Four Career Services Directors from Louisiana colleges share tips for new graduates just gearing up to enter the job market



Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in’s sister-site, THE BLACK COLLEGIAN Online in a series for new graduates connected with the Jobs-for-US-Louisiana special promotion.  Jobs-for-US provides targeted job search help for workers in the state seeking employment opportunities, as well as special promotional incentives, advice and online job search tools to encourage young people entering the job market. For more information, please visit Jobs-for-US section at the link below.


Transitioning from college life to the work world can be a daunting task. Having an approaching graduation with a lack of job prospects can make even the coolest person hyperventilate. Though finding a job isn’t always easy, it’s certainly not impossible. In fact, job seekers can greatly increase their chances of finding the right job by using the right job search techniques. Unfortunately, many students don’t learn those techniques because they don’t take advantage of a great resource that is right there on their college campuses. Career Services departments help students to enter the work world by providing connections with prospective employers and teaching students and recent graduates job search strategies that work. They can offer a wealth of knowledge on everything from preparing a winning resume to dressing to impress on the interview. We’ve worked to multiply student’s access to great job search advice by gathering the comments of Career Services Directors; these experts offer the following advice.

University: Remington College
Name: Arthur Marques, Jr.
Title: Career Services Director

Arthur Marquez, Jr.“Which suit? Which shoes? Do I need a haircut?” These questions are common pre-interview thoughts but the audience is rarely taken into consideration. To prepare for the interview, the applicant should be able to answer questions such as, “Do you understand the framework of the company?” or “How would you be an asset to the company?” To answer those in-depth questions preparation past the outward appearance must be completed before the interview. To properly plan for the interview, the applicant should complete a checklist before the process begins.

First, when receiving information for the pre-interview process, be sure to ask who will be conducting the interview and their position in the company (i.e. a human resource representative, a manager, or the CEO). To complement the interview process, research the company to enhance knowledge of the internal functions, responsibilities, partnerships, and community involvement. Knowing the background of the company will enhance the applicant’s ability to appropriately respond to questions from the interviewer. Preparation is the key to increasing interview success. Finally, to gain an edge on an upcoming interview, visualize the interviewer and what your future contribution to the company will be.

Name: Carolyn D. Thomas
Title: Career Services Director
University: Xavier University of Louisiana

It’s important for students to be flexible about their career options. Don’t limit yourself to one particular type of employer. Every business needs accounting and computer personnel. Consider a career with the federal government. Many students think government jobs are dull, when in reality the work can be very rewarding.

In searching for a job, presentation is critical. Have your resume critiqued by your career services staff to ensure that you’ve presented your skills in the best possible manner. Your appearance must be professional. Your oral presentation skills are extremely important. Be prepared for behavioral interview questions, be comfortable, and tell “your” story. Lastly, don’t take rejection personally, and don’t quit! Looking for a job can be a job in itself.

Name: Mary D. Feduccia, Ph.D.
Title: Career Services Director
University: Louisiana State University

You’re In Control!

Mary D. Feduccia, Ph.D.In considering all of the factors that are important to employers as they recruit students in colleges and universities nationwide, college major, grade point average, and work-related experience usually rise to the top of the list. Granted, the importance of these three factors should not be underestimated and are critically important in the selection of candidates for interviews. However, once an interview schedule is developed and the day of the interview arrives, there are several factors that are totally within your control that will make the difference in who gets invited for second interviews, and ultimately, who receives the job offers.

As employers conclude a day of interviews in the on-campus recruitment program at Louisiana State University, they are asked to complete an evaluation of Career Services and of the students they interviewed. One of the questions on the evaluation is “What are the top three things you look for in a candidate (for example, grades experience, etc.)?” Repeatedly, the most popular factors include the following: “motivation”, “attitude”, “enthusiasm”, “energy”, “commitment”, “eagerness to learn”, “excitement”, “ambition”, “confidence” and others along these lines.

Think about it! You’ve already impressed the employer with your resume or you wouldn’t have been invited to the interview. In preparing for the interview, of course you’ll thoroughly research the organization and create a great first impression by being well groomed and professionally dressed. But once the door closes and the interview begins, remember that you hold the power to determine your ultimate success. Realize that you are in control and express yourself so that your enthusiasm, energy, confidence, etc. are evident to the recruiter. Then sit back and watch what happens!


MedVance Institute LogoName: Timothy Alan White, M.Ed.
Title: Director of Placement
University: MedVance Institute of Baton Rouge

Timothy Alan White, M.Ed.The best way to compete for jobs is to out-smart the employer and competitors. You must market yourself in a way that seems appealing to a possible employer. How would you do this you ask?

  1. Visit a company you would not work for and sit through the interview. This is your first line of experience and it helps rid you of the nervousness you may have. From here on job searching will be easier. You will find people to be very warm and friendly.
  2. Know what company is best for you. You should try to find those that will fit your qualifications/educational background. Remember, companies don’t waste time on those who are not qualified.
  3. Have a resume and Keep it Short and Simple (KISS). Use it like it’s a flyer that you would send to employers. Remember a job application asks for ordinary information such as education, work experience, and references. You are an “extraordinary person,” you have skills, abilities, and accomplishments. Put them on your resume.
  4. Employers look at a typical resume for 10-15 seconds. If the resume is too long, too wordy, too cluttered, or disorganized – it is disposed of. Typically, a resume is one page long, organized, clean, and easy to look at. This generally tells the employer that a person is qualified and can deliver results.
  5. Look in your local job centers, local newspapers, online career sites, placement offices of your college, employment agencies, and most of all network with your family and friends. As a major tip, get your resume in before the company advertises.
  6. Always follow-up with a phone call after you turn in your resume. This shows the company that you have an interest in them. In turn they may have an interest in you and request an interview.
  7. You already made it ½ through with selling yourself on paper. Now its time to sell yourself by your looks and knowledge. Executive business attire is recommended, proper manners, and no attitude.
  8. When you fill out your job application, only use a basic black ballpoint pen. Print legibly and do not ever put “see resume” on your application. It shows you are lazy.
  9. Ace your interview by asking questions, taking notes, being prepared, and selling yourself.
  10. You should always send a thank you letter after an interview. Again, it shows an interest in the employer.

With this advice you should be well on your way to starting your career.

For many students and recent graduates the job market can be frightening because it is un-chartered territory. However, with the right advice you can go from being nervous to confident, apprehensive to self-assured, and a college student to a member of the workforce!


Also of Interest

  • What to Do If You Are Unemployed at Graduation
    Part 2 of 2 from THE BLACK COLLEGIAN Online
    Al Barron, Career Services Director at Southern University, shares tips for new graduates (and their parents) who are finding it tough to enter the job market
  • Jobs for US-Louisiana
    By IMDiversity, THE BLACK COLLEGIAN Online, and Lundy Enterprises LLC
    2004/2005 special promotion encourages La. state jobseekers and new grads to leap into the job market with fun incentives, cash prizes, and advice and free online tools
  • QuickSearch: Internships, Coops, Jobs for Students and Recent Graduates
    From IMDiversity Career Center
    New search tools section provides quick access to pre-programmed opportunities information searches and select feature readings is committed to presenting diverse points of view. However, the viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at IMD.