Insider advice

Career Services Director Lisa Gavigan ’83 P’18 is featured alongside other experts in a series of articles posted this spring that offer career advice for college students.

The job search website reached out to college counselors seeking tips to help graduating seniors find first jobs, and Gavigan—who manages Wheaton’s Career Services in the Filene Center—had a few words of wisdom to share.

“How can college seniors decide which jobs to apply for?” one article in the series asks. Advice includes narrowing down a career path and taking advantage of resources before graduation, along with Gavigan’s recommendation:

“Students will often search job databases by job titles, but they should consider searching by job functions instead. For example, search for jobs that call for ‘project management’ or ‘quantitative investigation.’ Using that strategy, they might find rewarding work in an industry they never considered,” she says.

Another piece looks at how students can leverage internship experiences to find their first job. Gavigan suggests that interns attend as many professional gatherings and staff meetings as possible.

“Not only will you learn a great deal about the organization, which will serve you well when drafting a cover letter and participating in interviews, but you’ll also be better able to determine if this is, in fact, the best next step for your career development,” she says in the article, which also was picked up by Fast Company.

A third article narrows in on resumes, offering tips to help soon-to-be graduates lift theirs to the top of the pile.

Gavigan’s advice here is simple, but useful: “Don’t wait.”

“Depending upon the industry, most seniors apply for jobs in early March, interview through April and May and start their new position sometime over the summer,” she says, suggesting seniors make time in their busy academic schedules for the job application process.

The fourth piece in the series shares a few networking strategies, including Gavigan’s recommendation that students reach out to college alumnae/i

“Alumni working in your target organizations may be able to act as ‘recruitment advisors’ and provide company-specific advice about resume content or interview formats,” she says in the article.

Wheaton seniors can find a variety of job search resources at Career Services—including access to more than 400 alumnae/i career partners, who are available for informational interviews as well as advice about industry resumés.

“We also offer funding for seniors to attend career-related conferences, giving students an opportunity to participate in programming and network with leading professionals in their fields of interests,” Gavigan says. “When granted a job interview, students can arrange for a mock interview, perfecting their answers to some of the most difficult of interview questions. All of this preparation will no doubt lead to a job offer and, when that comes, students can review their benefits and learn how to negotiate their salaries with a career advisor.”

Students can make an appointment with a career advisor by visiting the Filene Center or calling the center at 508-286-8215.