. And they’re generally more flexible, willing to do what it takes to get their careers going.” 

If employers are successful recruiting for employees with certain universities, they will continue going there, and often, the only other place they will post positions is on their own company website, Van Lear added.  

A piece of advice Van Lear shares with job hunters is to remain open, exploring all avenues. He does not recommend getting fixated on working for a particular organization or in a specific position. While searching online for jobs, also keep this in mind.

“Instead of putting in a job title, put in the general field that you are looking for and that’s when you’ll see there are more opportunities than you thought,” Van Lear said. “And be meticulous and really read through job descriptions. You may realize you can do the job, but maybe the title just wasn’t aligned.”

Now with a list of job leads in hand, HPU alumni and students are invited to contact Van Lear and the CSC staff with next steps in the employment search. Among the complementary services offered to the university’s graduates and students are resume and cover letter reviews and mock interviews. 

The details documented in the resume and cover letter are important to landing the interview. If recent college graduates lack work-specific experience, skills and knowledge gained through extra-curricular activities demonstrate qualification, too. Whether it is through a part-time job, an internship or cooperative education opportunity, leadership in a student club, or volunteer service, Van Lear encourages students to think about developing skills beyond the classroom. These skills should be transferrable to the career they anticipate pursuing.

“If you were the treasurer on student government and you’re an accounting major, that’s a big plus,” he said. “You need to emphasize that and explain exactly what you did as treasurer, which will help you stand out from your competitors.”  

Once the interview appointment is secured, preparing for it is the next big hurdle. Van Lear urges job candidates to do investigative work, which includes looking at the employer’s website and getting familiar with the organization and thinking of meaningful questions to ask the interviewer.

“And be prepared to talk about your strengths, your weaknesses, your plan for your career three to five years from now,” Van Lear said. “The resume gets you the interview. The interview gets you the job.”   

The CSC staff welcomes HPU graduates and current students to participate in mock interview appointments. The staff will film appointments, play the recordings back, and spend time coaching and reviewing the experience with prospective job applicants. Van Lear will ask people to think about their answers and whether they like what they said. He will prompt them to assess whether they exhibited enthusiasm and a positive attitude.  

“If you think about how much homework you do to get through a class, why wouldn’t you make that same kind of commitment to getting ready for that opportunity which is actually going to give you a paycheck,” Van Lear said. 
Career Services Advisor Ryan Tin Loy (left)
and Director of Career Services Michael Van Lear; staff not pictured
Career Services Advisor Amanda Austin
and Customer Service Representative Renz Argen Lorenzo

HPU students and alumni, check out what the university’s Career Services Center has to offer: Career Advising, Using internships and co-ops for class credit, Resume and cover letter assistance, Mock interviews, Job search assistance, Interest assessments (MBTI and Strong), Professional development events and workshops, Career Fairs, Employer information sessions and tables, HPU Connect online job board.  

1164 Bishop Street (UB), Suite 122
Honolulu, HI  96813

Phone:  808-544-0230

No comments:

Post a Comment