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Landing Your Dream Job

June 6, 2022
three people meeting at a table
A Cowboy Coach and Career Peer with the College of Business, CeeJay Berg helps mentor students at the Career Fair Drop-in Workshop.

It’s never too early to explore career options, and UW offers a host of resources. 

According to a report published by Dell Technologies, 85 percent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been created yet. Depending on your perspective, that can seem like an opportunity or a daunting reality. Another interesting fact is that people change jobs multiple times, with those in the 25-to-34 age range sticking around at one job for about 3.2 years. All this is to say:

It pays to go in with a broad range of skills and to be adaptive and flexible. As a first-year student at the University of Wyoming, you may feel that your career is far off, but our experts say it’s never too early to begin exploring your options and gaining experiences.  

Start Exploring

UW’s Advising, Career and Exploratory Studies (ACES) Center offers career counseling and career services, including resume reviews, mock interviews, exploratory field trips, etiquette dinners and career fairs. ACES Interim Director Richard Miller says that the first step for all incoming students is to log on to the software program Handshake. There, you can peruse a host of offerings screened by staff, including jobs, internships, career fairs and field trips. ACES approves about 200 postings each day.

There are seven career fairs offered annually. Start attending these your first year, even if it’s just to walk around and listen. You’ll be surprised by some of the career options you may never have thought of. Don’t be shy—just go up and ask representatives to tell you more about their companies and offerings. When you’re ready to apply for internships or jobs, ACES can help you with your resume and preparation before the career fair.

“I have attended every career fair and met with my college’s career center many times to polish my resume and help me find a career,” says CeeJay Berg of Rock Springs, Wyo., a senior accounting and economics major with minors in honors and finance.

“I also used Handshake and LinkedIn regularly to search for opportunities and connect with recruiters.”

Her efforts were successful, and Berg already has an accounting job lined up for after graduation.

ACES also partners to host Live Local, Work Local events, where students visit Wyoming towns to meet with employers and learn about career options there. Miller says one of the best ways to land a job is to be an intern. Interning also allows you to see if the job is a good fit for you.

In addition to career services, you can explore your passions and interests by partaking in campus offerings—from clubs to speakers. UW’s gamified software program SOAR will help you find experiential learning opportunities. You’ll earn points as SOAR keeps a transcript of everything you take part in.

Your adviser and professors are also great resources. “I think it’s super helpful to talk to an adviser you trust to help build a career plan ahead of time,” says senior Abigail Klenk of Loveland, Colo., who is majoring in social studies secondary education and history with an ESL endorsement. 

Fellow senior Maddy Jenkins of Jackson, Wyo., who is majoring in kinesiology, says: “UW was very helpful with getting me letters of recommendation and good internships and helping me with my resume. The resources on campus allowed me to feel well set up for graduate school.”

man and woman talking across a table
Ben Herdt, academic advising manager with Advising Career and Exploratory Studies (ACES), conducts a mock interview with Gabrielle Lubbers, a business economics senior from Eagle, Colo.

Tips for Success

If you’ve declared a major, your college can be a great place to start your career exploration. Many UW colleges have their own career service offerings tailored to its areas of study. Tyler Grabner, associate director of career services at the College of Engineering and Applied Science Center for Student Success, and Taylor True, associate director for the College of Business Peter M. and Paula Green Johnson Student Success Center, offer the following tips. 

Learn about different career paths. Take a look at the Occupational Outlook Handbook and O*NET. These resources describe skills and suggested degrees for career paths along with projected growth of any given field.

Explore your interdisciplinary interests. Many students have more than one academic interest area. As you explore career paths, consider how a minor or additional major may fit together, and work with your adviser on what this could look like.

Start attending career fairs, networking events and company information sessions as a freshman! These offerings allow you to network with companies in your field in order to learn more about what you might be doing if employed and will help you build connections with employers. You can find events like these in Handshake.

Make a career appointment. This can be through your college’s career center or ACES. Use this time to touch base with a professional and come up with a plan for yourself moving forward. Career professionals across campus are always happy to assist with anything and everything internship and career related.

Start searching for and applying to internships as a freshman—plenty of freshmen obtain internships. Even if you don’t get one, learning the process is extremely valuable.

When applying for positions, tailor your resume, not just your cover letter. This is based on key words from the job description. If they are looking for someone with communication skills, and you have used those skills, tell them that in your resume.

It’s OK if you don’t have relevant experience. Getting involved in student clubs, organizations, research and projects can help you gain relevant skills and build relationships.

Use career-related resources available to you as a UW student such as Handshake, SOAR and Candid Career. These are valuable in both making the most of your time here at UW and making the best decisions moving forward.

When searching for jobs, use multiple resources. Not all companies post to the same website—start with Handshake, and move on to other resources available to you.

Practice interviewing. Interviewing can be a nerve-racking process. You can practice interviewing with your career adviser beforehand to go into it prepared and confident.

Career paths don’t always form a straight line. If you are majoring in mechanical engineering, becoming a mechanical engineer will not be your only option upon graduating. You may find that a related field is the best fit for you.  

Once you’re in the workforce—if your dream position is still out of reach—consider job crafting, adds ACES Manager of Academic Advising Ben Herdt. Job crafting helps bridge the gap between what you’re doing and what you want to do. Talk to your supervisor, and come up with ideas to adjust your job description or take on additional responsibilities that excite you. Many supervisors appreciate this initiative, and it will help build your resume for your next step.

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