Introspection and Networking Leads to Career Gold

Career Development Center Helps Find The ‘Perfect Fit’

by REED CARR, CSU Public Relations Intern

Who are you? Why are you here? Where are you headed? Staff at the Minnesota State Career Development Center suggest students begin with these questions when searching for their ideal career path.

Matthew Carlson, Acting Director in the CDC, feels self-knowledge helps students find a career that provides happiness as well as a paycheck.

“’Who am I? Why am I here? Where do I want to go?’ It’s hard to get there if you don’t know where you want to go,” Carlson said. “And the fourth question—’How do I get there?’—is relatively easy if you know the answer to the first three. There are employers, there are jobs, there are qualifications, there is experience you need—there is a match out there. If you want to be a doctor, there is a recipe. If you want to be a chef, there is a recipe.”

In the past, the CDC simply lined students up with a job and hoped that it would work out, but things have changed. It’s all about finding the perfect fit.

“We are more in the developmental side of growing a career. It’s not enough just to get a job—we want you to get the thing that is just incredible,” Carlson said. “Go for the gold, man—plan A. You can have more than one goal, but aim for plan A, whatever that is for you. It may not work out, but you’ll lose nothing by trying.”

‘It’s not enough just to get a job—we want you to get the thing that is just incredible. Go for the gold, man – plan A.’ – Matt Carlson

A large part of finding that “plan A” job comes from collaboration and networking. Rather than hoping for the perfect job to fall from the sky the CDC teaches student to build relationships with prospective employers.

“We are trying to teach people job search skills so they can help themselves and others in the future,” Carlson explained. “If I can teach you how to network and connect with employers, you’ll be able to do it the rest of your life. I could just give you a job and you’ll be happy for a short amount of time, but then down the line when you’re ready for a different job, there won’t be anyone there to help you.”

Everyone knows that a solid resume is a great tool in finding a job—but filling in the white space can seem daunting. The CDC is connecting students with opportunities and experience to make a strong resume.

“The kinds of doors that open with employers are internships, any kind of experiential learning where you maybe take an entry-level position that might open other opportunities,” Carlson explained. “The university itself opens lots of ideas on what you may be able to do, but the employers are the ones financing it. Employers have problems, and they pay people to fix them. The way you fix them is with your skills, knowledge and experience.”

The CDC can help with anything from resumes to job searching to interview preparation. If you need career advice or simply want to bounce your ideas off a trained career counselor, stop by the for a drop-in meeting Monday-Thursday, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Or schedule an appointment at: https://mavjobs.joinhandshake.com/login

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