Every senior hears one question that makes their stomach churn: what are your plans after graduation?
For senior members of Pi Sigma Epsilon (PSE) Andrea Whitton, Jonathan Rdzak and Amanda Roberts this question is a piece of cake. Within two weeks of graduation, Whitton, Rdzak and Roberts will all become Solutions Account Associates at The HON Company in Muscatine, Iowa.
“I heard them speak at our school twice, and that was about half the reason why I applied. The other half was because Andrea interned there and told me how great it was,” Rdzak said.
Rdzak officially applied to The HON Company last September at the career fair hosted by the State Farm Hall of Business.
“I would’ve never known about a company like HON if it wasn’t for the job fairs and PSE. They gave me the tools to see what kind of job I wanted to pursue and exactly how to get it,” Rdzak said.
The Career Center will provide employer walk-in résumé critiques and mock interviews on Jan. 31 in addition to the Spring Internship Fair and Spring Career Fair on Feb. 5 and 6.
Résumé critiques and mock interviews give students a nerve outlet and rehearsal before engaging in face-to-face professional communication with a potential employer.
“The job fairs feel a little overwhelming because you kind of blend in with all the students wearing suits, and it seems unnatural. That’s why it’s important to do your research and know about the company culture,” Rdzak said.
“Especially if you’re a senior, you need to know how to showcase in a way that illustrates your transferable skills.”
Whitton agrees that if you have the ability to sell yourself in person, your résumé has more leeway.
“I left my GPA off my résumé, which is supposedly a big no-no, but because I had that human interaction I was able to compensate for any deficits in my resume,” Rdzak said.
When Rdzak created his résumé prior to the career fair he made sure to tailor it to satisfy potential employers. He knew he was interested in a sales position, which led him to add extracurricular activities that showcased his willingness to jump out of his comfort zone. These activities included swing dancing and skiing.
Professional preparation and charismatic disposition helped Whitton, Rdzak and Roberts to become three of five undergraduates hired by The HON Company this year.
“Each semester they hire a different number of students getting ready to graduate. Two years ago they hired 25, this year they only hired five. Most of them are usually from the University of Iowa or Iowa State. It’s very unusual for The HON Company to hire this many undergraduates from ISU,” Whitton said.
Rdzak attributes The HON Company’s interest in Illinois State Pi Sigma Epilon candidates to Whitton’s representative work ethic last summer.
“By far the most stressful part is getting rejected multiple times and maintaining a positive attitude for each new interview. I also wondered, where do I even start?” Roberts said.
What are your plans after graduation? It doesn’t have to be such an overwhelming question. Roberts recommends taking every opportunity that arises and staying confident when talking to professionals.