Heigh-ho, It’s off to work we go

Even if you are a freshman, the days of re-joining the workforce are not that far off: only four or so years after dumping at least $56,000 worth of tuition for a single piece of paper.

As my college experience wore on, it became evident why so many people hang their degree in a nice frame in their office. By the time my education is done, my expenses, – between rent, food, transportation, books, tuition and numerous fees – will total about $200,000, or an average of $38,000 a year over the course of 5 years.

Outrageous! But, does this “investment” equate to a high-paying job? Not always.

Take my field, psychology, for example. You can’t always qualify for a high-paying job right out of the gate. Why? Because for some jobs, like behavioral therapy, there are often certification tests you must pass before a firm or office can legally hire you. Those extra tests and certifications can quickly add up to several hundred dollars.

Other jobs include research, administration, human resources, social work or a whole list of possible applications.

So, before you beat your head into a wall going crazy looking for a job in your field, take a few moments to consider the following: what jobs sound the most interesting; which companies could you see yourself working for; and consider paid or unpaid internships.

I worked for many years before I decided to commit to a college degree. As someone who has been through many interviews in the past, it is always best to give each employer the time and attention they deserve.

A lot of recent college graduates worry about their employability, considering many students did not hold a job during college. This worry is misplaced. All you have to do is cleverly wordsmith your resume.

Instead of listing previous work experience, list relevant course work, and add a few lines about what you did during that class that applies directly to some of the job duties given on the job posting.

Whenever possible, fill out your job applications in person. Then employers have the opportunity to link the job with your face.

A common question employers will ask new graduates is, “Why should I hire you versus someone with work experience?”

To which you can reply, “While I don’t have work experience, I have done…,” and then you can chime in with the specific coursework and projects you did in your time here at Washington State University that directly apply to the job.

In general, many of you do have work-related experience: you have extensive time management training and conditioning, the ability to prioritize workload and ability to complete tasks on a deadline. You can send or receive emails in a timely manner. If you have ever had difficulties with group projects, you can bring up the issues and how you resolved them.

The biggest thing, my fellow Cougs, is not to get discouraged by getting rejected for jobs or not getting interviews; the ratio for interviews to resumes is something like 1 in 10.

Remember when you are in an interview that you are, for all intents and purposes, ‘selling yourself,’ so pull out all the stops. Where possible, use humor, or at the very least smile. If you are nervous, find a way to transfer that energy toward getting the job.

Good luck out there in the real world. Do us all proud, and Go Cougs!

Jorden Wilson is a senior psychology major from Seattle. She can be contacted at 335-2290 or by [email protected]. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the staff of The Daily Evergreen or those of the Office of Student Media.