I Have A Business Degree – Where Do I Find My First Career Opportunity??

By Sandi Ohman

An education in business provides a broad knowledge base, which is helpful in transcending across many industries.  However, it can present a challenge – having so many opportunities that you don’t know where to start looking.

To start, here are some questions to consider:

  1. If you have had an internship during your education – did you like it? If so, check out the opportunities at that company or similar companies.
  2. If you didn’t fully enjoy the internship, what parts of the internship did you enjoy?  Try focusing your career search on those aspects.  For instance, you liked the social network & website duties – check into marketing opportunities.
  3. Not having had an internship doesn’t mean you can’t find a career-launching position – it just means you will need to know yourself or do some self-evaluation to figure out where to start.  What do you like to do?  Consider what you liked about other work experiences or the classes you took – what kind of careers include those elements?  This could involve more education specializing in those areas (certificates, graduate degree, another few classes), but that can be a small investment for the work you will do the rest of your life!

Completing your degree at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) doesn’t mean you can only find work in the aviation/aerospace industry.  Your education should have prepared you to experience a shorter learning curve in this industry, but you can definitely cross over to other markets.  ERAU alumni have found their careers leading them into a variety of industries, including the following non-aviation related areas:

Commercial Banking, Consulting, Global Business Environments, Government, Healthcare, Insurance, Military, Sports, Transportation, and Wall Street & Financial Markets

Once you have determined career areas you are interested in pursuing and research the companies in that industry, resume and interview specifics for that industry and start applying.  An internship after college is still an option for many recent graduates.  This is an excellent way to start in a new industry and let the employer evaluate performance before a full-time opportunity is offered.  We hear from employers from non-aviation/aerospace industries that didn’t know about ERAU previously but gave a graduate or student an opportunity and now want to recruit ERAU students/alumni because they are so impressed.  ERAU students and alumni can successfully cross into other industries!

Networking is so beneficial to the career search – before and after you have the job!  LinkedIn is an excellent resource for networking, along with professional organizations for that industry.  Check out the ERAU online Alumni directory eaglesNEST and ERAU alumni and Career Services LinkedIn groups to start the networking process.  There is also a list of aviation/aerospace professional organizations on the Career Services website.  There are just as many organizations for other industries as well.

Ultimately, your first career position might not start in the career/industry you were hoping for, but every experience offers learning opportunities (both personal and professional) and a chance to begin molding your experiences toward the career you are pursuing.  Often we tell students, “you get out of it what you put into it,” and this applies for the career search process and the experiences you obtain along the way.  If you are willing to learn new things, improve skills, grow personally and professionally, and continue pursuing your dreams, the likelihood of obtaining those dreams increase greatly!

Sandi Ohman is the Senior Program Manager in the Career Services Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  She has been with the university for over 9 years and has advised students in most all degree areas while in Career Services.  Sandi brings additional experience having worked in the finance industry for over 6 years in her previous career.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida, and her Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Central Florida. 

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1 Comment

  1. While I didn’t graduate with a business degree, my public relations degree has led me to owning my own business just 3 years out of college. I can relate to the question of “Where do I find my first opportunity?” The best advice I can give is that your first job may not be your dream job, but you have to gain experience and contacts before you can earn that…and you never know where even the grunt work can get you in the long run!

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