From ‘your Linfield’ to your career: Being proactive on the job search

Summer is approaching. For those students looking for a summer job or entering the job market in June, a better economy needs to come soon.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the national unemployment rate fell 0.4 percent in January — a small victory with a smooth decrease since its highest peak of 10.6 percent in 2009.

Co-founder of InternMatch Nathan Parcells said that since the economy has not fully recovered yet, the process of networking is more critical for students entering the real world.

“Network really is a key. Go talk with as many people as you can,” Career Services Program Coordinator Kristi Mackay agreed.

Lori Howell, senior associate at Prichard Communications, a public relations agency in Portland, also highlighted the importance of networking and informational interviews. She said the most effective start for students with limited experience is to have conversations with professionals and identify at least three types of jobs they are interested in.

After participating in many informational interviews with college students, Howell identified these tips for building a network:
• Prepare at least five questions about occupations you like
• Contact professionals in your interested field, and ask for 20 minutes to talk about job hunting
• Ask them how they got their jobs and what they usually do in their current jobs
• Remember to mail a thank-you card for their time and information after the interview and later when you get a job

During the era of the Internet, search engines might help you to find some opportunities, but not unadvertised jobs, such as those announced in trade meetings or networking events. Statistics show that two thirds of all jobs are found informally.
Mackay said many students have a misunderstanding when they are searching for jobs or internships because they focus their search only online.

Compared with big companies that widely advertise jobs, small businesses and nonprofit organizations are a good start for students who have limited real-world experiences, Parcells said. InternMatch is an online internship-search website that collects such opportunities.

Assistant Professor of Mass Communication Lisa Weidman indicated during a career class that students should not be afraid of applying for their dream jobs.

With a matured network as a good start, a résumé and cover letters should represent a student’s experience and skills.
Liberal arts college students’ skills are more transferable than those in general universities but they’re not always specialized enough, so students need to identify what skills they can bring to the table, Anne Hardin Ballard, director of Career and Community Services, said.

Mackay suggested a typical three-step theory for students contemplating their career:
1. Learn about yourself. Come up with questions about your interests, skills, expected geographic location, long-term and short-term goals, expected work environment and so on.
2. Learn about what’s out there. List jobs found on the Internet, in newspapers or heard about during a conversation. Mackay said this addresses how students should not overlook informational interviews.
3. Make a match between No. 1 and No. 2.

Parcells, an expert at internship hunting, said the reality is that paid internships are limited for students, but a common difficulty for students is that they don’t know how to highlight professional skills besides listing experience in the office or industry environment.

“The value of doing internships is not just adding more titles into the résumé but also knowing what you really like after a short period of real-world work,” he said.

Mackay noted an important point about interviews that has overwhelmed most students.

“A job interview is a conversation. While the recruiter asks you questions, you should do so as well.”

Campus sources:

Résumé workshops: Learn how to create a résumé and cover letter. The workshops will go over content and formatting and touch on job and internship search strategies.
March 14, 2 p.m., Walker 302
March 29, 2:30 p.m., Walker 201
April 19, Noon, West Wing of Dillin
May 5, 4 p.m., Walker 201

Career After Hours (all at 4 p.m. in the Fred Meyer Lounge):
Feb. 22, Career Quest: “Getting the Opportunity You Want”
Feb. 28, Social Service Careers
March 1, Internships
Nathan Parcell, co-founder of InternMatch, addresses the question of why you should get an internship and provides the empowering “how” to find, develop and take advantage of an internship experience.
March 1, April 12, LinkedIn
Career Services Program Coordinator Kristi Mackay will discuss how to use LinkedIn as a tool for professional networking and searching for jobs.
April 21, Management
A panel of recruiters will discuss management-training programs that can be a great way to start your career.
April 26, Financial Service
A panel of professionals will discuss different career paths in financial services.

Other events:
Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m., Riley 201, Evergreen Water Park Presentation:
Evergreen representatives will be on campus to provide a sneak peek of the new water park, scheduled to open early June. Learn what jobs may be available and how to apply for them.
March 30, 4 p.m., Walker 302, Peace Corps information session
March 30, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Walker 124, Resumania
April 1, First Avenue Job Fair, University of Portland:
First Avenue Job Fair has recruiters talk to students about internships, summer jobs, full-time positions and graduate schools. Please visit for more information.

Information provided by Career Services

Online job


This is an internship-hunting website and a good start for undergrads who don’t have much work experience. Most work opportunities listed are in nonprofit organizations and small businesses in the Northwest. The InternMatch blog ( and Twitter feed (@internmatch) are updated regularly with ideas about jobs, internships, interview techniques, career tips and the like.

InternMatch co-founder Nathan Parcells will talk about his own experiences and share unique perspectives on internships at Linfield on March 1: see Campus resources’ at the left for more details.


Prichard Communications’ Mac’s List is a job resource for people studying communications. Most posts are for high-level jobs in the Portland area, but some are internships, events and volunteer opportunities. It also gives students an idea of what communications jobs look like. Senior Associate Lori Howell participated in countless informational interviews with job hunters and said she likes to help students with networking.

Jaffy Xiao/Features editor
Jaffy Xiao can be reached at

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