Career Corner

The Winter Olympics captured my attention this year. I don’t usually follow winter sports. However, for the past few weeks, I’ve been engrossed in the stories of athletes from around the world who have encountered endless injuries and overcome insurmountable odds to compete for the highest athletic honor – an Olympic gold medal. The talent pool is deep, and the competition is fierce. Only the best earn a place on the podium. Weeks, months and years go into training for such an event. And some athletes only get one shot to propel them to the top.

With unemployment rates remaining steady at 9 to 11 percent across the country, the competition is fierce in the job market as well. Job seekers of all types are facing a challenging course ahead. As job seekers encounter these challenges, they may approach the search process from a number of different perspectives. They range along the continuum from “accept defeat and quit the race” to “go for the gold with gusto.”

Those individuals who accept defeat may express feeling terrified or uncertain. They may be reluctant to even look for jobs, or they may settle on a job that doesn’t quite utilize their skill set and/or education. The hesitation and discouragement may seep into their job search, hindering their ability to accurately and effectively sell themselves to an employer.

The individuals who go for the gold exhibit confidence in their abilities. They recognize and articulate their strengths, and they set goals for themselves. These individuals are the ones who actively engage in activities and workshops that will build their skills and prepare them for the job market.

The important thing for job seekers, especially recent and upcoming graduates, is not to give up or lose hope. As career coaches, we strive to maintain a healthy balance between the realistic and the ideal. We present information honestly while instilling hope and optimism. We focus our attention on equipping students with the tools they need to be competitive and successful. By training hard and consistently applying the strategies for effective job searching, graduates will emerge with a sense of pride and accomplishment – much like the young athletes who didn’t win gold but achieved a personal best in their performance.

The thing that most impresses me about Olympic athletes is their discipline. They train day after day, repeating the same routine or course in order to perfect it. Olympians push themselves to the limit, and when they get there, they push even harder. Those who walk away with a gold medal are the ones who didn’t give up. Through discipline, courage and perseverance, job seekers can overcome the odds and beat the statistics.

As parents, their biggest fans, you can support and encourage them to remain focused and disciplined in their search. You can also promote their use of Career Services, as we offer many opportunities for them to develop their skills and grow professionally. Together, we can coach graduates toward their best future!

For a list of upcoming events and services, please visit the Career Services website at

Angela J. Doty
Associate Director of Career Services