URI expert offers career advice to graduating seniors

More than 3,000 URI seniors will join approximately 7,000 others from colleges and universities across Rhode Island in receiving bachelor’s degrees later this month

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862 |
Graduates from URI’s 2018 commencement
Graduates from URI’s 2018 commencement. URI photo by Nora Lewis.

KINGSTON, R.I.— May 15, 2019 — The director of career and experiential learning at the University of Rhode Island wants more than 10,000 about-to-be-minted college grads to know that there are a few things they can do to help ensure that they land a job.

And while Kim Stack says that job prospects for grads this year are good, overall, patience and focus will help support job seeking efforts. “While in many ways the job market has never been better, the process of applying and interviewing can be a time consuming process for students who are often very anxious to quickly land their first job,” she notes.

Stack shares her Top 5 tips for landing a job:

1. Enhance your digital presence

Potential employers will Google you, and view your LinkedIn and social media accounts, so make sure that what they see is in line with your career goals and their particular workplace expectations to the extent you can determine that.

Leverage your digital platforms to actively engage with contacts, including other alums who could offer you career advice, networking opportunities, etc., and consider building a personal website to showcase your skills, accomplishments and resume.

2. Don’t minimize the importance of face-to-face networking

Network like it’s your job. Being active in the digital space is key, but it will never replace the need for interpersonal relationships. These “people” connections can often help get you in the door and they can also be valuable in terms of developing your soft skills.

3. Build and promote your soft skills

Soft skills include the ability to problem solve, resolve conflict, demonstrate leadership, promote teamwork, negotiate, communicate, and present information. A number of recent national employer surveys point to a lack of soft skill proficiencies in prospective employees, so it is more important than ever to focus on building these skills.

Be sure your resume clearly reflects your soft-skill attributes as they may be what sets you apart from other applicants. Highlight experiential learning opportunities and internships, previous work experience and even participation in student organizations—all of which can help demonstrate your ability to collaborate, problem-solve and communicate.

4. Stay positive and follow-up after every interview and networking meeting!

“A prompt email thank you is essential, and a handwritten note, an added touch that may get you noticed,” said Stack.

5. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

You will accomplish great things after college. But, like every other human, you will also make mistakes. Your mistakes will make you better if you learn from them and keep moving forward.

Stack notes that employees are in high demand in the health, engineering, and software industries. She says that new employees can also expect higher levels of employer provided training than in the past, as businesses are investing more heavily in specific training to get their employees the exact skills needed to succeed in their work space.

“Overall, our students, from all majors, are proving their worth in the workforce. Rhode Island employers are overwhelmingly happy with their experiences with URI graduates and the career center will continue to build relationships with more businesses, including those outside of Rhode Island, to help our alumni—especially recent grads looking for professional development,” said Stack. “In my opinion, the future looks bright for URI grads!”