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Expert Advice for Landing a Job

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It’s never too early to get started on your career

Does career-building seem complicated? Stressed about finding a perfect part-time job? Luckily, we’ve got an expert to give you all the career tips and tools you’ll need from your first year to graduation.

Meet Mary Frances Kuper, associate director for career curriculum initiatives at Student Engagement and Career Development (SECD) at the University of Arizona. She oversees career education and brings career development to campus classrooms. Check out her advice for finding jobs, rocking interviews, and building your résumé.


How should students get started with their job search?

They can always pop into LifeLab. LifeLab is in the Bear Down Gym and they can jump in Monday through Friday from 12-5 p.m. or visit online. We’re always happy to help them think through what their job search looks like and connect them to career development support.

One thing we know from our survey of graduating seniors is that students who start their job search six months or more in advance are six times more likely to be employed by the time they graduate.


Do you help students find part-time jobs on campus too? 

Yes! Handshake is our centralized career development platform. All students have it, so once they get that NetID and they’re here at the university, they can start to look at jobs. We do help them find on-campus roles, federal work-study positions, and internships. We start the fall with our student employment fair and that’s our way of helping students connect to different job opportunities.


What resources besides LifeLab should students know about? 

We have a lot of skill-building resources and programs so students can jump in and develop skills that they need in order to be successful. Then, once they get to that process where they're looking for an internship or a job, we have a team of peer coaches they can talk to.

Students can come to anyone on our team for job search support, and things like developing your résumé or your cover letter. We offer mock interviews and we also have a platform called Big Interview where students can practice. 

We can help you also determine your strategy. Using Handshake to connect with employers, going to our career fairs, and then connecting with the employers who are recruiting on campus is a really great strategy versus doing a cold application off of an online job.


What are your tips for writing résumés? 

We have some templates by career cluster on our website. You can see real student résumés from the University of Arizona, copy one as a template, and start to build your own. 

We also offer the Wildcat Career Guide, which has a lot of really important advice and tips. The biggest thing is that you really want to tailor your résumé for the industry that you're interested in. We have a career document dropbox that students can upload their documents to for asynchronous feedback. 


What should students do if they don’t know what career they want?

Not everybody has this immediate clarity of what they want to do. We have a lot of different tools available in our office. For example, we have a tool called ‘What Can I Do With This Major’ that highlights different industries where your skills have value. We encourage students to take assessments to identify their current interests and skills that they bring to the table.


What’s your advice to incoming Wildcats?  

When you're transitioning into college, finding a career can feel so far away. I really encourage students to realize that your career is already starting when you begin college. Little things like getting involved, picking up an on-campus job, volunteering in the community – that's career development. Getting started early can help you make sure you get to explore everything you can do here at the university, and that’s also going to apply to your career. 

For more career resources and information, visit

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