What now

Ben Wimmer

It’s that time of year again, the end of the semester but the begining of worrying, cramming and doing last minute research papers. Yet for graduatingstudents, it’s time to start thinking about stepping into the job market. That’s what college is all about, right?

The Seahawk talked to Tom Rakes, Director of Career Services at UNCW, for some advice that graduating seniors can use when preparing for that next step. According to Rakes, the most important things you can do to prepare for a job interview are showing the employer that you are interested in a particular job title or field, practicing interviews, and making sure that you have a strong resume and cover letter.

“Employers don’t like to hear potential employees come in and say ‘I want a job’. They want you to know what you’re going after.” Rakes said.

When attending a job interview, potential employees should look professional and know details about the industry they are trying to enter. “Always dress a step above what you would normally wear to work there. The idea is to dress professionally so that the employer pays less attention to how you dress and can focus on your job skills.” Rakes advised.

When it comes to negotiating salaries, graduates should remember that the economy is a buyer’s market right now and that it’s more difficult for new graduates to negotiate. It is also a good idea to know what the general pay is in the desired job field, and what the cost of living is in that area of the country. For instance, an item purchased at a supermarket in Wilmington can be considerably cheaper in price compared to that same item in a Los Angeles supermarket.

Benefits are something that graduates should weigh as well. According to Rakes, benefits packages vary from employer to employer, and it’s always a good idea to think about health insurance and other benefits when considering a job offer. Another big factor in finding the right job can depend on relocating, especially for UNCW graduates. Considering relocation can provide greater job opportunities in different areas of the country. “Wilmington has a very competitive job market that stays full, because this town is a very desirable place to live and there is not a wide range of industry options,” Rakes warned.

Graduates should be aware that there are questions that employers cannot ask during job interviews, which are basically anything that isn’t job related; this can include questions regarding age, marital status, national origin, number of dependents, race, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation. Graduating seniors are encouraged to use the resources at the Career Services Department for help in entering the job market after graduation.