Andrew Harper, ’03, MLA ’08
Manager of Employer Relations
In March 2003, I sat in Moody Hall 134 as I listened to longtime career counselor Emily Salazar explain why I needed to tailor my resume, and why I needed to start networking. Each piece of advice made sense, but each recommendation only made me more anxious. For each recommendation, I kept thinking to myself, “When will I add that additional detail, when would I able to set-up all those informational interviews?”
I continued to have this conversation with myself thinking, “I am so behind on turning in my latest submission for Professor Loughran’s Capstone course. If I don’t finish, I don’t graduate. But if I don’t take Emily’s advice, I won’t have a job and I won’t be able to pay the rest of my lease out.” I continued to fret, thinking, “There is so much I have to accomplish, but there are only a few weeks left until graduation! How am I going to get through this?”
I dealt with the anxiety gripping me and began reaching out to every person in my small professional network of past part-time job supervisors, faculty, and student organization advisors. I carefully tweaked my resume 100 times for each position that interested me. After many sleepless nights, I finally landed my first professional job 22 weeks later. That same week, I received my first bill to repay my student loans. Every adult told me, it would work out, but did this process have to be so stressful?
I had thought I had done everything right. I was Student Ambassador Coordinator in the Office of Admission, completed an internship at a local nonprofit, chaired the Student Leadership Team and served as president of small student organization while maintaining a grade point average above 3.0 in a skill specific major. Yet, the job search processes was not effortless and lead to months of unemployment after graduation and borrowing money to pay my rent. What went wrong? The answer: I had not engaged in the career exploration and job search processes soon enough.