Quinnipiac University

Bobcats roar into the workforce

May 09, 2022

Boomer in a cap and gown

As students count down the days until they turn their tassels, the panic of answering the seemingly simple question of "So what will you do after you graduate" is setting in for some soon-to-be graduates.

Although Quinnipiac graduates shouldn't panic thanks to being ranked No. 1 in nation for job placement after graduation for third year in a row, it's normal for uncertainty and concern. The key, our career couselors agree, is to be prepared.

Even though job searching may seem daunting, there are many ways graduates can go in prepared. When going into a first job interview, Assistant Dean for Career Development Cindy Christie says it’s important to do some studying.

"Definitely don't ‘wing it!’ Always take the time to prepare and do some research about the organization. Read on their website about their mission, vision or any of their most current press releases,” said Christie. “Look at the job description and your resume side by side and see if there are examples of things you have done in the past that would be a good indicator that you could handle these new responsibilities.”

Associate Dean for Career Development Jill Koehler urges students to practice responding to interview questions and have their own questions prepared so that they feel confident and professional when walking in.

“Ask your career adviser to conduct a practice interview with you so that you can receive feedback prior to the big day and that way you’ll know areas where you may need to improve and work some of the nerves out in advance,” said Koehler. “Be sure to have three questions to ask the interviewer, remember to thank the interviewer for their time at the conclusion of the interview and ask for a business card so you can follow up with a thank-you note within 24 hours of your interview.”

Koehler also added several important points for students to keep in mind.

  • First, have interview attire ready in advance

  • Allow enough time to arrive at the interview early

  • Get enough sleep the night prior to the interview

  • Shut off cellphones after arrival

  • Give a professional handshake

  • Maintain eye contact

  • Get ready for small talk

Koehler also added that if the interview is virtual, make sure the computer, lighting, sound and environment are set up and working correctly.

When it comes to negotiating salaries, it’s important that students have a good sense of the salaries they can expect while also knowing their worth to get the best outcome. Christie recommends checking websites like BLS.gov and salary.com to get an idea of what to expect.

“Students should do an assessment of what skills and knowledge they bring to the table that will add value to a hiring organization,” said Koehler. Typically, the first job out of school doesn’t have a ton of salary wiggle room as you haven’t had a chance to prove your abilities yet, but that doesn’t mean it hurts to try.”

Koehler says students should also be aware of signing bonuses or other potential bonuses, health insurance costs and what it includes, incentives or stipends if not using the insurance, 401K options and if the company matches contributions, vacation, sick and personal time off and short-term or long-term disability in the case of a health or physical issue.

For alumni that are considering making the leap to a different job, both Christie and Koehler advise that they should do what’s best for them.

“If an individual is at a point where they feel they’ve maxed out their opportunities within their current organization or they are feeling ready for a change of pace and wanting a new challenge, by all means — start searching,” said Koehler. “Regardless of where you are with your current position, your resume should always remain up to date and ready to be shared in case an opportunity crosses your path that can’t be refused!”

A perk of being a Quinnipiac graduate is a continued sense of career support and access to job opportunities.

“If they are unhappy in their current position or with their employer, there is no reason not to look. Alumni continue to have access to QU Career Connections after graduation and can feel free to search there as well,” said Christie.

With Zippia naming Quinnipiac the best school for alumni success in the workplace for three years running, upcoming graduates should be able to trust in the foundation of knowledge that they’ve built in Hamden.

“The only limitations are the ones you put on yourself. Never stop pursuing your goals regardless of how difficult they may seem and always remain vigilant and flexible. Sometimes the hard lessons in life are the ones that provide the most value,” said Koehler.

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