Promoting career readiness for Volgenau students

On February 22 Mason will host its spring Career Fair at the Johnson Center. While the fair is an important event for student job seekers, landing that first professional job after graduation is a multi-step journey that requires research, advance planning, and marketing savvy.

To help students navigate their journey, Sean McGowan, a Mason University Career Services industry advisor holds office walk-in hours every Thursday in room 2612 of the Nguyen Engineering Building from 3:00-5:00 pm. Students can also make an individual appointment by calling the University Career Services main desk at 703-993-2370.

McGowan emphasizes, “University Career Services doesn’t find or give students jobs, but we help them explore their career opportunities and strategize their search process. An effective job search process is much more than filling out applications online, and firing off resumes.” McGowan tells students that 70-80 percent of jobs are found through networking. 

“It really is about what you know, who you know, and how well you can promote your skills,” says McGowan. 

He encourages students to understand their field, but not to specialize too soon. The job search is a four-step process, documents, research, networking, and search and apply. A successful search requires following these steps and understanding of the profession.

“The first thing I say to students is, ‘Tell me about yourself.’ Every employer will ask that, and students need to be comfortable describing who they are and what they want to do. I help them develop their personal pitch, talk about what they enjoy professionally and personally,” he said.

To make the most of the Career Fair next week, McGowan encourages students not to make a beeline for their number one employer, but rather to warm up with employers that might not be their first choice.

“If they do this, they might find employers they hadn’t thought about, and when do get to their top choice, they will be ready and warmed up.”