Today’s post is written by Anna Grigoryeva, an undergraduate student working part-time with the AIM Program. As the economy and job market continue to be affected by changes in information technology, the growth of social media, and access to big data, we wondered how today’s undergraduates are managing and interacting with today’s information. We asked Anna to share her thoughts on preparing to enter the job market.
As a senior undergraduate at the University of Oregon, it is with excitement that I say I am ready to graduate this upcoming June. I started attending the University of Oregon in 2010, right after I finished high school. While I was attending high school, I started early college at Portland Community College, where I pursued my Associate of Arts Transfer (AAOT) degree. When I entered UO, I had more than sixty transferred credits and was determined to study what I pictured my career path to be… or so I thought. And the journey began.
I changed my major at least five times. Starting off with a focus on interior architecture, then some political science courses, to actually changing my major to political science! Unfortunately, the subject dulled for me, therefore I pursued the next appealing subject, which happened to be economics. I became dissatisfied with my dead-end career choices after declaring economics as a major and made another switch—this time to business. Later, I pursued journalism with a concentration in advertising and public relations. I went through so many majors, my parents decided to put a stop to it. They knew I wanted to graduate in three years, so they encouraged me to make up my mind, and fast! Finally settling on a major—general social sciences with a concentration on economics, business and society—was the most suitable decision I made. It was perfect, because I already had some background in economics, business, journalism and political science, which fit the major requirements. For this reason, I am graduating early.
My classes range from arts and languages to mathematics and sciences. I decided to take a wide variety of classes outside my major because I wanted to learn things I never would have discovered otherwise. In this economy, I believe that a bachelor’s degree doesn’t impact your future much. Unfortunately, I feel it is recognized as equivalent to a high school diploma nowadays. I know I want to pursue my master’s one day, but with all the loans I took out, my master’s degree will have to wait a little longer. Right now, what matters is all the connections you make—your social network, your job/volunteer/internship experiences. Employers are looking for recommendations outside your classroom. Some of them don’t even check your transcripts, and that can be frustrating because we know how much effort we put into getting good grades. That’s why I chose the path that I did. I’m happy with the degree I chose and the ability to graduate a year early. I feel that I have experienced college at the UO and acquired many skills and plenty of experience for my prospective employment and nonemployment opportunities.
If I happened to graduate with just my degree, without any previous job experience, it would be difficult for me to find a job. So far, all employers that have interviewed me focused mainly on what kind of experience I have, or generally, what I have to offer. Because my background ranges from social sciences to arts and sciences, I am a very creative person. Therefore, I decided to publicize myself via social networks. I started building my LinkedIn professional network, where future employers may see my job description and recommendations from people I worked with. My Facebook and Twitter pages are professionally-oriented in that I make sure everything on them is appropriate and professional. I created an online portfolio where people may look at my projects and possibly contact me for future employment.
I believe that, in the current work field, being open minded and having a broad range of experience is important. It’s also necessary to show interest in new developments within your occupation. Although it is ideal to have a degree in economics, business and society, it is also beneficial to have a well-rounded background because employers are seeking individuals who are able to cope with the potential hardships that they may encounter in a work environment. Some experiences that have made me a more well-rounded person are: becoming president of the German club; earning a bachelor’s degree in science; gaining work experience through helping with the Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program’s blog and social networks; acquiring skills as a technical support assistant; interactions and connections made through Relay for Life volunteer work as the online chair, and recently as a marketing and publicity coordinator for an on-campus magazine for women, Her Campus Oregon. These skills and experiences, along with others, compose my profile and display how social and busy I was throughout my educational career. I’m ready to graduate and am anticipating showing my prospective employers what I have to offer.
After graduating, my plan is to become a full-time adventurer and move to Germany whilst pursuing an occupation with an open position in the marketing/advertising field. Eventually, I would enjoy embarking on a new educational journey by pursuing a master’s degree there.