Words of Advice from Fellow Alumni

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Survival Tips for 2015 Graduates

Congratulations! All of your hard work has paid off and you’ve graduated! Are you just a bit nervous about what’s ahead of you now that you’ve graduated? Not too long ago, recent SJSU alumni were in the very same place you are now and they want to share a few words of advice with you that they wish they’d heard! Keep checking back for words of wisdom from your fellow alumni: 

  • Edwar '13: "Congrats on finishing!"
  • Jenny '14: "If you aren't sure what career you want now that you have a diploma, talk to people. Ask questions and build up a network. It's okay to pause and take a break to work on things. It will take months or a year but things will work out, so don't give up. The person you think is the least likely to be of help will end up giving the most. There is no handbook explaining the answers to everything. We are all making it up as we go, so don't be afraid to ask questions or admit that you need help. There are more career options out there that you may never have heard of, so don't settle. Explore and try new things and you will find what you love. Your first job may not be your dream job, but you won't be stuck there forever so try it and take notes, nothing is a waste of time. You just learn what you don't like and move forward."
  • Sarah '11: "My advice for MLIS students is to get experience BEFORE getting a Master's. If you don't have experience, you won't get a job, and you will be overqualified for anything that doesn't require experience. I wish someone had told me that. After 4 years, I am looking to finding another career path. It is impossible to get into this profession with just a MLIS and some volunteer work, which is too bad because this is my dream profession, and I would have excelled at it."
  • Tori ’12: "Start getting ready for your job search now. Take full advantage of the SJSU Career website and get your resume and cover letter in order. And practice interviewing!"
  • Amer ’14: "Whatever you do, never give up. Find a way and do it. Nothing is impossible. You will fail, but the most important thing you can do is get back up and keep moving forward. Progress, no matter how small, is still progress. Don't compare yourself with where you thought you would be but instead how far you've come."
  • Yan ’07 "If you don't need to work, don't rush to get a job...travel and see the world. ..If you must have a job, be ready to move around..."
  • Ray ’02: "Always do your best regardless of your expectations."
  • Admir ’13: "One advice I would give is to manage time effectively. It is easy to get overwhelmed and get stressed with school, work, family, and social life. Managing time in advance and planning ahead always helps being prepared. Oh, doing something, meditating, and self-care are also important. Go on a hike, take a trip somewhere, and get that 8-hour sleep :) Hope this helps!"
  • Maor ’13: "Life after graduation day can be confusing. Therefore, there is no need to panic. If it takes a little more than you thought before you get a job offer, keep applying without getting discouraged. Sometimes, the job you are looking for is just around the corner. Make sure everyone you know is aware of the fact that you are looking for a job. That will increase your chances of getting a desirable job incredibly. Last, but not least, take a break first. You just completed four long, stressful, and tiring years, so you deserve a break... You have time to work all lifelong. Congratulations!!!"
  • Saif ’11: "Entering the 'real world' can be very scary but know that you're not alone. Continue learning, expanding your horizons and take risks—You may be broke for a while longer but the rewards outweigh your risk tenfold!"
  • Rita ’11: "Seek out opportunities with smaller companies; you really get to test out how well rounded you are. Give back to the community as a volunteer, micro-lending, etc. Don't take yourself too seriously; at the end of the day, all you have is what you are left with. Please do not ask for a promotion in your first year of work; strive to really understand your role and how you specifically contribute to the success of the company."
  • Johann ’13: "Keep learning. Take some chances. Some fires are worth walking thru for the growth and success they bring. Find value, give value. Always get better at communicating. Be friendly, it's a differentiator, not a weakness."
  • BJ ’08: "Don't stay at your first job more than 2-3 years. Don't get too comfortable (or risk becoming obsolete in a fast-paced job market). Keep learning new stuff or else (see point #2 above). You've learned a lot of skills that are likely useless in their original form, but useful when applied elsewhere--don't forget that. Always uncover and challenge your assumptions--they're usually incomplete or just plain wrong. And finally, take care of your body, your mind, and your family--don't neglect any of them."
  • Ashley ’12: "Don't let not having the perfect job right out of school discourage you. Take what you can get and work hard. I started at Enterprise Rent-A-Car and within 9 months got a different job. Today I make about 75k, 3 years after school. I felt bad about myself because I'd gotten a degree and did internships to prepare for exiting and was making $13 per hour. However, I know now if I never took that position I wouldn't be where I am. I am not a special circumstance, I have no "connections;” I just never gave up. That's all."
  • Phil '10: "If you have a goal now, you need to keep it and keep it for long term. You most likely won't reach it now or anytime soon, but if you keep working toward the goal, you will eventually reach it. Working can be fun, pain, happy, sad, but everyone will go through the same process too. If you are struggling and thinking what to do next, you should keep thinking what you love and go for it, at least make a step toward that!"
  • Kristopher ’10:

"1. Ask more questions in an interview than are asked of you. This allows you to drive the interview and express interest in the open job. 

2. Never ask a company/manager if they are hiring. Instead, ask for an opportunity to work there and the best method to become employed. 

3. Have fun in interviews. Make the person laugh or acknowledge your intelligence. Be lighthearted, but not absent-minded.

4. Have fun and roll with the punches in life. A career is like a bicycle: It doesn't balance unless it is moving forward."

  • Daan ’11: "Keep working toward your goals, the bigger the better. Even if you don't have a clear plan right now, things change overnight, so always be ready to capitalize on it. Also, don't take yourself too seriously, life is too short, remember to have fun."
  • Claudia ’07: "Know that having a degree does not automatically make you smart. Challenge yourself daily. Trials will only make you stronger; do not give up. Incorporate God into your daily plans. Always respect yourself and your beliefs. Do not worry about what others are doing or have going on. This is your journey; therefore, it will be different compared to others. Remember, it’s never too late to reinvent yourself."
  • Auda ’11: "Don’t be afraid to take chances with your career choices. Find a mentor in the place you end up working. Keep up with your learning. Surround yourself with positive and confident people and your life will be filled with opportunities you didn’t expect. Don’t sweat the small stuff. When you are financially comfortable, take the time to travel and explore the world because life is way too short not to!"
  • Felicia ’09: "If your dream is grad school and you can't go right away, don't give up on your dream. While you're working, discover what you really want to do, get focused and then apply. It took longer, but when I went back to school I was more focused and I succeeded. I got it done and you can too!"