Univ. of Minn. career expert: How grads can find a job

Paul Timmins, career services director at the University of Minnesota’s College of Liberal Arts, talks about what students can do to find a job.

His classic liberal arts mantra:

“It’s not about what can I do with my major, but what can I do with the unique set of skills I’ve developed in college.”

He also mentions a point I’ve long heard and always thought was meant as a reassurring note — but which pounds the egos of those still struggling:

“There are jobs out there, and good candidates are finding jobs.”

Ouch.

  • Good candidates not only have a degree that show that they have put in seat time. They are able to show that they are well-prepared to be good workers; they need to be able to take honest feedback about their work, and use it to improve their self-presentation without considering this an ego issue. I am now grading senior projects by college students. The first paper I read shows a complete lack of proper punctuation usage, and not because I didn’t tell students to pay attention to it or how to find help. That shows me that this student just doesn’t care enough to listen to instructions, get help, or improve. This person will not be able to write a good job application letter. “Good candidates” need to understand that they have to show that they have the skills a high school student should have, let alone a college student, in basic communication.