Creative Job Searches

by Marge Freking

The Career Development and CounselingCenter (CDC) uses many resources to help students find jobs. Knowing your personal level of achievement helps with planning strategies. Sophomores and seniors differ in their needs and expectations. Internships, part-time jobs, and volunteer organizations allow students to reap the benefits of the skills they need in their chosen careers.

Fields related to an area of study may introduce unexpected career paths. Know your talents and which kinds of businesses might capitalize on those talents. Deenna Latus, a career counselor in the CDC, advises students that finding a job in a chosen field can boil down to something so simple as a matter of exposure to people who can create opportunities. "We have the capability to direct you to information resources, as well as to specific information you require. The CDC has information on employers, contact listings, and referrals, as well as being equipped to direct the search to related career fields."

Workshops: The CDC offers workshops geared to assist the student with the tools necessary to ease the transition from classroom to boardroom. Intern awareness, job search strategies, credential files, resumes, cover letters and thank you notes, career exploration, job searches, Internet job searches, tips for interviews, practice interviews, portfolio development, and government position exploration represent some of the services students receive free of charge. The CDC can assist students in marketing their diverse talents and highlighting those 

Deenna Latus

talents on their resumes.

Personal Counseling: In addition to career help, the CDC offers "Discovering Yourself," a series of 50-minute workshops designed to help students understand how to cope with test anxiety, academic stress, parent-student relationships, and personality issues like anger, lonliness, shyness, and perfectionism. Getting one's personal life in order allows the student to concentrate on academic preparation for the job world.

Career Resource Library: The Career Resource Library in the CDC catalogs job postings and available internships. Check campus departments for information, too.


Research the companies that offer jobs. You do not want to walk into an interview without basic knowledge of the company and/or their product. This library can help you discover that information.

The CDC posts recruiting schedules and also has online versions of these schedules, which often contain links to the employer's home pages. Call human resources at the company you research. Ask about the position, requirements, and history of the company. They can also tell you about their dress code. You do not want to arrive for your interview in a suit if Friday means jeans and t-shirts.

Credit or No Credit Internships: If you want an internship without credit hours, you may go through the CDC. However, if you want credit hours for an internship, the CDC can help you with your search, but you must go through your academic departments. A contract between the student and the employer must be signed which specifies duties, expectations, time limits, and responsibilities. Someone in your academic department must then approve the contract. Each academic department has its own internship coordinator, and the CDC has that list.

Networking: Begin your initial contact with the faculty and staff, since many faculty members worked in the fields in which they teach. Consequently, they may direct you to someone to assist you in your job search. Word of mouth also works well, since the more people who know of your job search, the better your chances to secure employment.

Cold letters can help, too. Send a cover letter and a copy of your resume to a company that interests you. Tell them what skills you can offer them and why you wish to work for their company. This shows initiative. If a job opens up within their company, they may contact you. After all, ninety percent of available jobs never get advertised.

Ask others how they got their jobs and places where they think you might look. Attend job fairs in your field and look for job postings while you are there. Be sure to bring resumes with you when you attend job fairs so you can give them to potential employers. Read journals and magazines published in your major field of study. Advertisers in those journals are legitimate and may have opportunities you seek.

Job Search Events: The CDC helps prepare students for several job search events each semester. Every fall the CDC hosts MSU Career Week, which includes Business Career Day (sponsored by the College of Business) in the Centennial Student Union (CSU) ballroom. Social and Behavioral Sciences Career Day and the Graduate and Professional School Fair also provide job search opportunities for students. The CDC encourages all students to attend these events.

In spring, the Minnesota State Universities Job Fair offers students the chance to visit potential employers at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Later in the spring, the Minnesota Education Job Fair, also held in the Minneapolis Convention Center, gives students persuing education degrees an opportunity to discover which career paths they might choose to persue. The CDC posts infromation about all these events.

Most Importantly: Start your job search early. The immediacy factor suggests that recruiters hire students as much as nine months in advance. You want to send your application well ahead of the time you want the job. Cold letters take time to compose, send, read, and return. Often the replies suggest that the writer keep looking.

They Want To Help: The CDC helps students capitalize on their academic backgrounds and interests. Visit the CDC soon to invest in your future. The help, though free, is priceless. If you want special help, call for an appointment. They want enough time to help you do a thorough job search, because that is why they are there.

For further information, visit their web site at <


"We have the capablity to direct you to information resources, as well as to specific information you require. The CDC has information on employers, contact listings, and referrals, as well as being equipped to direct the search to related career fields."


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