At the start of every new year, I remember thinking that I should look into career opportunities for myself, only to brush it off and think that’s an issue for my future self. As a fourth-year in my second to last quarter, it is now a pressing issue. The thought of graduating and having to find a job during a seemingly never-ending pandemic weighs heavy on my mind. However, if I have learned anything during my time at UCR, it’s that there are lots of resources aimed to help students connect with employers.  

UCR Handshake is an amazing tool for students looking for job opportunities. Handshake allows students to explore many different job opportunities that coincide with their major. It also allows students to browse a handful of jobs at different locations. Students can find a variety of employment opportunities, as well as internships, that might be of interest to them. Most of these job applications require resumes, cover letters and sometimes even letters of recommendation. While some students can feel intimidated by the application process, the Career Center at UCR is a helpful tool for students who need extra help.

Back when I was applying for jobs via Handshake, a simple appointment to the Career Center gave my resume and cover letters all the help I needed in order to secure interviews. For students struggling to find letters of recommendation, begin by maintaining a good relationship with a TA or professor. Make an effort to attend office hours and ask questions during classes so that they are familiar with who you are. Asking a TA or professor to write you a letter of recommendation is a great first step. 

Students should also keep an eye out for any announcements that professors, deans or departments send out about job opportunities for students. Oftentimes, professors may announce opportunities for students during lecture, so be sure to pay close attention to these announcements. Social media is another great tool to look for job opportunities. With the campus closure, employers have gone to social media to announce job openings and opportunities. Actively seeking out job openings can help students find enriching job opportunities. 

Students should remember to get started on pursuing these opportunities as soon as possible. Sometimes, career opportunities might arise from connections made from networking, which is another way to secure the bag and be set after graduation. Keeping an eye out for these opportunities within your local community is also a good idea. 

Overall, being vigilant and open-minded can set you up for success, and despite facing hard times, good change will come. All it takes is to make the most of what’s given to you and to keep looking forward.

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