With the challenging job market, students continue to feel the pressure of finding an enjoyable vocation upon graduation. Knightnews.com recently spoke to a few recently graduated UCF students who made a successful transition from college to the beginning of a promising career, and listened to their tips on how to succeed.
Adam Brock graduated UCF in Spring 2012 with a double major in Political Science and Advertising & PR. Brock certainly had strong credentials — among his most notable accomplishments include serving as SGA’s Vice President and launching Knightlinx, UCF’s first late-night bus shuttle.
Brock now works for NBC Universal as a Consumer Marketing Coordinator for Oxygen. His responsibilities include updating weekly status reports on current marketing projects, working with our media and strategy agencies on developing plans for upcoming shows and conduct a monthly competitive analysis on other networks when it comes to e- commerce, partnerships and on-air promotions. But Brock would have selected an entirely different job, if not for a last-minute hunch.
“I was actually interviewing for [NBC Universal’s] Page program and right from the beginning of the interview, I knew this position was not for me,” Brock said.
Brock had to jump over a few more hurdles, but he eventually got the right job for him.
“The HR representative contacted me after the interview and asked if I would be interested interviewing for another position. The next day, I got a call and went through four interviews with different people and I got the offer by the end of the day.”
As far as advice, Brock emphasizes the importance of starting early. He believes that the best way to find work post-graduation is to start looking a semester before you graduate.
“For anyone graduating in spring, start your research now. You shouldn’t be applying for any jobs just yet because most of them want you to start right away. It is very important to know their company culture and some of the work that they have done in the past and reference it during your interviews.”
He also believes that recent graduates shouldn’t expect to earn high-status employment from the get go, but rather, they should realize that it’s a long road to the top.
“Because this is your first job out of college, expect to be doing grunt work. You are more than likely the most junior person on the team so you need to put your time in just like everyone else.”
Fall 2010 UCF Graduate Gabe Goldman has always been interested in working with money. After declaring a major in Accounting, he decided to get some hands-on experience. He began by serving as the treasurer for his fraternity AEPi for a full year, beginning in early Spring 2008.
“In my years at college, I had to read many accounting textbooks and take many exams. All of that was helpful, but it’s a completely different world out there once you’re handling real money. Being the treasurer of my fraternity was a difficult but much- needed experience because it put me on the line.”
Goldman’s experience with accounting would soon grow outside of his classes and Greek life. In April of 2008, through UCF’s College Work Experience Program (CWEP), he began a paid internship at Lockheed Martin, an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced Technology Company.
In due time, Goldman worked his way up and was promoted in 2010 to a full-time Financial Analyst, and has gradually been given more responsibility within the last couple of years. Currently, his day-to-day duties include managing the budget for procurement material. In other words, he’s in charge of tracking and forecasting prices for products that Lockheed Martin purchases.
Goldman’s advice to students seeking employment is simple but applicable: If you want to find work, you should begin working. But Goldman also suggests that hard work can
only go so far; knowing the right people is key to job advancement.
“Go take an internship, paid or unpaid. Get your foot in the door,” stated Goldman. “Your odds of getting hired from somebody who knows you, especially if it’s someone who knows you through your own work experience is way, way higher than putting your name in a hat when you turn in a resume.”
Stephen Obeng had a busy five years at UCF. In addition to his long list of extracurricular activities (including serving as President of his fraternity, Sigma Lambda Beta and volunteer work at the Red Cross and Habitat For Humanity), he had several jobs, working as an employee at the Wellness Center for two years, a Resident Assistant (RA) for three, and a personal trainer for four. He saw these jobs not only as opportunities to earn money, but also as a chance to form an identity.
“It’s always important to get involved in extracurricular activities at school. You’ll get a running head start to your career, and it will save you years of stress.”