Class: 2016, Spanish, Linguistics and International Studies
Job title: Outreach and Events Specialist (Program Assistant II)
Business/Employer: Iowa State Univeristy
From Iowa State Grad to Iowa State Employee
In a literal sense, Carly Johansen went directly from classroom to career. As an Iowa State student, Carly majored in Spanish, Linguistics and International Studies. Now she works in that very same department as an Outreach and Events Specialist.
"One of the biggest transitions for me (working in the department that I graduated from) was moving from a teacher-student relationship with the instructors to one at a collegial level," said Johansen. "It’s been fun to learn the inner workings of the University!"
Work Experience Makes a Difference
When searching for a job after graduation, Carly quickly recognized the importance of gaining work experience- no matter how little.
"Working as a teaching assistant, a research assistant or having an internship can make a world of difference to employers," said Johansen. "Even if it’s just a few hours a week or not really relevant to the field that you want to go into, it shows that you are willing to put in the time and energy that it takes to have a job."
As a student at Iowa State, Carly was able to hone her critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills. She also became better at problem solving under pressure, effectively prioritizing tasks, and more aware of where to seek out information.
"Another thing that I think helped me a lot was to ask my instructors, advisers and other University employees about work opportunities," said Johansen. "Building a relationship with someone who might know someone helped me to find my current job!"
A Degree in Terms of Skills
One piece of advice Carly has for students who are searching for employment opportunities is to pay attention to your cover letter.
"One thing I struggled with, when looking for jobs in general, was catering a cover letter to a position as well as the employer," said Johansen. "I learned the hard way after more than one failed application. I also had to learn that not all of my past employment was relevant to all of the jobs I was applying for."
She also suggested that you should rethink the way you approach applying for jobs. "Start widening your scope and look for jobs that you may not have even known that you wanted," said Johansen. "I started to think about my degree in terms of skills that I had learned while in school instead of subjects that I had studied, and so many doors opened for me!"