We sat down with career expert Robbyn Hoffman to talk college, the real world, and choosing your first career. If you like what you read, you can schedule a meeting with Robbyn or other experts at EWU’s Career Services.
#1: Your major isn’t your career.
“There is still this kind of idea that your major equals your career for the rest of your life,” Robbyn says. Even in 2016 “Students often still think of their future employment as a linear track. This is just not true for many people.”
Degrees don’t always equal careers. You can have an English degree and work in insurance, a biology degree and work in marketing, or a history degree and work in city hall. EWU has a cool website where you can brainstorm alternative career options that are transferable from your major. It’s called “What Can I Do With a Major In?”
“I ask them to think of their major not as what do you want for the rest of their life, but, rather, what do you want to do for your first career?” Looking at it that way tends to ease the stress, she says.
#2: Real experience matters just like classroom experience
“You have to get out of the classroom!” Robbyn urges. This means internships, volunteering, job shadowing.
You can find internships and jobs locally, regionally, or even with summer study abroad programs. “I’ve had students do internships as far away as Africa and Ireland. We even have students working at the state capital through the Washington Legislative Internship.”
#3: Build your resume while you work on your degree
Making a resume is often overwhelming, says Robbyn. Sometimes students say they are too busy with a full class schedule, plus working part time, but if you wait until graduation, you might end up with a rushed resume that doesn’t impress employers because it doesn’t look good or accurately say what you’ve accomplished and what you have to offer them.
Other times, students worry they don’t have anything to put on a resume. But as a student, you often have more experiences and skills than you realize. It’s all about how you frame it.
You’ll have to learn how to present your accomplishments. You’ll have to learn the standards and conventions. You’ll also have to learn time management: resume building and career networking takes a lot time. EWU’s Career Services can help you with all of this.
“It is not enough to just focus on finishing your degree. You have to have a plan in place for what comes next, for exactly what you will do when you graduate.”
Many websites help you network and can get your name and resume out there even before you graduate, and Career Services can help you identify which websites are most important for the career that matters to you.
First and foremost: the EWU Career Services website is pretty awesome. You need to check it out, and you need to go back often. There is more valuable information than can be taken in in a single visit. Take the first step in landing an internship, making a resume, career networking, and making a post-graduation plan even if you are a Freshman.
EWU students unsure of your major or how to get your first internship should contact Robbyn Hoffman through Career Services.
Not an EWU student? Many of EWU’s online resources can be used by anyone, no matter where you go to school. And remember: EWU alumni have access to EWU Career Services resources for life. Once an Eagle, always an Eagle. Go Eags!