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Here’s My Degree — Where’s My Job?

Author and Professor Susan Katz

Classes are just starting up at NC State. As freshmen find their way to obscure classrooms (where’s Caldwell G108, anyway?) and other students tweak their schedules for a perfect fit, at the back of everyone’s mind lurks the question: What am I going to do with the rest of my life?

Professor Susan Katz has some great advice. So much, in fact, that she’s written a book for students and recent grads.

Katz coordinates the internship program in the Department of English. Her comprehensive guide, “Start Your Career: 5 Steps to Finding the Right Job After College” (C&M Online Media, 2013), grew out of her work with students trying to make their way in the job market. It’s targeted toward students and recent grads who are trying to choose a career path and trying to land that first job after college. “Start Your Career”–available only as an e-book–charts out five steps and provides 50 tips.

•    Introspection: Katz says the first step to landing a good job is to identify personal skills and strengths. “Just because it is your major, does not mean you will do well in it and it should be your career,” she says.

•    Foresight: The book encourages students to envision themselves in a prospective job, taking into account the place, the organization and the benefits before applying for the job.

•    Research: Katz shows students how to research jobs that interest them and provides online resources that can help. She also lists online resources she considers unreliable.

•    Networking: Katz says this is the most important step in a job search. “Unfortunately these days it is who you know rather than what you know,” she says. Students should explore all contacts, including personal ones. “The trick is to talk to everybody. You never know who will help you get a job.” The book also provides tips on how to crack the web of online networking.

•    Application process: All you need to know about resumes, cover letters, using LinkedIn and other detailed information about the application process.

Katz also maintains a blog where she addresses questions and concerns that college students face in their job search faced by college students.

An earlier version of this article, by Devika Banerji, appeared in the NC State alumni blog, Red and White for Life.