Transitioning from college into full-time employment can leave you feeling lost. For many college seniors and recent graduates, securing that first job is a daunting process. Here are a few simple strategies to get your career off to a great start.
Check with Your Career Center
Start by visiting the career office at your school. This is a great resource that is available to you as a student or recent graduate. Colleges often host career fairs on campus and sponsor alumni networking programs that can be essential for finding your first job.
Revamp Your Resume and Cover Letter
When you find a potential career that interests you, it’s time to start the application process. Avoid generic cover letters. Instead, take the time to write a targeted cover letter that makes the case for how that position matches your interests and skills. Always proofread your documents checking for grammar and spelling errors. You can also develop targeted versions of your resume highlighting the skills, experiences and coursework that relate most to the position for which you are applying.
Prepare for Your Interview
The first impression you make on a potential employer is incredibly important. Before your interview, do some research about the company and the position. Understanding key information about the company you’re interviewing with can help you go into your interview with confidence. Regardless of the work environment, it’s important to dress professionally for an interview while also making you feel comfortable and confident.
There’s no right way to go about beginning a career after college. Some people know exactly what they want to do their entire lives, and others take some trial and error to figure out their perfect career.
Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation is proud to introduce you to three scholars who have all come from different backgrounds, followed different career paths and ultimately ended up beginning careers with Fallen Patriots.
Fallen Patriots scholar Dee Muñiz graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor of Science in Health. She has previously worked with a non-profit organization that supports homeless mothers and children with disabilities. She has a passion for serving others and is proud to now be a Scholarship Administrator with Fallen Patriots.
Specialist Dennis Hauschel served in the Vietnam War and was honorably discharged after sustaining gunshot wounds, which left him 100% disabled at 21 years old. Dennis received numerous medals for his service, including a Bronze Star Medal, Silver Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and Vietnam Service Medal among others. Her father was a great example of humility, kindness, and courage which she uses to strengthen herself every day.
Dee’s family is grateful to Fallen Patriots because, “Fallen Patriots allowed my sisters and I to pursue our dreams fearlessly knowing that we have a family with Fallen Patriots, which was there to help support us through college.” The passing of her father was a difficult time for her family, but ultimately, she knows that it was all part of God’s plan. Dee believes that, “The love shared is a bond that will never be forgotten, and because of his sacrifice I am stronger today than I ever knew I could be.”
Emma Wilkenson graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a minor in Terrorism Studies. Emma has always been passionate about giving back and helping others which helped her decide early on that she wanted to pursue a career in nonprofit work. Her first experience with charity work was at a nonprofit located in Jacksonville, FL called K9s for Warriors. After seeing the overwhelmingly positive influence an organization like K9s for Warriors can have on the lives of former servicemembers Emma became even more passionate about serving others especially within the scope of the military community.
In 2011, Emma lost her father to suicide. Captain Wade Wilkenson was stationed in Norfolk, VA when he took his own life. Emma learned a lot from her father as he always led by example. She remembers him being the hardest working person she’s ever met. The most important thing she learned from him was to put everything you have into what you choose to do, or as her father would say “Just don’t half-ass it, okay?” Emma wasn’t sure exactly what she wanted to do after college but when she got the call from Fallen Patriots that there was a position open she said “Yes!” immediately. Now as a Scholarship Administrator, Emma gets to serve other military children like herself and could not be more honored to do so.
Kylie Owen Willis
Kylie graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Health Education and Promotion. Before that she received her associate degree in Health and Human Performance at Tulsa Community College. After receiving her associate degree, she worked in the fitness industry, as health and wellness has always been a passion of hers. This passion was further developed through her love of basketball which she both played and coached at the high school level. Basketball was always an important part of her life as it was something that her and her dad shared and bonded over.
However, when a Scholarship Administrator position opened at Children of Fallen Patriots Kylie decided it was time to pursue her other lifelong passion of representing and serving Gold Star Children. Now through Fallen Patriots, Kylie gets to advocate for Gold Star children and families everyday while also giving back to an organization that gave her and her sister so much.
Kylie lost her father, Staff Sergeant Kirk Owen, in 2011. Kirk Owen served in the Oklahoma Army National Guard’s 45th Infantry Brigade Combat team where he was a leader in the Scout and Sniper Platoon. SSG Owen was deployed to the Hurricane Katrine relief efforts and served in Iraq. He was on deployment in Afghanistan when he was killed in action by an IED.
Kylie will always remember her dad’s smile which she says, “could light up a room”. He left a lasting legacy of kindness and having a big heart which he passed on to Kylie. The last thing her father told her was to “be good” which she strives to do every day by serving and advocating on the behalf of children like herself and their families through CFP. She will always be grateful to Fallen Patriots for making her father’s dream of her graduating college a reality.