Start job search early, use fair

Students graduate from college and go to interviews equipped with resumes, pressed suits and various degrees. Still, many of them say no matter what they do, they cannot find a job to pay the bills.

Also, many students say that finding steady employment can be stressful because of the competition after graduation.

Daniel Spitler, executive assistant of the family-owned American Employment Agency in Tallahassee, said many college students come to the agency because of the difficulty finding steady employment, particularly in the city.

“It’s a college town-there just aren’t enough jobs to go around,” Spitler said.

But, one answer is visiting the Career Expo, sponsored by FAMU’s C.C. Cunningham Career Center, today.

Delores Dean, director of the career center, said many students do not take advantage of the career center, which keeps them from being prepared.

“Through the career center, students have the opportunity to network,” Dean said. She added with different organizations, the career center “provides full-time, co-op and full-time employment positions.”

Dean said students also wait until they are nearing graduation to be aggressive about their career searches, when they should begin a lot sooner than that.

“I have seniors that come to me saying they need to find a job,” she said. “We still help our older students…(yet) they should start this process freshman year. Begin interviewing; that way, you can get the help you need, and you will start to build relationships with companies.”

Tiffani Davis, a freshman from Dallas, said she has already taken advantage of some opportunities out there. She said she is not too worried about finding work, especially now.

“I am in the INROADS program,” said the 18-year-old business administration student. Davis said the program was created because of “the lack of minorities in corporate America.”

INROADS provides a number of internships to its recipients, but Davis said that while she is confident, there is no guarantee she will receive one.

“If I don’t get an internship (through INROADS), I have contacts,” she said. “I will try to find one on my own.”

Dean said students up their chances of finding a job if they research the company of choice.

“Get on the Internet and research the company. That way, when you interview, you have some background of the business and can utilize that,” she said.

Junior theater student Summer Walker said, that like Davis, she has made the necessary connections to start her career.

“(After graduation), I am moving to L.A. I have opportunities lined up out there,” Walker said, adding that she wants to act on television and in film.

Davis and Walker both said they have a handle on career choices and will not be attending the career expo. Dean said that while students think that only those majoring in business and engineering can benefit from the fair, there are opportunities for all.

“Students who want to work in public relations-every corporation needs a P.R. team and advertisers. Lawyers-every company has a law firm behind it,” Dean said. “It’s all about selling yourself and networking. Even if you don’t find what you need at the fair, someone may refer you to someone else.”

But for those who would rather create a job instead of look for one, entrepreneurship is an avenue worth considering.

“It’s a great opportunity, especially with the lack of jobs,” said Malik Miller, FAMU alumnus and owner of Rattler’s Edge. Miller said that being the owner of his own barbershop/beauty salon has not been an easy ride though.

“Opening a business is like starting at entry-level,” he said. “I planned (for this) all through college. I had the vision freshman year. College is a vital time to hone whatever it is you want to do.”

“Don’t do it just for the fame and the glitz…do it to provide for yourself and your family,” Miller added. “There is pride in that.”

Dean offers yet another alternative for those who still have trouble finding work-graduate school.

“At the career center, we encourage grad school,” she said. “We also encourage that you find a job. Pursue both and do both if you choose to. But give yourself options just in case one thing falls through.”

Contact Lindsay Pollard at