Graduating Senior: In Retrospect

<p>Background: I got into AU as a senior coming out of high school, but chose to go to a different liberal arts institution because they gave me more money. After two years at said institution, I ended up transferring to AU after having a quarter-life crisis about not being able to get a job when I graduated from school. In that time, I've:</p>

<li>had 6 internships, gaining relevant work experience</li>
<li>earned school-wide and national honors for my work in academics</li>
<li>racked up about $60,000 in debt</li>
<li>grown as a person, in my personal life and professionally</li>

<p>Today: Given the opportunity to do it all over again, even though I had the opportunity to graduate debt free from a different institution of equal caliber, I would still have transferred to AU. I grew as a person in ways no other school could offer, forcing me to build a resume and learn how to type a cover letter while other people go home during summer vacation. I interned every semester and summer I was a student here, giving me experience that put me a head and shoulders above other students across the country. </p>

<p>Ultimately, I received a job offer the Tuesday after Graduation, while my friends at other schools are still unemployed (or underemployed) a year after graduation despite sending out hundreds of resumes. To those of you at, or considering American University, if you take advantage of the opportunities they give you, and work hard, your resumes will easily float to the to top of the pile when it comes time to graduate.</p>

<p>Can you expand on the assistance from Career Services, how many interviews you had, feedback from prospective employers etc?</p>

<p>Career Services:
- Resume/Cover Letter/Interview Help: I know the Career Services offers this, but I never really took advantage of it. I asked my Mom for help writing my first resume and cover letter and then used the framework for further jobs. When I went in to see them during December of my Senior year (ie. when the panic really sets in about getting a job post-graduation), the woman I met with complimented me on my resume and switched a few words around to make it stronger.</p>

<li><p>Career Fair: I went to the career fair that AU holds ever year in the Spring, mostly because it was good practice for interviews. I found it to be VERY advantageous for Kogod majors, less for SPA students, and even less for SIS students in regards to those seeking full time employment. As to those looking for internships, it was imperative that students go, if only to practice pitching themselves and getting feedback on resumes. </p></li>
<li><p>Internship Database: bhmomma, as you know, all AU students get access to AU's exclusive AU Career Web set up by the Career Services. This was also fundamental in finding interview opportunities, keeping up with on campus interviews, and ultimately landing a job. Each school within AU also sends out 'Career Hub' mailings once a week, which is how I found the job I eventually ended up getting. These are more often than not jobs not posted on any career board, and are sometimes the only place people advertise -- particularly those interested in hiring only AU students.</p></li>
<li><p>One on One: I still have mixed feelings about the two one-on-one meetings. Each school has school-specific career advisers. Depending on the size they have a couple for current students, and one for alumni. I think the reason why I had mixed feelings is because I expected too much of her, I fully expected her to give me a lead that led me to a job and that didn't happen. She really stressed networking from early on in the education process at AU. Send a Holiday card to all of your previous supervisors and colleagues to wish them well, and so you're fresh in their mind if they hear about a position. Set up a linked in profile and take meetings with anyone from the AU Alumni group -- more often than not they're very willing to help out an AU student.</p></li>

I sent out countless resumes, and got called up for about 10 positions. Some of those had multiple interviews, that included phone interviews, group interviews, traditional interviews, and writing tests. I received three job offers. The first I received in mid-April, but I turned it down because I thought it was not feasible to live in DC on less than mid-20K a year, in a position that required me to miss holidays with my family if Congress remained in session. It's something to keep in mind when applying to DC post-grad jobs -- and they ended up filling the position immediately, the demand is certainly there to work for a lower wage than you would have ever considered possible.</p>

<p>Feedback from Employers
- AU Alumni Network: The person who ultimately hired me is an AU alumn, the person who hired me at my past internship is an AU alumn, the place I worked at two summers ago only hires AU students as interns. The bottom line is AU alumni take care of their own, and often the first impression from employers is that AU is still producing exceptional employees that are more than ready for entry level positions that require 1-3 years experience in the field by the time they graduate. AU produces more Capitol Hill staff every year than any other institution in DC, and therefore, many many employers either graduated from AU or went to grad school at AU. </p>

<li>Resume Feedback: If I could give any advice to students looking at internships, it would be to diversify your resume with types of institutions while you figure out what you want to do. That was one of the biggest compliments I got was that I have: campaign experience, a lobbying firm, and trade organization, a PAC, and a nonprofit on my resume and it makes it easy to walk into any office environment. I would also stress taking an internship on the Hill for a semester if you think that maybe one day you want to work in a business relating to the Hill, whether it be lobbying, actually working on the Hill or working for an advocacy organization. That was probably the biggest critique to my resume from prospective employers. </li>

<p>Hopefully that answers some of your questions :)</p>


<p>Thanks for detailed description. It really helps :) </p>

<p>The only thing I was not able out from your post is which school you are in - Kogod, SPA or SIS?</p>

<p>*to figure out</p>

<p>I'm an SPA student with a degree in Government, specialization in American Politics.</p>