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As graduation approaches, Career services and more provide key tips for seniors

There are a mere two months until seniors walk across the stage to receive their diplomas. With the upcoming graduation, some seniors may be thinking what they need to do to plan for life after graduation. Career Services is here to help students figure out those next steps. 

Career Services provides resources to students of all classifications to get career ready, whether through mock interviewing, resume review or general career counseling. 

“Meet with your career specialist because we do offer appointments on exploring their majors and careers,” Caitlin Fisher, a specialist with Career Services, said. “Sometimes what we know as far as what we can do with our career is inside of a box, just by what we see in things. So, maybe look to set up an appointment with your career specialist to really understand all the opportunities that exist.” 

Students will meet with a career service specialist based on their major. 

Fonda Fracchia, a career specialist for health and wellness majors, recommends that students have a general resume before meeting with their career specialist. 

“The most important thing to have on [your] resume is to make sure that you have your education listed correctly. You begin with your most recent degree or degree you’re working towards…and work backwards,” Fracchia said. “We have a standard template that we use for each talent community so that they can go and find those templates by going to the career services website under resumes and cover letters.” 

Career Services also uses a website, called Handshake, where students can build their professional profiles, explore career options, find internships and connect with employers and recruiters. 

“All of our activities and events, students can upload their resume on Handshake,” Fracchia said. “Handshake looks like a mini-LinkedIn. It’s kind of a place to practice by building their profile – and it doesn’t have to be perfect, we help y’all. They can practice so that when they graduate and they get a real LinkedIn profile, they’ll know how to do that.” 

Not all students are ready to jump headfirst into their careers. For students who are a bit unsure about their path after graduation, career specialists suggest exploring the Stepping Blocks website, where they can see real data from University of Memphis graduates. 

“With Stepping Blocks students can see now what the trajectory is for their career, for their major. They can look at the skills that come with that degree from actual people who have graduated from the university. It is an amazing resource,” Fisher said. 

Stepping Blocks allows students to look ahead and see if their major will lead them down the right career path. 

There are many students who may decide that they want more education, and seek out a graduate degree. Students can speak to their advisor or career specialist to see if that’s the next step for them. 

Brian W. Meredith, associate dean to the graduate school, explained that going to graduate school can put students ahead in the job market. 

“Today’s job market is very competitive and there are a finite number of jobs,” Meredith said. “These days, I think a graduate degree is critically needed because so many positions out there need a certain expertise.” 

The University of Memphis recently received the prestigious Carnegie R1 designation, placing it as a top tier research university. This classification applies to graduate programs as well. 

“We have a great faculty, a diverse faculty, and well over 150 concentrations students can consider. Our faculty are very accessible, even during these last two years during COVID. We made sure that we moved office hours online and were accessible to the students as best we could be.” 

With graduation ahead, students may also be thinking about their finances and upcoming student loan payments. Robert S. Kniss, the executive director of student financial aid, recommends that students find out who their loan providers are to get a better understanding of which repayment options are available. 

“Don’t ignore them. Don’t ignore your student loans. Services are great for working with students. If you’re not able to pay back your loans right away, they can put your loans into forbearance,” Kniss said. 

Students can reach out to the student financial aid office for an exit counseling session to ensure they know their obligations to their student loans and the resources that may help them in the future. 

Life after college can be stressful to think about, but there are more resources on campus that students may realize. On March 26, students of all majors can attend a career fair hosted by Career Services, where they can connect with potential employers.

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