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Little fish, big pond: Seniors navigating the job search

Graduation: the day so many students anticipate over their four years of college. It marks freedom from hours of homework and the beginning of the rest of their lives.

However, it can also weigh heavily on seniors’ minds. With graduation comes the need for employment.

Susan Hoover, director of Calling and Career at Oklahoma Christian University, spoke with the Talon about students’ job search.

Hoover directs Day Six, Oklahoma Christian’s career services department. They not only help students build their resume but also offer career counseling, bring job fairs to campus and host events to assist students in their job search.

Hoover said she sees many students get overwhelmed with the process and feel lost outside of the “Oklahoma Christian bubble.”

“At a place like Oklahoma Christian, you can be a big fish in a small pond,” Hoover said. “When you’re thinking of moving to a place like Dallas, Seattle or San Francisco, that is a really, really big pond; you may be a little fish. Sometimes students may give up too early.”

She said many students feel pressured to have a job offer by the time of graduation. However, nailing down a job may take time.

“It sometimes takes three to six months [after graduation] to find a job,” Hoover said. “That doesn’t mean you are not going to be successful; that is just how long it takes sometimes. It doesn’t mean you are going to be a failure.”

Paris McCutchen is a senior business administration major on the hunt for a job. She said looking for a job is daunting, especially when you are unsure of what your exact career may look like.

“It’s kind of hard because I’m not sure what I want to do,” McCutchen said. “As a business major, I can do a variety of things. That it makes it a bit more difficult, thinking, ‘Well, what do I want to do with my life?’”

McCutchen said she has found connecting with professionals in her life to be helpful in the process of finding a job.

“Networking is going to be your best friend,” McCutchen said. “Reach out to your professors. I think that is something a lot of people don’t realize; your professors can help you find a job or get you a lead. Build relationships with your professors so they can recommend you.”

Tyler Klaassen is a senior marketing management major who said narrowing down the options is essential to the search.

“I’ve gotten good at figuring out which jobs apply to me,” Klaassen said. “There is a large range of jobs which just are not for me at this stage in my career. As you search, it also gets easier to find more jobs that fit.”

In addition, Klaassen said finding a job is also about exploring opportunities in new areas to live.

“My fiancee has a job [in Oklahoma City], but she has expressed that if there are other places we could go, we could do that,” Klaassen said. “I’m mostly looking in Oklahoma City, but I have applied to jobs out of state. If we can get a good opportunity elsewhere, I think we would be willing to move.”

According to Klaassen, beginning the job search as early as possible is important.

“One thing I sucked at doing at OC when I wanted summer internships was being really proactive,” Klaassen said. “I didn’t apply far enough in advance. The next summer, I applied far in advance, and that worked out really well for me. I’m doing that now, applying in advance way before graduation.”

Ultimately, Hoover said she wants students to know the process may be daunting, but making connections and reaching out to employers does not need to be so intimidating.

“It seems like this giant thing, but employers are people, just like anyone else,” Hoover said.

All Oklahoma Christian students have access to Day Six resources through a Blackboard course.

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