A college student usually attends school to secure a job in their desired field. However, according to The University of Washington, 53% of college graduates are either unemployed or working in a job that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree right after graduation. According to a survey at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay (UWGB), 52% of students have a job before graduation. Olivia Ryan, one of many students, took her classroom skills to the real world to secure a job while still in college.
Olivia Ryan is a junior at UWGB who is majoring in communication with emphases in social media, organizational communication, and health communication. She learned some skills, one of which was the mock interview experience, in the course titled, Theories of An Interview to land her current position at Schneider National as a Senior Customer Service Representative. “This class is one of the most useful classes I’ve ever taken…other communication classes are great for learning how to use your skills in a job, but this class shows you how to get the actual job,” said Olivia. Her duties in this role include; building relationships with customers, solving problems with potential customers, and reviewing customer orders for accuracy.
Olivia accredits the career fantasy assignment to her success. In this assignment, students had to find a job they would want in the future and create a resume, cover letter, and mock interview for this job. Olivia’s dream job was that of a social media manager at Schneider; however, applying for the Senior Customer Service Representative was a stepping stone to the future. “Schneider has so many job careers…I don’t know where I’ll end up in a few years, but if I were able to transfer to the Social Media or PR team, it would be so exciting,” said Olivia.
Success stories such as Olivia’s are rarer during COVID-19. A Glassdoor report found that “new grad-related” job openings have dropped by 68% compared to this time last year. “This year there seems to be a dampened mood and less forward movement in organizations hiring…hearing Olivia’s story is a bright spot,” Professor Shauna Froelich, who teaches Theories of An Interview said, “when a student practically uses the skills learned, to land an internship or position, I celebrate!”
For students looking to land a job, Olivia says, “Be yourself, be prepared, write a cover letter even if it isn’t required, and know your resume inside and out.” Olivia said she had a resume before taking this class but updated it within this class and upon feedback she received from Career Services. Olivia took what she had and improved upon it, a common theme in the Communication Department. Professor Froelich says, “I enjoy watching the continuous improvement and growth of students…chasing their dream by using the skills they learn in college is so important.”
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