From the day a student steps foot on Auburn’s campus, one question will pervade their entire college career: Will I find a job? The intensity amplifies as graduation day nears and students prepare to head into the real world.
The Auburn Career Center is prepared to help, according to Addye Buckley-Burnell, assistant director of career development at the Career Center. Located in Mary Martin Hall, staff hold walk-in office hours every week where they assist students and alumni in preparing for the job search.
“We cover really every step of the process, from gaining the experience early, through marketing themselves and making sure that they know how to look for positions, to how to convey themselves professionally,” Buckley-Burnell said. The Career Center has a four-year plan for students, which highlights tips for every year up to graduation, but Buckley-Burnell said students often wait until their final semester to consult the center for counseling.
According to the center’s career guide, a 40-page comprehensive guide available online, starting a career search is the hardest part about obtaining a job.
“The job search right now is averaging between seven and nine months to find a position, and so we encourage people to start much earlier than they really do,” Buckley-Burnell said. “A lot of employers have gone to a fall recruiting schedule. ... Even the application process can be very lengthly, sometimes taking between three and six months for one position.”
The Career Center offers assistance to recently graduated alumni for up to five years after their graduation.
Most use the center’s distance résumé-reviewing service. Buckley-Burnell also recommends a physical portfolio and an online portfolio called an ePortfolio.
The Career Center, in partnership with the Office of University Writing, began the ePortfoio Project to assist students in marketing themselves with a personal website that communicates their skills.
The job market for college graduates is beginning to look much brighter, according to Buckley-Burnell. They just might not be close to home.
“The job market [for graduates] is definitely improving,” Buckley-Burnell said. “We’re definitely seeing that students are finding positions. The problem is they’re not always finding positions where they want to find them. It may not be five minutes from a parent’s house. As long as students are willing to manage their expectations, there are positions out there, and the starting salaries are increasing.”
Students who visit the Career Center early to get a leg up acquiring paid internships and job shadowing opportunities may also see a higher starting salary.
“We encourage multiple internships, but at least one,” Buckley-Burnell said. “The higher starting salaries are a great piece for that. Right now, they’re averaging between $6,000–7,000 higher starting salary with just one internship. ... (An internship) makes it a lot easier to find a position.”
The Career Center offers interview preparation, one-on-one counseling sessions, interest and personality assessments and workshops and résumé and cover letter reviews.