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Career Sevices: jobs vs. further education

By Jimmy Onofrio
On May 3, 2012

For some, graduation means the culmination of the best four years of their lives. For others, it is finally time to escape from rural Storrs. For everyone, however, completion of a degree means one thing: time to face the real world.
Facing the job market can be scary and even overwhelming, especially in times of economic downturn. Finding a job for the summer to have a little spending money can be hard enough, but six months after graduation, loan payments are due and everyday expenses start to accumulate. However, students are not alone. In addition to advice from family members and past employers, the Career Services office at UConn can provide valuable help in deciding where to go next. I talked with Michael Petro, a Career Services counselor about how the office works with students.
When the job market is particularly challenging, as it has been for the past few years, there is usually a rise in students opting to continue their education rather than begin the difficult job search. Grad school means another degree and additional marketable skills, but it also means more loans. While the national trend has shown more students going on to grad school, Petro said the percentage at UConn has remained steady at around one-third of graduates continuing in school.
Some professions require graduate degrees, but for other students, the decision is situational. A passionate interest in a certain field or the desire for career advancement is often a compelling reason for students to go to grad school. Career Services' website, however, cautions against grad school if "you want to avoid the job search and world of work." Grad school is expensive and does not have the range of federal and private aid often available to undergraduates (although there is certainly aid available).
Career Services offer a lot of help for students looking at entering the job world or going to grad school, as many students are trying to decide between the two. In addition to résumé critiques and help with locating internships, the office provides practice interviews, job search advice and help with aspects of professional work like salary negotiation. For those thinking about grad school, the office provides help with the search and application process as well as mock interviews and personal statement critiques, Petro said.
Petro said the best thing anyone with questions can do is visit the office in person. "We all understand how scary uncertainty about the next step can be. Our professional staff will offer individualized guidance and can help anyone navigate the next steps as well as offer plans of action to help achieve your end goals," he said.
The Career Services office is located on the second floor of the Center for Undergraduate Education. The office is a vital resource for seniors of every major and career interest. "Career Services is a full-service office that can assist students and alumni in whatever career related needs they might have. Whether you are interested in the job market, graduate school, or building your professional skills, this office can offer a personal and focused approach," Petro said.

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