A head start optimizes post-grad employment

Lisa Davala

Some students line up jobs early on

Steve Camarata has what many college seniors envy most: a job, even before he graduates this December.

As a nursing major, Camarata has spent long hours studying, taking difficult classes and completing required early morning clinicals. But one of the most beneficial aids in starting his career is his externship at Akron City Hospital – where he will work after graduation.

“A year ago, I used to say students should search for their ideal job and wait to accept a position,” said Kelley Stillwagon, Kent State career specialist. “Nowadays, if offered a job, take it. Keep working on résumés while at that job, but you need to take what you can get right now.”

Fortunately for Camarata, he doesn’t have to settle. He works as a student nurse technician on the telemetry (heart conditions) unit at the hospital as part of a 10-week externship. Camarata said the program has enabled him to get real-world experience and also for the hospital to recognize him and his talents.

“Alumni are coming back (to the Career Services Center) more than ever,” Stillwagon said. “Students are competing with these alumni that have lost their jobs but still have years of experience in the field. They (students) need to get as much related experience as possible.

“Even by volunteering, you could be the first person that that agency calls when they are hiring.”

Volunteering and experience may have been a contributing factor for Camarata’s hire. He said he has both volunteered and worked at a nursing home. He also plans to administer the flu vaccine to students at the residence halls during the upcoming flu season.

“KSU did help to get me into Akron City Hospital by going through Summa Health Systems to set up the externship,” Camarata said. “The nursing students have to take these externships to complete the required practicum hours for graduation.”

Even with his externship completed, Camarata will have to wait a year after graduation to return to school for his master’s degree as a certified registered nurse anesthetist. He said the graduate program has a one-year critical care experience requirement.

For others who haven’t been able to get a job lined up before graduation, Stillwagon suggested a visit to the Career Services Center at the Michael Schwartz Center. She said it would be ideal to start seeking a job during freshmen or sophomore year when student schedules are less hectic.

Stillwagon said students usually come in right before graduation, which is too late. The services will still be useful, but to get the most out of the university-provided resource, it’s best to come early to learn the key to interviews and job applications.

Contact alumni affairs reporter Lisa Davala at [email protected].