When the Class of 2019 throws their caps in the air on May 20, many will be embarking on a journey into the workforce, filtering into a range of industries.
Through internships, work experience, personal connections and academic performance, seniors have been receiving job offers throughout the year.
While some industries begin recruiting on campus starting in the fall, other students explain they were able to find applications through online programs such as Handshake, a site that is run through Lehigh’s Career Services and Professional Development Office.
Handshake is a website that allows students to browse potential career opportunities. Employers are able to notify users about their events and can post positions for students to apply to.
According to Handshake’s website, their goal is to connect students and employers in a positive way: “Land a job or internship that sparks your unique interests. Discover companies, on-campus events, knowledge communities — and build a meaningful career on Handshake.”
Alex Johnson, ‘19, an IDEAS major, secured her job by applying through Handshake. Johnson will be working for Ernst & Young in Technology Consulting for their Financial Service Organization.
“It is about GPA in a sense because a lot of jobs do have cut-offs,” Johnson said. “If you don’t have a connection, GPA and past experience plays a lot more into whether or not they will even look at you. But, if you did know someone at the company, they can say, ‘let’s give this person another look.’ It’s kind of like a game.”
Johnson said she thinks her classes at Lehigh prepared her for different aspects of what she will be doing in her future job. Specifically, she said she finds that group work from her courses will contribute to success.
“Being forced to work in group projects where you have to rely on others to have their work done, as frustrating as they are, they do teach you real life experiences and what to do,” Johnson said.
Mallory Sheibley, ‘19, an industrial and systems engineer major with a minor in business, said she feels that she was able to get her job at Accenture using a combination of academic accomplishments, personal connections and prior experience.
Sheibley was a part of the General Electric Co-op Program while at Lehigh.
“I think having GE on my resume and having people recognize that company was definitely great,” Sheibley said.
Sheibley said she was nervous about securing a job.
“I went to the career center at the end of first semester of this year because I hadn’t been having that much luck applying to things,” Sheibley said. “I had gotten a few interviews back that hadn’t really been going anywhere, so I was getting nervous at that point.”
Ultimately, she was able to find something she is very excited about.
“I signed a job offer with Accenture in the end of January,” she said. “I’ll be working in New York City, and this was pretty much the exact job I wanted to get.”
Accenture is a global management consulting and professional services firm.
Lori Kennedy, the senior director of Career Services and Professional Development, said students have the ability to meet with career coaches, attend career workshops and events, come to the career center for daily Career Labs, and set up a profile in Handshake to receive weekly newsletters. From there, students can RSVP to events and search for internships and full-time positions.
Kennedy spoke about the impact Handshake has had helping students connect with opportunities.
“Last year, we posted over 21,000 full-time jobs and internships on Handshake,” Kennedy said. “Of that 21,000, 5,000 of those were internships. That was a 300 percent increase over the year before when we had a different tech platform. Technology plays a very important role in how we reach and connect students to internships and full-time positions.”
Kennedy finds that the majority of students coming to the career center are sophomores, juniors and seniors.
“We recommend that students take a very proactive approach to career development,” Kennedy said. “Ideally, we want to meet and serve every single student.”