Student Handbook

V. TOOLBOX For Students Within One Year of Graduation

It's time to begin your job search! This is the time to think about what your career goals are and begin placing yourself in a position to achieve those goals. The following is a list of things that you should focus on now that you are a year out from graduation.

Resume

Make sure your resume is posted on the website and is up to date! Very important! Companies search the SRC website for resumes of students within one year of graduation. Resumes are provided to the companies with a spreadsheet that allows easy sorting and searching, but if your resume isn't there, it won't come up in the search! If your resume is out of date, e.g., grad date is incorrect or you're still showing courses from your freshman year as current, your resume is likely to be dumped with no contact.

Please request via e-mail to resumes@src.org that your resume be removed from the SRC Web site when you have accepted a job.

Timing

A year from your degree completion is not too soon to start looking for a job. From the industry's point of view, this is PRIME TIME for beginning your search. Everybody understands the time crunch created by completing your research and writing your dissertation, but if you wait until those tasks are completed, you may find yourself a year or more with no job and many search avenues no longer available. By all means complete your degree before leaving campus, but start your job search concurrently with that process.

A timing tip: Try to schedule all your interviews in as short a time frame as possible. Also, be up front with companies about the time you need to make a decision on a job offer, and that you might need that extra time to finish your previously-scheduled interviews with other companies.

Define the Right Opportunity

One of the first things you should do is define what a good opportunity means to you so when one comes along, you are ready to accept an offer with confidence. There are many different things to consider when deciding what makes an opportunity the right one. These items might include, but are not limited to:

  • Opportunities for future growth
  • Working in latest technology
  • Job responsibilities
  • Location
  • Mentorship
  • Salary / benefits
  • Compatibility
  • Spouse
  • International assignments
  • Location

Contacts

Exploit the industry contacts you have through your association with SRC, i.e., the  Liaison Program and the SRC website. If you don't know the Liaisons for your research, send e-mail to students@src.org and ask for that information. Part of the Liaison's responsibility is to mentor students and help with job identification as appropriate. You can also find a list of member companies with a link to someone in the company that knows about SRC students and has promised to answer e-mail. Explore the Career Office at your university for other contacts and for interviewing tips.

Interview Process

Preparation for your interview is important. Do your homework; learn about the company you will be interviewing with. Be on time or early, consider traffic, parking and finding the location. Dress appropriately for the company; first impressions do mean something. Be careful with cologne, perfume, piercing, tattoos etc. Create a "60 second me," i.e., be able to describe yourself quickly and succinctly. Know your resume so you can talk about your skills and qualifications clearly. You should make sure to have extra copies of your resume and references. Information exchange, begins when the interviewer describes the requirements or the group's focus, technical qualifications and performance qualifications. You should be thinking ahead as the job requirements are discussed, think about how your skills meet the company's needs and what you can bring to the group. Probing begins by the interviewer asking questions about information on your resume; this is where creating a "60 second me" is important. You should listen carefully to understand the questions. Organize your thoughts quickly and answer all parts of the question. Some companies today use Behavioral Interviewing questions. These questions are designed around the concept that an individual's past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. The accuracy of the prediction depends upon how similar the past situations are to the future situation. Why is it used? To ensure a more accurate assessment of your skills. This will provide more reliable prediction of your performance capabilities in a job setting. You should think of your experiences and training in terms of stories/examples so that you are prepared to provide those during your interviews. Remember that "how" is more important than "what," i.e., how you handled a situation is more important than the situation itself. Also remember that you are not expected to know all the answers, but how you handle questions that you do not know the answers to is important. When in doubt, just be honest.

Example questions

"What important goals have you set in the past, and how successful have you been in working toward their accomplishment?"

"When have you used your creativity to solve a problem?"

"Describe a situation in which you were speedy in deciding what to do."

Wrap-up of the interview begins typically when the interviewer asks you if you have any questions. You should ask appropriate questions that have not been addressed. Show enthusiasm for the opportunity. Always leave on a positive note.

"This has been an exciting, informational meeting for me. I know that I have the skills for this job and would make a contribution to your goals. What are the next steps in the process?"

Visa Status

If you are not a US citizen or permanent resident, it is important that you are fully aware of the implications your visa status has on your ability to legally obtain a job in the United States. Take time to do the necessary research so that you understand the entire process and timeline that will be required for you to secure the right to work in the United States. You can begin by talking to your university career center or university international students' office for relevant information. Check out the Links and Other Items of Interest page of the Student Handbook for additional links that may be of interest.

We will send you e-mail when the graduation date in our database is about one year away (and quarterly thereafter) as a reminder to use this Toolbox. SRC and SRC member companies want you to have the opportunity to explore all avenues so that you make the best choice. Hopefully, that "best choice" will be an SRC member company!


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