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College Bound

Expert Advice on Making the Leap from Campus to Career

Parents are always thinking about the career opportunities to come after their child's educational journey. This guest interview is with Frank Schroeder, founder of Campus2Career, a firm that helps adults in their 20's find not just jobs, but the right job on a career path. Frank has more than 30 years experience providing executive search and human resources planning, as well as general management, leadership coaching, and organizational development for a variety of corporations in North America and Europe.

Q: What makes the job market so challenging? 
A: About 1.5 million college graduates enter the workforce each year, yet nearly half of U.S. workers with a bachelor's degree are working in jobs that don't require a college diploma. This signals how competitive the marketplace is. To complicate matters further, today's marketplace promotes anonymity over personal contact. Young people may submit hundreds of applications online and never hear anything back except an automated reply. In addition, young adults often are unaware of how to match their skills and experiences with the right job opening.

Q: How do young job seekers respond to these challenges?
Most become frustrated. These wonderful young men and women want to be productive in the world. Some will jump at any job that comes up and later discover that it isn't leading where they had hoped. Getting launched properly has a greater impact on a person's life than people often realize. Those early jobs have tremendous implications for financial stability and quality of life for years to come.

Q: How does Campus2Career help?
Our firm offers hands-on, in-depth coaching. We start by helping young people identify what kind of career will bring them satisfaction. Then we guide candidates through the process of creating a résumé, building phone and in-person interview skills, and building networks. We keep in touch even through the typical probationary period after candidates are hired. We define success as someone landing the right job in the field he or she desires, which 99% of our clients do.

Q: When do you recommend that young adults begin career planning? 
A: Some clients come to us during their senior year in college, but most come after graduation. Some have even been working for a few years, but the job path they began isn't growing into a fulfilling career. It is not too early to begin thinking about career paths during the first few years in college. This timing provides the opportunity to broaden out course work and pursue internships.

Q: Should college students pick their major with a specific career in mind? 
A: Most young adults don't envision a specific career while growing up. Exploration is part of the college experience. It is important to sample things and then to follow your heart when deciding where to specialize. Liberal Arts majors may not have as clear a career path as engineering majors, but they have valuable skills in analysis and communications. There are many careers where people satisfy their passions and make a living.

Q: What assets do recent graduates bring to the workplace? 
They are smart, industrious, and many don't realize how competent they are. I always hired young people when I worked at various companies. They often needed confidence, and I would say to them, "I've got more faith in you than you have in yourself." I have rarely been disappointed.