Many students of St. Paul’s School are currently choosing colleges, majors, and career paths. Many, including underclassmen, have already decided where they want to go to college, what they want to major in, and what they want to do to make a living, and are choosing electives and extracurricular activities based on these decisions.
However, making these decisions that affect the rest of one’s life can be overwhelming for some people because the options seem endless, and many college graduates are shocked to find that there are no job openings in their career fields.
Claire Heap, a local executive search consultant–someone who works for companies who are seeking to fill key positions in their organizations–said healthcare and engineering continue to be popular career fields, locally.
“Healthcare and engineering, since they are popular, prove the most difficult to recruit,” Heap said. She said that this is because good, qualified candidates have many job options.
According to Christine Woodard, one of the college advisers in the Guidance Department at St. Paul’s, Centenary, Tulane, LSU, Nicholls State, and Northwestern State all have good pre-med programs for students who wish to stay in-state and want to go on to medical school. She also noted that the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Southeastern Louisiana University, and Northwestern are in-state schools that have good nursing schools.
Woodard mentioned Springhill and Millsaps for students interested in healthcare that wish to go out of state.
For engineering, Woodard suggests LSU, ULL, Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss, and Auburn as good choices.
Woodard also said that the Biomed and Engineering programs at SPS offer good opportunities for students to see if they are interested in these fields and to be exposed to the material before college.
Though computer related jobs hold four of the top ten jobs in the US News and World Report‘s list of the 100 best jobs, Heap said these jobs, along with a few others, are not prevalent in New Orleans because there are not a lot of large, public companies headquartered in the area.
“Roles like information technology specialists, finance and accounting and human resources, while available, are not as widely advertised [locally], as they tend to hire those primarily at the headquarters, or large divisions,” said Heap.
According to Heap, there are diverse companies hiring across the region in a variety of fields, so any college major would allow one to find a job.
“[Students] should focus on the area that interests them the most, and learn as much as possible about that industry,” said Heap.
She also emphasized that students need to start building their resumes now.
“Activities and grades are important to employers. They look for leadership and involvement, consistency, and enthusiasm. A Student Host shows interest in the school and ‘soft skills’ like interest and empathy; a science fair participant shows focus on a subject matter; and, a student’s drawing displayed at an art fair shows pride in work,” said Heap.