MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — This weekend was about celebration, achievement, and crossing the finish line.
In fact, it would be hard to begrudge a recent college graduate from taking an extra day or two to revel in the moment.
Soon, though, reality sets in. For those who haven’t already found a job, that search is likely already underway.
“We work with employers and we bring employment opportunities and experential learning opportunities to our students through internships, part-time jobs, career-related part-time jobs, and eventually entry-level employment,” David Durham said on WAJR’s “Talk of the Town” with Dave Wilson and Sarah Giosi.
Durham is the Director of West Virginia University’s Career Services Center, focused on helping undergraduate students transition into the next phase of their career — whether in academia or the work force.
“We have a number of different assessment tools,” he said. “There’s not a silver bullet out there that if you take this one test, it’s going to tell you exactly what you should do with your life. But we use a number of different resources, and out of each one you may glean a nugget of information that helps you make the most informed decision as possible.”
WVU’s Career Services Center is open to any student — as early or late in their college career as they choose to utilize the resource.
10 years ago, entry-level positions may have been harder to come by, but Durham said the opportunities are there. The problem now, he said, is that the widespread use of the internet in job searches has created a global market for employers to peruse.
“If that one page resume doesn’t clearly describe your skills and abilities, that employer is not going to know about it and it’s going to hurt you,” Durham said.
Outside of the resume, Durham hopes to give students a better understanding of how the hiring process works. Sometimes, the Career Services Center is able to get direct information about “what an employer is really looking for.” More often than not, it’s really about preparing the student for what the vast majority of employers are seeking.
“The opportunities are there,” Durham said. “And that’s why, in the very beginning, I think I used my two favorite terms for students is preparation and realistic expectation.”
Durham feels WVU has accomplished that through the Career Services Center, but acknowledged that across the nation many students enter the work force only to realize they are “miserable” or “don’t quite love their jobs.”
“What they realize is that it is a job,” he said. “There’s a reason that they pay you to go and do it.”
Part of understanding expectation, Durham said, is knowing the difference between liking a job and loving a job.
“If you hit the lottery for $150 million, would you keep working? If the answer is no, then you like your job. I love my wife, and if I hit the lottery I’m still going to stay married to my wife. But if I hit the lottery, I’m going to quit my job.”
WVU graduated 4,600 students this weekend.