As job search intensifies, Baylor ready to battle

Senior_MH FTWBy James Stueckler, Jonathan Sill
and AJ Wolfe

According to USA Today, more than half of all national college graduates unemployed when they throw their caps and Baylor seeks to maintain a track record better than the competition.

This is being done through career placement services, networking events and maintaining a high quality of education.

“I think [Baylor] did prepare me… With budget cuts in education, teaching jobs were hard to come by but they did help me prepare to find one,” Ashley Laney, 2011 Baylor alumna and high school social studies teacher said.

The Baylor University Career Development office offers many services and opportunities to find jobs and professionally network. In addition to Hire-A-Bear, the job and resume posting site designed exclusively for Baylor students, the office regularly schedules professional networking events, career fairs, holds practice interviews, and offers resume-building advice.

“We encourage students to come visit with our office at any time during their time at Baylor to create an action plan for what they want to do after graduation,” career adviser Kat Evans said.

Taking advantage of these resources may be the key in ensuring post-graduation success.

“We host seven career fairs a year and numerous career development workshops, on-campus interviews and employer presentations to give students extra tools as they begin their internship/job process,” Evans said. These resources include HireABear, a “Meet the Majors” podcast, “Mind Your Major” blog, and many others found through the Office of Career and Professional Development website.

“I not only found my internship role, but also became connected with my first job through a contact I made at a Baylor Career Fair,” said 2012 Baylor alumnus AJ Meditz. Meditz is a Relationship Banker at JP Morgan Securities. “I had a [HireABear] profile set up as I was graduating in 2010 and used that as a tool to gain a good number of interviews with companies that visited campus regularly.”

The Office of Career and Professional Development offers tips for those searching for internships and career openings, such as researching organizations prior to interviews, defining your career goals and the opportunities you want, being enthusiastic and sincere with recruiters and interviewers, honesty with your qualifications and realism of expectations.

Not all students have found the resources to be as effective.

“I followed the typical student path of creating a HireABear profile, attended career fairs, and on-campus interviews, but I didn’t feel fully prepared to compete for such a limited number of positions in my field. I ended up using my personal network and own search efforts to find the right job fit for me,” said 2012 Baylor alumnus Samuel Pyo. He is a business analyst at Avanade Consulting. And of course, these resources don’t help students who don’t use them.

“If I would’ve taken advantage of the career fairs like I should’ve, it probably would’ve been a lot easier for me to find a job,” Lauren Cochran, class of 2012, said.

Baylor professors and programs are also stepping up to help students find jobs by teaching real-world skills.

Baylor law and entrepreneurship part-time lecturer David Henry said the law and business schools teach students the real-world skills they need to get a job.

Henry works closely with both the Baylor Law School and Hankamer School of Business to ensure his students are well prepared for their job search and their eventual careers. With Henry’s leadership in Entrepreneurship’s i5 program in China, many students receive job offers from companies during the program.

An increasing number of students are turning to graduate programs to increase the odds of landing the jobs they want.

According to US News, Baylor reports 57.5 percent of law school graduates and 65.7 percent of MBA graduates having found full-time paid employment. While these are above the national average of 46.4 percent, the additional cost of a graduate or professional program seems to only marginally increase the odds of employment over a lower rate of non-graduate students.

“I knew going into psychology that I was going to have to go to grad school if I wanted a shot at a career,” Cochran said. “My undergrad classes did a good job of showing me what my options were as far as different kinds of career path concentrations in psychology go.” She is still trying to get into a master’s program.

Baylor 2012 alumnus Bradley Kubitz is also not yet following his ultimate career plan, but he, too, is on the way.

“Baylor taught me the skills I needed for my job, but I was very unprepared when it came to actually finding employment,” Kubitz said.

According to national statistics, Kubitz is one of a growing majority of recent graduates whose employment track is following an unexpected route. He’s working as manager of a Frisco steak house right now but will start his career as a high school government teacher in the fall.

Accounts differ as to whether the Baylor name alone can help you in the post-college world.

“I work with a lot of Aggies and Longhorns and I have found the respect associated with the Baylor name has positively impacted not only my role at the bank but also within social networking organizations I’m involved with,” Meditz said. “I have yet to get a negative reaction from anyone whenever I mention where I graduated from, even from friends and clients out of state.”

However, Baylor alumnus T.J. Bode, an account executive with Softway Solutions, said because Baylor may not be as well-known as other schools, Baylor’s name might not be enough.

Although Baylor is well known, it’s effective power is “not as effective as schools with large graduate hiring, like Texas A&M,” in terms of name recognition, he said.

“Always be building relationships,” Meditz said. “Most people refer to that as networking but the relationship is what really matters, the network benefits follow. People love helping their friends out, not just some contact they don’t really know who just wants something from them. Start early, not two months before graduation.”

While Baylor may provide many opportunities and services that increase its students’ chance of finding employment when they leave Waco, the initiative and ultimate responsibility lies with the students themselves.

“If I could go back, I would definitely better utilize all the resources that were available to me as early as possible,” Pyo said.