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Tips for graduating seniors

tips_for_seniorsAs finals week for the fall semester approaches, the end is in sight for seniors who are planning to graduate in the spring.

This is a time when many students may be wondering about the future, searching for jobs or internships, creating a career network, finding a mentor, and figuring out how student loan repayment works. The staff in Augsburg’s Strommen Center and the office of Academic Advising want to let seniors know that the winter break is a perfect time to do some planning and to schedule appointments with staff members who can help students plan for the next stage of their lives.

Below are some tips for finding a job and taking care of business on campus.

Tips for finding a job:

Submitted by Keith Muson, executive director, Clair and Gladys Strommen Center for Meaningful Work

1. Meet with a career counselor in the Strommen Center. The very first step is to meet with one of our staff members to discuss your options for life after graduation. Once we know what paths you are considering, we can help you strategize how best to achieve your goals.

2. Think about possible career options. Ask yourself what you want to do after graduation. What careers or fields have you thought about? What topics have interested you in your classes? Have you heard speakers and thought that they had an interesting job? Do any of your family members, friends, or acquaintances have careers that sound intriguing? Create a list of the possibilities and make an appointment with one of our staff to explore your options.

3. Begin researching the job market. Use the Strommen Center website to find positions currently available in the market AND to see what skills and experiences are most desired by employers. Knowing what employers want in new graduates will help you build a stronger resume, cover letter, and interviewing skills.

4. Develop a strong resume. Use the samples on our website to build a targeted and effective resume. If you are considering a few different career paths, you will need different resumes that target each field that interests you. DO NOT CREATE ONE GENERAL RESUME.

5. Create a list of companies/organizations that interest you. Once you have a “target list” of companies, periodically check their websites for opportunities. More importantly, begin to build contacts within each company to help in your search.

6. Meet with people to learn more about specific fields and/or companies. Invite people to coffee, lunch, or a phone conversation to discuss fields that interest you. These conversations will help you better understand what career paths fit you, what skills/experience are desired in the field, what companies fit, and what strategies you can use to increase your chances.

7. Tell everyone about your plans! If you share your career ideas with family, faculty, friends, and anyone else in your personal network, you will give people very helpful guidance on how to help. Giving people specific ideas about your plans will help them make connections for you with their networks.

8. Target your search AND keep an open mind. A targeted search is much more effective and is more manageable because you can focus on a specific group of people to contact and specific groups of organizations to approach. It may be counterintuitive, but trying to find jobs in “anything” will actually hinder your possibilities.

9. Find a mentor/champion. Talk with the staff in the Strommen Center, the Office of Alumni Relations, and faculty members to find people in your field that may be willing to serve as a mentor. The guidance, suggestions, and connections you receive will be tremendously helpful. Mentors can advise you on what to do, what to avoid, and possible jobs, companies, and people to contact that you may not have considered.

10. Don’t panic! If you’re unsure about what you want to do, don’t panic. If you’re worried about the job market, don’t panic. If you’re busy, don’t panic. Meet with the staff in the Strommen Center so that we can strategize and help you plan your personal path after graduation.

Tips for taking care of on-campus details:

Submitted by Sheila Anderson, director, Academic Advising

1. Review your graduation application to make sure you’ve planned for all remaining requirements. View your graduation application in Augnet Records & Registration under Degree Progress. Check off requirements as you complete them so that you’re sure to complete your degree. Contact the Registrar’s Office if your graduation plans change (e.g. you’re dropping or adding a major or minor, changing your intended graduation term, or revising major electives).

2. Watch for commencement information. Begin planning for commencement in mid-February. The Commencement website gives details on commencement events and tickets. In addition to the website, Day students will receive ticket information in their campus mailbox. Ticket information for WEC students will be sent to their home address.

3. Order your cap and gown. You can place your order through the commencement website at the end of February.

4. Finish up financial matters. If you borrowed federal student loans, view your loan balance and complete Exit Loan Counseling at the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) website. You may also attend a group exit counseling session at Augsburg sponsored by Student Financial Services. This session will provide you with valuable information about managing your loans as you enter repayment. Finally, contact Student Financial Services to settle any outstanding balance on your student account.

5. Stay connected. Besides staying in touch with your faculty and staff network, sign up to receive invitations to alumni events, the Augsburg NOW, and the monthly NOW@Augsburg e-newsletter. Email the Alumni office or stop into their office in Oren Gateway Center, Suite 300, to sign up.

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