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Student Voices: Speaking out on the issues they care most about

20-something and job-hunting: Better start networking.
WSU senior Meaghan McGlynn: "[Landing a job] is who you know, not necessarily what you know."

WSU senior Meaghan McGlynn: "[Landing a job] is who you know, not necessarily what you know."

Statistics tell us that today's job market is tough for 20-somethings, unless they happen to be code cowgirls (or boys). As part of our ongoing Student Voices series, we floated this question to Northwest fledglings who are getting ready to leave the cozy college nest and look for (gulp) a job: What's your plan for getting a job in the Puget Sound region after you graduate, and how optimistic are you about your prospects?

Here's what Seattle University senior Lauren Burgeson and WSU senior Meaghan McGlynn had to say:

I am going into my last year of college and am incredibly nervous about finding a job after graduation. It's difficult for anyone in their twenties to not be nervous about job prospects considering the economic climate that we've grown up in and the horror stories from friends, family and the media.

I am, however, optimistic about my own situation. I have tried my best to take a lot of voluntary research and internship opportunities, talk to my professors and network with people in positions that I would like to have. 

My plan for getting a job is to really focus in on what my possible connections in the region are and put myself out there! A lot of my peers don't learn enough about how to network and why that is so important. — Lauren Burgeson, Seattle University, Public Affairs & Urban Studies major


In today’s world, where higher education is expected, and yet unimportant, I plan to network. [Getting a job] is who you know, not necessarily what you know  — though, what you know usually helps when you meet people — and my plan is to use the relationships I have built, and continue to build as a way to get into the career I want. 

Preparing while I’m in college has been the most important part of this plan. My relationships will be stronger, and my network will be bigger because of the internships and other activities I am involved with at school. These things connect me to more people, and will give me the leg up I need when I enter the real world. — Meaghan McGlynn, Washington State University, Communications major

 

Crosscut will pose a new question each week to Northwest students — high schoolers on up to post-graduate. We hope all you Washington students out there will take the time to send us thoughtful, well-crafted replies. Each week's "best of" will be collected here. And if you have burning questions you’d like us to ask, please send them along to studentvoice@crosscut.com and we'll toss them in the hopper.


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Comments:

Posted Fri, Aug 8, 11:02 p.m. Inappropriate

Kudos for thinking about how your education contributes to your career trajectory. Don't however, mistake having a career for having a life. Without sounding cliche - take advantage of you youth to travel and try different opportunities before settling in. Good luck and best wishes.

Lily32

Posted Sun, Aug 10, 12:05 a.m. Inappropriate

Actually, get a career before you think it's ok to travel.

Show your future employers you have learned responsibility - work hard, be willing to start at the bottom, be willing to be bored, but no matter what, keep learning, be diligent, and the best person you can be at work.

That does not mean taking more money from mommy and daddy to travel around the world before you start working.

Travel for youth is a luxury that rich families can offer, but people of modest means ... must work. I'd hire the person who showed me maturity and a good work ethic far before I would hire the young traveler with zero work experience that matters.

Posted Sun, Aug 10, 9:21 p.m. Inappropriate

BS - I worked, saved, travelled cheapness- climbed, hiked, and met tons of great folks before career tracking. ADD still manage to take off a month or two now and then.

My observation is that when you are young you are more apt to travel on a skinnier budget than 20 years later. I've seen many a poor folk trapped in carriers they hate but jumping in too early. Sad but true for too many in the U.S.

Lily32

Posted Mon, Aug 11, 12:25 a.m. Inappropriate

@ Lily32, Who paid for your college education? You, or your parents?
Did you pay all of your travel costs, or did mom and dad?

Entitlement or earned your way 100%?

Posted Mon, Aug 11, 8:54 a.m. Inappropriate

You are barking up the wrong tree son. My family was poor - I was told, as were my siblings, that my folks encouraged us to go to college, but they had no extra money to help.

I was a good student and managed to secure a scholarship to a state school - but I had to work 15-20 hrs a week during the school year and I pulled a part-time and a full-time job each summer to help pay for room and board. In graduate school I had a teaching assistantship, worked for researchers, and took out about $12k in loans that I paid back in 6 years.

So yea- I earned my way. And yes, I'd still say travel more while you are young and willing to sleep in the low rent district, live on cheese and bread or whatever. It will enrich your life. Life is short - even if you love what you do for work (as I do) you still need a good break now and then. Taking time to travel before you jump into the machine, IMO, is a good way to clear the cobwebs.

Lily32

Posted Mon, Aug 11, 4:32 p.m. Inappropriate

I felt uncomfortable reading this article at work because if a coworker were to walk by, they may have thought I was on some XXX site looking at photos of scantily-clad women---not to sound like some old crotchedly stick in the mud (I'm 25), but when writing in boasting of how you're going to get a job because of your networking skills, perhaps sending in a bit more of a professional photo... or I don't know, one in which you're fully clothed, could have helped back up your confidence. Still need to do some growing up, Meaghan. Put a shirt on.

SVBOBrien

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