By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Graduating this spring? Congratulations! It’s an exciting time as you look forward to finding a job and finally engaging in your career. But don’t wait; the time to start looking is now, according to Carol Fletcher, president of CL Fletcher in Syracuse.
“You should really get on it ASAP,” she said. “Make your resume and have a meeting with your career services department. Typically, students wait until the first semester is over.”
Research companies for which you would like to work and the industry in general.
“Find out what companies and industries are actively hiring and growing,” Fletcher said. “It’s competitive out there. Don’t hesitate to look to business executives you know and where they see movement in the industry.”
Of course, online searching and communication is essential, but don’t neglect talking with people one-on-one, such as professors, friends of your parents, and anyone else.
“Talk with as many people as you can,” Fletcher said. “Keep the lines of communication open; it’s critical.”
She said that one example of an industry that’s really hot now is healthcare.
“That’s where we’re seeing the majority of opportunity,” she said. “You don’t have to be a medical provider. Any title at a healthcare organization will be steady.”
Unfortunately, the economy has changed a lot—not only since you were a freshman, but also since 2020 began.
“As soon as you get ready for graduation, the interview style may be different,” said Michelle Jevis, director of HR and staffing at CL Fletcher.
Instead of going to an office to talk, it’s likely going to be Go To Meeting or Zoom interviews.
“Focus on a professional presence with those types of interviews,” Jevis said. “People find themselves lax at home, like sipping coffee and glancing at their cell phone off to the side.”
If your desired career path isn’t feasible in the spring or you decide it’s not right for you, you have options that will use your education. Jevis said that any industries considered “essential” during the pandemic will likely have openings for graduates, such as companies that have government contracts.
“We see these companies performing very strongly,” Jevis said. “Anyone who’s a supplier of health care industries is strong. Manufacturing is also strong.
As another example, consider the insurance industry. Any additional training required is minimal and the pay and job outlook is good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics listed the 2019 mean starting wage for insurance sales agents in New York as $69,980. The Bureau further states that the projected growth between 2018 and 2028 is 10%, considered “faster than average.”
Peter Baskin, president of Personnel Associates Inc. in Syracuse, said that is because “it’s an industry that will see a lot of retirement in the next few years. Forty percent of the industry will be retiring soon.”
Baskin’s company recruits applicants for various positions in the industry. He said that anyone with a bachelor’s degree relating to business and possibly liberal arts would do well in the insurance industry in positions like underwriting, claims adjusting and marketing.
Most insurance companies offer on-the-job training so new hires are paid while they learn the industry. In sales positions, new hires usually take a few months of classes to prepare for an exam to qualify for a license.
Consider consulting. It may seem implausible that professionals would turn to a new graduate for sage advice; however, you offer insights into the latest information on your industry. Your tech savvy also may give you an edge over people with more industry experience but less technology know-how. The key to successful consulting is skillful marketing so that companies and entrepreneurs know what you have to offer.
Photo: Carol Fletcher, president of CL Fletcher in Syracuse, and an assistant, Michelle Jevis.