Congrats to the grads, now it’s time to work

Published 3:39 pm Saturday, May 20, 2023

By Steve Stricker

The job search process is the hardest work anyone will ever do, especially students. It’s impossible to truly help in these few words. My suggestion to Ole Miss undergrads was to begin that search in their first semester of their junior year.

We did what we could to help all students hone their resume, job search and interview skills, hopefully with the luxury of having a job upon graduation.

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As Director of MBA Career Services, I quickly learned that the undergraduate business class of 120 seniors I taught rarely had a resume. We helped get them one along with teaching job-finding techniques and bringing in employer speakers.

Obtaining a required summer internship was last on the list for first-year MBA’s, so we began fall orientation to assist getting one for them. Second year MBA’s also procrastinated, so getting them a full time job was first that fall.

The result was a glowing letter of commendation from my supervisor to Chancellor Khayat and others, saying I provided 100 percent internships to those who wanted one. And when nationwide placement of second year MBA’s for full time jobs was 20 percent, we had over 60 percent placement – by busting my tail for them.

I’m proud of that, proud of my Ole Miss MBA’s, and I loved my seniors.

Congratulations Ole Miss graduates. Let’s say you did all the right things to obtain a job before you graduated, used all sources available to you, and no luck – you are now living with your parents. Well great, because it allows you to live while you continue the job search, but it also gives you way too much comfort.

You need to be out on your own, panicked to pay your bills, and be willing to take any (any) job. It’s always easier to get a job when you have one, because it allows income and self-esteem, and shows what you’re made of. And you gain experience.

You have not earned the luxury to relax and have fun at this point – get a job first. Go about the job search process methodically, peacefully, with moderation and patience – but do it every day.

Update and review your resume. Employers looking for one candidate out of 100 applicants spend only 60 seconds on your resume and cover letter, and will throw yours out if you have one misspelled word or grammatical error.

Appy, apply, apply. Treat each day as your job search work. Be willing to relocate, to take anything – get over your inflated ego, you need a job.

Focus on six companies you want to work for, where you want to be located, and even if they have no positions open, send your resume and one-page cover letter saying you would be interested in an internship with them and would work for them for free. What? How badly do you want to be employed in your dream job? They would be so impressed that you would be hired and paid in two weeks. I’ve had students do this.

You have to persevere. You made it through getting your degree, do not give up now. Be humble, this is your job now, and above all else – give this to God, his will, let go and see what he wants you to do for him and go to daily Mass!

See you in church, and GOOD LUCK REBEL NATION – you are Ole Miss, Oxford strong!

Steve is an Army Vietnam Vet, Oxford resident, an administrator, teacher, counselor, on Campus, received his Ph.D. in Counseling from Ole Miss and can be reached at