BYU students often worry about whether or not they will be able to find a job after graduation. A quick look at the numbers will show that students should not worry as much as they do. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate as of January 2015 was 5.7 percent. That means that out of all people looking for a job, including low-skilled workers and people with only a high school diploma, fewer than 6 percent of them are looking for a job at any given time. In Utah, the unemployment rate is even lower at 2.8 percent.
Jobs are out there, but it is not likely that they will just fall from the sky. Students have to put in some effort to find them. Thankfully, BYU Career Services is ready to help anyone who has studied at BYU, wether they are students or alumni. One of the top resources Career Services connects students with is called BYU Bridge. Jodi Chowen, director of University Career Services, described the Bridge as a metaphor.
“The Bridge is really a metaphor, because it is meant to be the bridge from your college experience to a career. A lot of students have heard of the bridge but have no idea what it is,” Chowen said.
BYU Bridge is a website that links BYU students and alumni to recruiters and companies looking to fill positions with BYU students or graduates.
“The Bridge acts as a great job and internship board,” Chowen said. “It also allows students to see all of the job and information sessions on campus. … Those meetings give students the opportunity to have a much more personal experience with recruiters than they might have at a career fair. The Bridge also has contacts with BYU alumni in many different industries who are willing to network with students.”
Bri Sorensen, a BYU junior from Pleasant Grove studying Information Systems, found an internship for this summer using the Bridge.
“The internship really is for my dream job. I will get to do analytics for a fashion company in New York,” Sorensen said. “Applying for the internship was super easy. I just searched for positions listed for companies wanting to hire through my major. All I had to do was click apply and send them my resume. Once I did that, they got in touch with me. I got an e-mail through the Bridge saying they wanted to interview me, so I set an appointment for a time to meet on the Bridge.”
BYU Bridge is a great resource for students to find jobs. Even so, Chowen recommends that students also network among their personal circles. She said some great people to start networking with are family, friends, old bishops, classmates and professors.
Another valuable resource available to students is the Utah Department of Workforce services. According to Nic Dunn, the public information officer for Workforce Services, there are more than 24,000 jobs currently listed on the Workforce Services website. The site also has 22 different twitter feeds dedicated to specific career fields that update when there is a new job opening.
“The biggest difference is our folks are really plugged in to the economies in the various areas of the state. That kind of connected professionals who are here to help job seekers is valuable,” Dunn said. “We also have a team of professional job coaches who help people find work. Between our website and our 31 employment centers across the state, there are lots of options for students looking for work.”
When using these tools, it is important to remember that they are just that — tools. Effort is still needed to get the job once it is found.
“The best way to think of your job search is to treat it like a sales pitch. That means that when you write your resume, you’re trying to hook the employer — catch their attention so they will want to bring you in for an interview. You want to think of your greatest skills or assets and be able to pitch those to an employer, whether in your resume or the interview,” Dunn said.
Career opportunities are out there. Resources are available. It’s never too late to try a new technique for finding a career.
Chowen invites all students who would like help setting up a Bridge account or just want advice for finding a job to come to the Career Services Center, and Dunn invites students to learn more about Workforce Services on jobs.utah.gov.