Getting ready for graduation

An engineering student networks at job fair

UIC hosts several career fairs throughout the year.


As long as I can remember, I have always worked really hard to get where I want to be. That is, I’ve always set goals and done everything I can to achieve. Most recently, I worked my butt off this past semester to get a 4.0. And while that may not seem hard to you, it certainly can be when you have plenty of other obligations on top of school…which is the case for me. I worked as hard as I could; I stayed up countless nights working on assignments and regretted it the next morning, I attended every class except when I was on my family vacation, and while on said vacation, I spent many days waking up early or staying up late to finish my assignments and stay on track.

By doing all of these things, I’ve never really had to worry. I’ve always just felt that I’ve done my best, and know that I gave all I have to give. From there, things would play out. This is how I assumed my life would sort of always be – I would do all that I can and hope for the best. But now, I feel like my best isn’t even enough.

I’m sure this is a feeling that I share with many of my senior colleagues here at UIC (and at every other university, too). I’ve worked nonstop these four years, working feverishly at multiple internships and leadership organizations, all in hopes of gaining valuable skills that not only help you, but make you a more marketable candidate when applying for jobs. With all of that said, I guess I thought applying for full-time jobs to launch my career wasn’t going to be difficult.


It’s March. The countdown is on – there are less than two months before I turn the page on this chapter of life at UIC, which means it is time to start looking for jobs. Everyone I know is hunting down a job for post-grad (myself included), and I don’t want to say that it’s difficult. I guess, instead, the word is daunting. Looking and applying for jobs is overwhelming and highly time consuming.

In a world so deeply invested in networking and strengthening personal ties, so many of us find ourselves applying for jobs online, trusting our résumé, cover letter and writing samples to speak on our behalf. This absolutely terrifies me…and not because I am not proud of these things I have put together; rather, I am very happy with them. I just wish I was able to speak with a representative from every company I apply to, and I’m sure so many of us feel that way. But unfortunately, that isn’t really the way this works, so we send out our paper (digital, really) versions of ourselves in hopes that our dream job will be intrigued.

So for those of you stressing, day in and day out, having nightmares (I hope that isn’t just me!) about post-UIC days, and just hoping things will work out, know you’re not alone. So many of us are in the same boat, and even though I don’t have that same sense I’ve always carried with me that if I do my absolute best, everything will be alright, I know it will be. Regardless of whether or not the feeling is there, I have hope that I will find a job I love with a company I am passionate about, all due to my hard work, perseverance and experiences.

Beginning to apply for jobs? Unsure of where to even start? Here is a short list of what I’ve done during the job hunt.

  • Sit down and think about where you see yourself in a few months, and if you’re being realistic, don’t settle for anything less.
  • Did you love your internship(s)? If you were a valuable asset to the company, contact your supervisors and let them know you will be graduating. Perhaps they can help!
  • Update your résumé all the time! Or spell check (manually) as much as possible.
  • Along the same lines, construct a cover letter that is informative and specific to the job for which you are applying.
  • Keep a document containing all information regarding your applications, including the company name, date of application, username/password, if required, and other important things to remember. This will keep the search organized.
  • Follow up after a couple of weeks have passed since applying for a job.
  • Expand your horizons! Apply for a job if you want to. Forget about the location.
  • Set aside time to apply for jobs…don’t put it off! The more time that passes, the more stressed out you will become!
  • Don’t forget about your networks.
  • Have faith. Things will be ok!

What do you think? Important things I missed? Tweet them to me @hbrenza!


Holly Brenza (F)


Holly Brenza is a senior majoring in English and minoring in communications and management. In her spare time, Holly enjoys playing with her puppy, Bear, and watching the Blackhawks and White Sox, reading and trying out new recipes. After graduation, she hopes to work in public relations.


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