Putting your degree to work

In an effort to further prepare students for life after college, the Center for Student Activities & Leadership Development (CSA) hosted an event on Tuesday, March 17.

A four-person panel gave students insight on financial literacy, the alumni association, staying in Michigan after graduation and helpful interview tips.

This was one of the eight events that are a part of the exploration series – a series designed to help students build their resume and find the leader within them.

The panel included Denise McConkey, Samuel Sedlecky, Armand Velardo and Maria Willet. Each individual spoke of specific topics to share with students, including the importance of networking.

McConkey, a Career Consultant from Career Services, shared tips on how to properly structure their resumes and cover letters. She also gave tips on interview attire.

When looking for a job, put in plenty of effort – you won’t be able to find anything if you just look one day out of the week, McConkey said.

Samuel Sedlecky, from Michigan Economic Development Corporation, gave students advice on staying in Michigan after graduating. He said this gives graduates the opportunity to meet professionals from their hometown. 

“You aren’t going to get your dream job right after college,” Sedlecky said. “It’s going to take some patience.”

According to the Pure Michigan Talent Connect portal, there are currently 95,907 jobs and internships available.

However, many students are still eager to move out of the state right after graduation. In that case, students should consider money, suggests Velardo, from the Law Office of Ruggirello, Velardo, Novara & Ver Beek. 

When you move out of state, you have to consider where you’re going to live, finding a job, what are you going to eat and more costly things, according to Velardo.

He also says that students should put at least 10 percent of a paycheck to the side, then use the rest to pay off a loan or for something personal. It may seem like a slow process at first, but the end result usually pays off.

Immediately after graduation, a person switches from student to alumni. Willet, from OU’s office of alumni engagement, highlighted the association’s benefits and discussed the mentorship program.

The mentorship program, known as “Leadership OU,” allows alumni to share all of their experiences with student leaders who are preparing for the future.

For juniors and seniors, the program helps improve leadership and networking skills, while offering a mentor to help.