The post-graduation question

Baylor Career Success Professional, Adam Contreras, works from his office in the Baylor Career Center. Brittney Matthews | Photo Editor

By Vivian Roach | Staff Writer

Graduating students take different routes with their post-graduation plans and COVID-19 doesn’t seem to be stopping them or the Career Center from being successful.

Shelby Cefaratti, Career Center marketing coordinator, said they’re seeing the same student success rates in job placement from years past, now, even with COVID-19.

“We’re actually doing so much better than we would have thought,” Cefaratti said. “We work really, really hard to track our students and get a lot of data, and we’ve been averaging a 99% knowledge rate. So what that means is we know what 99% of the entire graduating class is doing.”

The Career Center collects success data from each class of graduating students about their post-graduation plans. The spring 2020 class had a 99% knowledge rate, 76% placement rate and 83% success rate.

Cefaratti said they measure knowledge, placement and success rates at graduation 90 days out and 180 days out. Spring 2019 had a success rate of 84% at 180 days from graduation. And spring 2020 had a success rate of 85% at 180 days from graduation, even during COVID-19.

This fall, the Career Center offered a virtual career day in September with about 27,000 students registered, Cefaratti said. But the Career Center doesn’t just accept any employer to campus.

“What we are seeing is a lot more employment events. We vet every employer to make sure that it’s a good match for Baylor students and what we know is quality,” Cefaratti said. “We don’t let just any and every employer on campus at all. We make sure it’s a good employer and they will take care of our students.”

The biggest concern they are seeing right now from students is that there aren’t enough jobs available. That’s what the Career Center’s career success professionals are for — to help find the right job and offer guidance.

“I think the hardest thing for students right now is they’re tired. There’s a lot of uncertainty. There’s a lot of misinformation, and I think that it’s hard to know that there really are jobs and internships and opportunities out there,” she said. “We’re here to be that positive image, so that students can get where they need to go and trust the process. I think sometimes students are afraid to trust the process.”

Baylor alum Simba Masando graduated in the spring with a neuroscience degree. He said once he got comfortable with disappointment during his job search, he was able to trust the process.

“I told people during quarantine my job right now is looking for a job,” Masando said. “I realized the worst that can happen is they ghost you. That’s like 90% of what’s going to happen. Once you accept that disappointment will come, that it’s a process, you really just become comfortable with it, and once you’re comfortable with it, you just keep working at it.”

Now, Masando said he has landed two jobs from his efforts during quarantine. His daily quarantine routine: submitting 15-20 job applications, reading, summer coursework and shifts through DoorDash at night for an income.

He was involved in multiple capacities on campus — one as a marketing intern for the Career Center. Masando said he was connected with several mentors during his work experiences on campus. Meanwhile working in the Career Center, the neuroscience counselors helped him find resources for job positions and cover letter tips, among other lessons.

“When you’re at the Career Center, they’re always about professionalism. They say make sure everything’s always up to date. As someone who’s focused on research and working in a lab, they do help you tailor your CV for research positions,” Masando said. “They never really tell you about your career profiles, like Glassdoor or Handshake, in the psychology and neuroscience department. Their job is to prepare you for a role in research, which I understand. That’s why the Career Center was very helpful. They taught me how to tailor the profile not just to look like a researcher, but look like a professional.”

Cefaratti said that there are specific career success professional’s assigned to each college, so students will get detailed advice to gear their resumes and job searches towards the career they want.

“Those people know the employers that are going to hire you. They know how to format your resume. They know what you need to say in interview, and that goes for pretty much every major through the entire university,” she said.

All-in-all, Masando said the know-how instilled in him by his mentors allowed him to let go of any fear of Zoom calls and putting himself out there.

“They had essentially instilled confidence and know-how, because once you have know-how, you have the confidence,” he said. “The rest will just come.”

Those students without a set job after graduation are not necessarily without a plan. Keller senior, Ivy Guice plans to graduate in December, continuing her studies in nutrition. She said she’s been contacted by the Career Center and taken the post-graduation survey, but is taking her own route at the moment.

Guice said she started on the health science track but switched to marketing because she wanted to start her own business in the health and fitness industry. Now, she plans on going to nutrition school after graduation and then hopefully continue with her business.

“They’ve been really helpful basically reaching out asking if you need anything, or if you need help after you graduate. So they’ve been really helpful in that aspect, but I haven’t used them for anything because I don’t necessarily need them at the moment,” Guice said.