Andrea Reger’s blog post could hit close to home for students who don't know what to tell their relatives this holiday season when bombarded with questions pertaining to job searches and the future. Lehigh's Career Center is a resource students can use when preparing for interviews or applying to jobs and internships. (Courtesy of Career Center).

Career Center to address students’ stress about job hunting this holiday season

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Career Center Associate Director Andrea Reger’s blog post on Hirelehigh.com might be exactly what students are looking for as they return home for Thanksgiving Break.

The post, “Be Ready for a Thanksgiving inquisition: How to make a career plan to keep Grandma off your back,” will address questions like which jobs students can secure and how much money they can make with their majors when it’s released on Nov. 6.

“(Students) go home and see a lot of extended family over the holidays, and they kind of get grilled,” Reger said. “And so, this is a blog post that prepares them for that without the expectation that they’re getting prepped and have to know all the answers.”

Tyler Hogue, ’21, a computer major, said this is the most stressful time for him.

“It’s getting close to the point where all the employers are getting their positions filled up,” Hogue said. “I would call it an ‘employer rush’ right now.”

He said as the semester comes to a close, he needs to make sure he has everything done in regard to applying to jobs.

Both undeclared and declared students stress about their post-college plans around the holidays, and Reger said the stress commonly comes from not being able to confidently say, “I know exactly what I want to do.”

Kendall Burdick, ’21, said the pressure really builds around this time.

“I get stressed searching for jobs around the holidays because everyone is talking and asking about jobs, internships and future plans,” Burdick said. 

The blog post is formatted as if a family member were asking questions, and it will offer the necessary steps and explanations for how to respond or act. 

Reger said the post primarily addresses the questions, “What can I do with this major?,” “What does that type of career really look like?” and “How can I do salary research around some of those positions?.”

The post will offer resources to students by referring them to Lehigh Connects and the Lehigh University alumni network, and suggesting potential questions to ask alumni.

Reger said her favorite piece of the post is the “10 more ways to respond to ‘What are you going to be when you grow up?'”

The overall message is students don’t have to have all the answers about their career plans and life after Lehigh, but they can share the plan for figuring it out with their relatives.

“It’s not about what the better job is, it’s about finding your interest, your skills and your passions,” Reger said. “That’s what’s going to be a good or bad job, if you can say ‘This is a good fit for me.’”

The blog posts are written by career coaches, students, alumni and sometimes guest bloggers. They are not only limited to Lehigh students as the main audience. 

Reger said when she initially started the blog during summer 2018, she wanted to write more posts that parents and recruiters could read, too. 

“I think we break (the blog) into these bite-sized pieces, it’s almost always very story-driven with really cool voices,” Reger said. “It’s not just my voice, it’s education coming from the students, too, that can be really powerful.” 

Burdick said the first time she met with Reger, she was reassured that she did not need to be stressed or overwhelmed, by learning that the job search process for College of Arts and Sciences students drastically differs from that for students of the College of Business or the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Reger strategically plans when each blog post will go live to address a variety of topics for a diverse audience.

“We try to be intentional with our time, with respect to primary seasons,” Reger said. “For instance, with ‘Thanksgiving Inquisition,’ we give students some time to actually do the steps I am talking about.”

Students can take advantage of the holiday break to get ahead in the process. 

“I’d like to devote time to find internships and explore which jobs are the right fit for me,” said Vaibhav Anand, ‘22, a computer engineering major. “I am always stressed, I don’t want to waste my time, I want to be proactive.”

The Career Center’s services aim to help Lehigh students understand the necessary steps they should take so they are ready for life after graduation.

Reger said she hopes through her new blog post, other Lehigh students who feel the same way will be inclined to use the Career Center services. 

“I also usually have more free time during holidays breaks, and that’s when I really start to apply and research potential internships,” Burdick said. 

Anand said the Career Center is a helpful resource for him, guiding him in the right direction with the proper resources on successfully interviewing and applying to internships. 

“I’ve only been to the Career Center once for a meeting, but I love how kind and supportive everyone is,” Burdick said. “Andrea really helped me understand how to better use Handshake and other resources that are available for Lehigh students, specifically (College of Arts and Sciences) students.”

Reger said this post is relevant to every Lehigh student who doesn’t know what their future will hold, regardless of the major they pursue.

“I’m okay with uncertainty,” Reger said. “I’m not okay with students feeling down by the fact.”

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