Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

VIEWPOINT: Utilize Campus Career Resources


Think about the first time you slept over at a friend’s house or the first time you drove a car. As exciting as those experiences were, you might have also felt a little stressed and a little scared too.

College is also a time of many firsts. From my perch as a career coach at the Cawley Career Education Center, I can definitely say that many students here at Georgetown University find the job search process exciting, stressful and, occasionally, a little scary. While I can’t wave a magic wand and make all your challenges and worries disappear, I can assure you that these feelings are completely normal. Better yet, there are ways you can mitigate the stressful and scary parts of the search and lean into all that is exciting and possible.

Adjust your career noise dial. How do your parents, your roommates, your friends or your classmates communicate — explicitly or implicitly — their values and expectations around the concept of a career? Be a detective and reflect on what you are hearing from others. Consider how much of their expectations are influencing your decisions. That’s not to say you shouldn’t gather input from trusted family members, friends or mentors. Culturally, it might be expected that you do just that! However, being true to your own unique wants, needs and goals may ultimately lead you to choose a path very different from the one others want for you. As challenging as this process is, the more you can attune yourself to the noise, the better you will be at discerning a path that is yours. 

Know thyself. So you have become a noise detectorist. Great! Now it’s time to reflect on what you value. Do you value flexibility? Variety? Do you hate risk-taking or love it? If you aren’t sure, reflect on your interests and the ways in which you have pursued those interests: student clubs, after-school jobs, summer camp. See if you can identify common themes. Knowing your values is the foundation for everything that comes after.

Get curious. You are now able to manage the decibel level of the noise coming in, turning up the volume on chatter that is exciting and turning down everything else. You can also identify what you value and why. Now, it’s time to research employers, industries and job functions that look exciting to you. You can do this in a variety of ways. One way is to read through job descriptions. Pay attention to the skills they are looking for in candidates. Reflect on whether you have those skills and if the prospect of honing those skills is exciting to you. Another way to get more information is to talk to people: those who are doing the work you want to do in the places you want to do it. The more information you have about an employer, an industry and a job function, the better able you will be to discern whether a job is for you. In other words, just because you can do the job doesn’t mean you should do the job.

Set boundaries. Unfortunately, jobs don’t magically appear when you snap your fingers and, if they do, I would love to learn your magic. At the end of the day, you will most likely be balancing a full course load and extracurriculars on top of searching for a job. It’s a lot. Set aside a certain amount of time each week to dedicate to the job search process and honor that time. Don’t let it bleed indiscriminately into other parts of your life. Practice self-care. If you don’t know where to start, check out the Skills Toolbox on the CAPS website.

Know when to seek help. Sometimes the stressful and scary parts of the job search process outweigh all the exciting parts. It is important to know you don’t have to walk this road alone. Talk to your friends, your family, your deans, your professors and your trusted mentors. And, of course, come to Cawley! There is no career question or concern you can’t bring to the Cawley staff. We will celebrate your discoveries and successes, and we’ll walk beside you when times are tough. You got this, and we’ve got you!

Jacki Banks is the associate director of employer relations at the Cawley Career Education Center.

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