Seniors prepare for life in the ‘real world’

Amanda Loder

As other Lawrentians plod through midterms, Lawrence seniors have bigger obstacles; they have jobs to find.It is easy to feel bombarded over the years with the stresses of choosing a major, a career path, and ultimately a job, but there is a distinct method to the madness of decision-making and paper work. The Career Center is where students go to master this method.

“A lot of seniors come in, and they’re just getting started on their job search…[they] come in [saying], ‘I need to get a job because Mom and Dad told me I need to get a job,’” said Wendy Bequeaith, a Lawrence career counselor. “A job search should be a reflection of your specific goals, interests, and genuine needs.”

The most fundamental yet harrying steps in the job search is what has commonly been dubbed “self-discovery.” This step requires students to identify their skills, interests, and values, eventually helping them focus their career and job choices. This same step is also fundamental for freshmen and sophomores choosing a major that will lead them into more specialized careers. Only when the process of self-discovery is complete can students set themselves on their appropriate career paths.

Developing a rsum is also important to seniors looking for their perfect jobs. According to Wendy Bequeaith, “A rsum is not an itemization of what you’ve been doing for the last ten years, but rather a marketing tool, marketing your skills to a specific position or occupational area.” In other words, a rsum is not an inventory, but a forum where the student job-hunter can promote his or her skills.

These steps are the “homework” for seniors and ideally should be completed before the beginning of senior year, due to the stress of academics and career goals. According to Bequeaith, from the months of August and September on, senior Lawrentians should be “developing networks, attending job fairs, [and] making direct contact with potential employers” in addition to “interviewing and considering positions.”

Among the materials available at the Career Center are books on choosing majors, graduate schools, and career paths, various tests to determine personality type and interest, one-on-one career counseling, and assorted pamphlets that break down the process of career planning.

Bequeaith tells students to “do your homework, do your research, know yourself [and] what your skills are.” For those juniors and seniors still lost in the calculus of career planning and job-hunting, she adds, “It’s never too late to start a job search…and we’re always here to help.”