This is part two in a series of interviews with Biola students and alumni, who have shared their stories and advice around searching and applying for jobs for after college. 

Jane An - Recent Grad

Localization Coordinator @ WEBTOON

Communication Studies

Jane An - Recent Grad

Q: What was it like looking for your first job?

A: My job search actually started as an internship search in the summer before my fourth year of college! I came across an opening for a “Localization Project Coordinator Intern” on LinkedIn and applied, and at the end of an interview and onboarding process, I was fortunate enough to begin interning there! After graduating, I converted to a full-time contract temp employee.

Q: Any tips?

A: The tip that I think I would consider the most important and impactful in my personal experience would be to keep your mind open to opportunities that might be outside your usual search scope. As a communication major with previous experience in marketing, I was expecting to only search for and apply to opportunities that involved marketing - so applying for a localization position was a bit of a leap for me. I decided to pursue this opportunity because of my personal interest in intercultural communication and translation, and it paid off! Keeping your mind open may lead to opportunities and experiences beyond your expectations.

As for interviews, be specific when you talk about your previous experience that makes you the right candidate for a position! Describing specific projects, coursework or other experiences that have equipped you to take on a role can go a long way in an interview process, especially when it comes to setting you apart from other applicants.

Q: Any words of encouragement?

A: The application process can get very daunting and tedious, and getting rejections or just getting no response at all can be very discouraging. Though it’s difficult to put a positive spin on things in the face of discouragement, I truly believe that every application and every rejection is an opportunity for reflection. With every rejection I received, I asked if the recruiter would be willing to share feedback. I didn’t always receive it, but the feedback I did receive helped me gain a lot in terms of insight and self-reflection. Take breaks when you need to, and don’t allow comparison to get you down!

Kyuri Yum - Senior Finance Major

Incoming Business Analyst @ JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Business Administration: Finance

Kyuri Yum - Senior Finance Major

Q: What was it like looking for your first job?

A: When I first entered into the “job searching season,” I was extremely nervous. I only had one full-time internship and a few small club involvements, and felt that I didn't have the best game entering into a competition full of talented peers. I had lots of doubts about myself because I didn’t know what I’m truly passionate about or good at, so I had a lot of fear walking into this journey.

What helped me the most was figuring out what I truly want to do upon graduation as early as possible and being strategic about it. What kind of industry do I want to get into? What kind of position or day-to-day responsibilities will I be willing to do? Where do I want to work? Do I see myself in this company for the next two or three years? I knew that I wanted to be either in the banking or consulting industry, so narrowing that interest helped to cater my skills and talents, or even my resume, to a specific talent that the industry or the company is looking for.

Q: Any tips?

A: The three “why” questions

After many interviews that I’ve had with companies such as Google, Adobe, KPMG and JPMorgan Chase, one commonality that I found in their interviews is that they simply want to know these three things: why me (as a qualified candidate), why this company, and why this role. Obviously, writing down a good example of your prior experience that unwraps your resume using a STAR method helps, but as long as you know these three core questions, you won’t have a hard time trying to fathom what interviewers want to see from you.

It’s about the culture

When going into an interview, we think that we have to prove our skills and experience. They are, indeed, true as the purpose of an interview is to validate the experience that you have written on your resume. But what the employer (or the interviewer) is trying to glimpse is whether you can be a good culture fit for the department/division that you are applying for or the company as a whole depending on the size of the company.”

Be confident

As the employers are assessing your fit with them, it is also your extraordinary chance to assess if they are a good fit for you. Interviews are like a mutual risk assessment to see if both parties are a good fit and have the potential to create a good synergy together—it is never one way. You will be spending the majority of your week with your coworkers, so assessing the company's value and its culture is as important to us as it is for them.

Q: Any words of encouragement?

A: Aim high, dream big

“If you ever see a job posting from your dream company, thinking “I have no chance of getting into this,” you are underestimating your potential. If you have a dream job and if you have a career goal that you would like to achieve one day, start now! Network with Biola alumni on LinkedIn who have gone through the same journey; watch the company’s YouTube videos about their culture, business trends, leadership interviews; stay up-to-date with their career sites; and reach out to the local recruiters.

Don’t think about what you can be, think about who you can be

What I realized throughout the recruitment process is that our career is temporary. Our values and worth should never be defined by our career but by who we are as a person. As I am struggling to let go of finding my worth in my career, including my new chapter as an analyst at JPMorgan Chase, my dear mentor and a professor at Crowell School of Business once said to me, “Don’t think about what you can be, think about who you can be.” Before thinking about what kind of profession you want to pursue or a job title you want to hold, ask yourself what kind of character you want to build and what kind of person you want to become as you transition into a new journey of life. What is more important than having a good career is a good character and being a good person to those around you. I believe that solidifying these foundations in yourself will eventually make your career life rewarding and fruitful. I wish you all the best of luck in your journey!

Kara Eggink - Senior PR Major

Marketing and Communications Coordinator @ Operation Gratitude

Public Relations: Entertainment and Events

Kara Eggink - Senior PR Major

Q: What was it like looking for your first job?

A: Looking for a job, let alone your first one can be daunting. I was nervous when I first started searching because I knew I needed to find a job soon after graduation so I could be financially independent.

I started actively searching in January and it took me over a month to find a job. I applied to over 50, received some interviews at large companies, but ultimately, they didn’t choose me because I still didn’t have my degree (even when all I had left to do toward my degree was liberal arts requirements). I was going down a path that I thought was where God wanted me until he pulled a 180 and led me toward a non-profit I had volunteered with. It made me realize that it’s important to consider other factors besides a job title when job searching. I learned I wanted to be more than just my title at a company. Since we are all replaceable in the workforce, at the end of the day it’s important to separate yourself from your work self.

Q: Any Tips?

A:

  • Create a portfolio. This came in handy as a lot of companies are looking for people to fill roles who already have a portfolio. It also comes in handy to have all of your achievements in one place in such a way that they are easily accessible. Even if you feel like you don’t have a lot to show, you probably have something of worth that you can put there!

  • Don’t be afraid to start the process early. A lot of students wait until closer to graduation, or after, and that’s okay! But many students don’t realize you can begin your search early while still in school.

  • Expand your network. Make it your mission to meet as many people as possible. Join relevant networking groups. Use social tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to expand your network. If you do identify a job opportunity at a particular company, you might improve your chances if you’re able to identify someone you know who works there.

  • Spice up your LinkedIn profile. As an extension of expanding your network, build an excellent online presence.

  • Target companies as opposed to jobs. You join a company, not just a job. Think about work/life balance, the commute and where it’s located. Consider what you offer based on your studies, skills, internships and summer jobs and think about which specific (or types of) companies can use someone with those experiences.

  • Improve your knowledge and credentials of the subject matter. Seek training courses or certifications you can achieve in your area of study that would make you more marketable.

  • Volunteer your time in targeted areas. Volunteering connects you to others and enhances your network. It will also improve your social skills and serve as a pleasant distraction from the job search.

Q: Any words of encouragement?

A: Treat your job search as if it is your job. It can be easy to get emotionally deflated because you can’t get that dream job right after graduation. Don’t be afraid to step back and get some experience that can lead you to the job. Like anything in life, you’ll get out of it what you put into it. Try to organize your day and carve out time to job search when you can. Keep a positive attitude and don’t be afraid to take action.

Thank you to everyone who was willing to connect with me and participate. Students, I hope this was helpful for you and encourages you to be bold and reach for your dreams! There are so many tools in the Career Center to help you but above all, you are your greatest asset. We got this!

Read part 1 of this post, Level Up Your Career.