Students at the pre-registration reception in March.
Mary Rosenberger graduated from Villanova in 1999 and spent her first two years out of college working for the career Web site, Vault.com, in the PR and marketing departments. In August of 2001, she began working for SVM, a corporate marketing service that provides discounts to entertainment events as an employee perk.
If you would like to get in touch with Mary, feel free to email her.
A short pep talk: plunge right in and learn
So how does an English major find a job? If you are like me, you could choose to ignore your impending graduation like the plague, and opt to forgo the help of career services in a desperate act of rebellion against your business school friends (not recommended). Now granted, I graduated at a different time in a different job climate, but once I actually put my mind to it, the job search became a manageable and tangible process—one that, when faced with my desire to switch jobs last summer, I was able to complete relatively painlessly (sleepless nights aside).
So what is this opening telling you? Not much, other than don’t panic, things have a way of working out, and the best way to find a job is to plunge right in and learn. You didn’t right an A paper on your first try, and you will probably screw up your first interview (I did). But at the very least, here are some tips that should help you out.
Emphasize work experience: Employers want to know that you can handle yourself in an office environment—they certainly won’t hire someone who can’t manage a fax machine. Even if it was something as minor as working in your father’s law firm when you were 13 (as a certain 1999 graduate you are now becoming familiar with), put it in there! Show that you are organized, efficient and professional.
Format: Your resume should be scannable, with your key selling points being obvious and prominent. Will your GPA knock their socks off? Did you plan a huge campus wide event?
Job-searching and prepping for interviews
Look in unusual places: Every person even remotely looking for a job will be on the standard websites, and unless you have split second reflexes, your resume will be lost among the 80 bajillion others. Look on niche sites (use those research skills and find them!) or in places that the jobs of interest might be posted. When I decided that I wanted to work in a theater-related position last summer I combed through playbills and theater sites. My current position was posted on Playbill Online, not necessarily the first place you’d look for a marketing position.
Tell everyone and their grandmother that you are looking for a job. My hairdresser referred me to the president of a company last summer. Don’t be shy—contact alumni, childhood friends, former summer co-workers . . . you never know who else they can put you in touch with.
Be prepared—have references ready and prepped with what you want to them to discuss with potential bosses.
Do your homework—it is important to research the company before you walk through the doors. Anything you can find out about a company will help you ask smart questions, give smart answers, and demonstrate that you are the kind of employee they are looking for. It is tough to find info on small companies (some may not even have websites) so look through prnewswire for company press releases, search on Google and check all links, and do the compulsory reading on Hoovers and Vault (though be careful because this content is often out of date).
In the interview
Ask a lot of questions. Some to try out: How much responsibility will I be given immediately? What are three things you would expect me to accomplish within 6 months on the job? What kind of growth and training is available with the position? What would be my daily responsibilities? What kind of exposure would I have to management?”
If you leave your cell phone on you shouldn’t have bothered going.
Make eye contact, use a firm handshake, and don't wear too much perfume/cologne or makeup or hair products.
Anticipate the typical questions. If you aren’t prepared to answer “Tell me about yourself” and “What is your greatest strength/weakness,” then you just plain aren’t prepared.
Another short pep talk
The fact is, you have a lot of competition, but English majors make great employees. They can think and work both independently and as a member of a team, make conclusions, conduct thorough research, meet deadlines, juggle multiple projects, and, of course, communicate! We all make our way in this world, and so will you. So bite the bullet and tackle the job search. Like every tough assignment, you will get it finished.