You’re graduating, but you don’t know what’s next

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Candee Bell / Staff Illustration

Three resources to help you find a job post-Pierce College

Does graduation seem like a scary thought to you?  It may sound daunting if you don’t know what your plans are post-Pierce College. 

But rest assured; you have resources on campus to help you prepare for your job search, even in the summer. From the Job and Career Connections Department to the Writing Center, you can brush up on your interview skills or get feedback on how to improve your resume and cover letter, respectively.  

Job and Career Connections Center

Pierce College’s Job and Career Connections Center, which is  across from the Welcome Center, is a good place to start looking for jobs or internships, determine eligibility for Workforce and Retraining programs and plan your next step with a career counselor. The Job Connections Center, the only Worksource-affiliate site in the Lakewood area, is open to students and the community.

Diana Baker, the Job and Career Connections Center manager, said that employers look for certain qualities in potential new hires; at the same time, she encourages graduates to test out employers before committing. 

“The No. 1 demand employers look for is communication, also being a team player and doing what you are supposed to do without anyone looking,” Baker said. “It’s really taking the time and knowledge from the classroom to apply it to the workforce. [An internship] gives you the chance to try before you buy.” 

Last month, Pierce College invited representatives from  29 companies and organizations, ranging from the fields of health care and education to nonprofit and government, to its annual job fair. If graduates missed out, they can still search for job openings and internship opportunities through the Myinterfase system (www.myinterfase.com/pierce.ctc/student), which is free to the public.

The Job and Career Connections Center is open during the summer to accommodate those from the community who want to access its services; it is best to call or email for information on summer hours.  

LinkedIn

Baker also suggested that  graduates update their resumes and set up a free LinkedIn account (www.linkedin.com), which will help them network with business and organization professionals. The social media site has tutorials on how to find a job and a search engine to identify which employers are currently hiring. It also provides an opportunity to maintain a professional presence, stay connected with your classmates and practice cold messaging recruiter.

The top five tips for cold messaging as provided by entrepreneur Howie Busch on Linkedin include: getting to the point, being friendly and not too formal, avoiding long chunky paragraphs, using their name twice and intriguing employers without overselling yourself.  For more information, visit: www.linkedin.com/pulse/cold-email-gets-me-75-response-rate-howie-busch/.

Writing Center

For those who need help editing resumes and cover letters, the Writing Center, located in the library on the fourth floor, is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the summer. The center accepts walk-ins and appointments, which graduates can book by visiting   www.pierce.ctc.edu/writing-center-booking. 

Keith Kirkwood, the Writing Center Program Manager,  said that the center is not a proofreading service, meaning  you can not just drop your paper off and expect the staff to do all the work. “You will sit down with a tutor, and together brainstorm and plan out your papers and essays together,” Kirkwood said. “The tutor will then give you feedback on grammar and anything else writing related.”

Pierce data points

The Pioneer collected public data from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (www.sbctc.edu/colleges-staff/research/data-public/default.aspx) which tracks information about after college outcomes, among other topics.

Between 91 and 94 percent of Pierce College students enroll with the intent of graduating and transferring to a four-year University or entering the workforce, according to Pierce College’s Stats and Facts. Meanwhile, about 75 percent of Pierce College students finishing with at least 45 credits, a certificate or degree either get placed in an unemployment insurance-covered job or transfer to a university, according to the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges.