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Quadcast transcript: How to land a job straight out of college

February 21, 2018

Read the story: Changing approaches guide students’ path to career success

What’s your dream job? What do you want to be? Every five-year-old has a quick answer or two to this question. But once you are at university it becomes more pressing. Besides, what’s a dream job? The question becomes: how do you land a real job straight out of college and suddenly the answer may be more elusive.

 WELDY: “So, I’m trying to figure out what I want to do after graduation.”

 That’s Anna Weldy, a sophomore at the University of Rochester majoring in chemical engineering. She’s talking to an advisor at the University’s Gwen M. Greene Center for Career Education and Connections.

WELDY: “I was originally thinking of going the MS/PhD route for engineering. Now I’m thinking I might want to go to law school.”

 The Greene Center is key in the University’s efforts to ready its students for life after graduation. Its task is to connect students with Rochester’s strong alumni network and prospective employers.

TESTANI: “That’s the lifeblood of what we do and it really kind of drives the programs that we do and a lot of initiatives that we have within the office.”

Assistant Dean Joe Testani is the center’s executive director. He says the role career centers play has changed—away from traditional counseling toward becoming facilitators of connections.

TESTANI: “Before it was really built on the idea that the career centers have all of the information, are the gate keepers. And I think the reality is that because of the information that students can get access to online, it’s really about how they make better decisions with the information that they have access to.”

 Of course, certain fields are more in demand than others. According to Testani, Data Science is one of the hottest.

TESTANI: “When I go on the road and I talk to alumni and employers they are interested in those graduates. They want to know what they can do or how they can get access to the talents of data scientists and data science students.”

A stone’s throw away from the career center sits the Simon Business School. Here, 94 percent of its full-time 2017 graduates found employment within three months of finishing their degree. But trying to figure out what job to aim for can be tricky.

Morgan: “It’s amazing how many new job types, job categories there are today that didn’t exist 10 years ago. So, I think it makes it challenging for not only career advisors but for students to try and find information about these new occupations, these new trends in jobs.”

 Hannah Morgan is the assistant director for working professionals at the Career Management Center for the Simon Business School. Her advice to business seniors is two-pronged:

 Morgan: “First—understand the landscape, the lay of the land, the industry that they want to go into. There’s so many different areas which a student could get into, they need to become familiar with those options are.”

 The second part? Well, have you done any internships lately? Don’t dither, says Morgan.

Morgan: “Even if it’s not the most ideal internship, any internship with work experience is more valuable than none. So, I really encourage students to get out there, get an internship, create an internship with a family member or a friend if can’t get one secured, that will give you valuable experience on a job site to better understand what you like and what you don’t like.”

[nat. sound violin music at Eastman]

Barely three miles away in downtown Rochester is the University’s Eastman School of Music— a name that carries real prestige. The school is picky in its admissions, yet being able to work in a classical orchestra upon graduation is not a given. Nowadays, around 16,000 students in North America obtain music degrees each year—many of whom will be competing for the roughly 250 full-time orchestra jobs available. To answer the changing employment landscape, Eastman has created the Institute for Music Leadership. Its director, Jim Doser—an Eastman grad himself—explains the Institute’s dual purpose.

DOSER: “One is to give students a career-based skill set that compliments the artistry that they learned here in the Eastman School of Music. The second is that we try to be a resource and a hub for information and resources for students and professional around the world.”

So, where are the jobs in the music industry? Where are Eastman grads going nowadays?

DOSER: “Well, I would say that the hottest field right now is writing music for video games. It’s really exploding, and at the same time it’s exploding, it’s creating new business models – very different from not too many years ago where composers always licensed their music and/or got royalties for what they wrote. Now, there’s a lot more one-off-types of engagements.”

Still befuddled? Do you know what prospective employers are looking for—that is besides a solid knowledge of your field? Here’s again Testani from the Career Center.

TESTANI: “Ethics and professionalism, communication skills, both verbal and written, ability to work in teams and collaborate with others as well as intercultural fluency. These are all really critical things that employers really seek out.”

Still not sure what you want to be when you are really, really grown up? Here’s Testani’s advice to all university freshmen:

TESTANI: “Explore often and early. I think our curriculum is set up in a way that allows them to try on a lot of different majors and disciplines and so we want them to extend that idea to everything they do. Join different organizations, volunteer, shadow people, do internships.”

For more info on how the University helps students find careers go to

For the University of Rochester’s Quadcast I’m Sandra Knispel.



Category: Quadcast

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