By Ella Frazer ’18

The number one difficulty I’m having as I look to begin my career is finding a job that fit my skills and aspirations.

I’m deep into the Humanities—majoring in English and Religion—and I know what I want my end goal career to be…but I don’t know how to get there. I know I want to write in my next job, and I want to do work that focuses on social justice and community engagement. But without an organization or job title in mind, I’ve been having trouble finding openings and applications.

In an attempt to take a break from online job boards and endless company websites, I started speaking with some of my friends who have graduated or peers I know who already have positions secured for next year. Then, I realized, I was networking.

Contrary to what I used to think, networking extends far beyond attending events like ASK Night or the Career Fair (although you should check those out, too). You can network by talking to pretty much anyone about their professional interests. And at Puget Sound, you’re surrounded by professors, staff members, and alumni who are eager and willing to help.

With this in mind, I asked a friend–Claire Grubb–who graduated in 2014 if I could buy her a cup of coffee and ask some questions about her position with the Tacoma non-profit, Emergency Food Network (EFN). Claire has worked with EFN since June 2015. She started as a Grant Coordinator, and was promoted to Development Coordinator in August of 2017.

I asked her about what she did after graduation, how she found her position with EFN, and how she’s adjusted to life as a real adult. The most exciting part of my discussion with Claire was seeing how much she loves her job and Tacoma. It makes me feel a lot better to see relatively recent graduates excited about their professional life and to know that not everyone hates their first big job out of college.

Claire said that the largest challenge in the transition from student to professional was the “added responsibility” of working—when you’re the only person working in your position, it adds pressure to make sure you are getting everything done in a way that supports the rest of your team. But, the added responsibility is also a great part of integrating into the professional realm. Since beginning her position with EFN, Claire has volunteered to sit on boards and committees aimed at increasing involvement between community members and Tacoma non-profits. Claire has used her experiences with EFN to further engage with her community and work to improve Tacoma, and her passion for this city really shows.

If you are having trouble connecting with people who work in positions you’re interested in, LinkedIn is a great place to start. CES offers workshops and individual appointments to get your profile up and running, as well as groups like the ASK Network, which is specifically aimed at connecting alumni and students. We can help put you in contact with members of these groups, and give specific advice on how to move forward in your job search—just swing by Howarth 101 or call 253.879.3161 for an appointment.

As far as my personal job search is going, I’ve been spending a lot of time researching positions and looking for openings. I’ve decided on moving to San Francisco after graduation, which has really helped narrow down the scope of my search and I’m excited to see how it all works out. Hopefully I’ll have more to share next time!


P.S. I have drop-in hours! Stop by and we can chat about the projects you’re working on.
Tuesdays: 9:30—10:30 a.m. in Oppenheimer Café
Wednesdays: 4—5:00 p.m. in WSC Marshall Hall

Photos | Ross Mulhausen
© 2018 Career and Employment Services, University of Puget Sound