Pacific class of 2020 finds success despite COVID-19 pandemic

Melissa Romero

Melissa Romero '20, an accounting graduate, accepted an associate position with CliftonLarsonAllen after graduation

University of the Pacific's undergraduate class of 2020 has achieved high levels of success despite the disruption of the overall job market due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

In a recent survey of Pacific's class of 2020, 91% of respondents indicated that they are either employed, enrolled in a graduate or professional school, or working in a post-graduation internship. For the alums who reported employment, 87% of them are working in a job that is related to their career goals.

“Pacific alumni have a long tradition of doing truly remarkable things. The class of 2020 is no exception,” said Tom Vecchione, associate vice president and executive director of career development at Pacific. “In fact, this most recent class of alumni, entering one of the most challenging job markets in memory have exceeded expectations across the board."

2020 Outcomes

The numbers for the class of 2020 are consistent with Pacific's class of 2019, which had 91% of respondents indicate that they were either employed, in a graduate or professional school, or in a post-graduation internship, and 93% of those alums reported having a job related to their career goal.

"One of the special things about Pacific is how they want us to find our purpose," said Wajiha Tahir '20. "I received so much support from every person I worked with at the university that I did not feel overwhelmed by the challenges presented from the pandemic."

Following graduation, Tahir moved to San Francisco to begin a job as a financial product analyst for Bloomberg, where she performs market research and analyzes market data, identifying consumer behaviors and trends.

Pacific alumni have a strong history of earning power, according to researchers at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. An analysis of 4,500 U.S. colleges and universities found that Pacific undergraduate alumni ranked in the top 2 percent in career earnings nationally.

In California, Pacific alumni had higher career earnings than alumni from all the University of California schools as well as most of the private colleges and universities, the Georgetown study found.

Melissa Romero '20, an accounting graduate, accepted an associate position with CliftonLarsonAllen after graduation. To prepare for her interview process, she utilized Pacific's Career Services.

"I would advise all Pacific students and alumni looking for jobs to not be afraid to reach out to the Career Services team when you’re preparing for an interview," said Romero. "I would also highly encourage setting time aside for a mock interview as it's a great learning experience."

Pacific works closely with students in order to support their success. Career advising appointments are available to all current students and alumni on topics like resume and cover letter writing, LinkedIn profile updates, graduate school applications and more. Students can also join the Tigers On Pace program, which creates a pathway program for students during all class levels.

“The Career Services staff takes pride in building rapport with students and celebrating their success, whether that is their first job out of college, admission to a graduate program, or other career goal,” said Deb Crane, director of campus career partnerships. “Additionally, students have access to Career Services for life at no cost.”

Each week Career Services hosts events, where students can get advice on job searches and networking. Some of these events are with outside employers who want to hire Pacific students. The career advising staff also give presentations on popular topics like salary negotiation and provide opportunities for students to listen to interviews with employers on a career podcast called Career Convos.

For over 20 years, Career Services has offered students and alumni a way to practice interviewing with real employers in a week-long event. Not only is it an opportunity for students to gain valuable interviewing skills, but it also gives them a chance to get feedback and advice from employers.

“Like their predecessors, the Class of 2021 is strongly encouraged to take advantage of the many offerings by Career Services this spring,” said Vecchione. “This includes planning to attend the Spring Internship & Career Fair. This annual event brings students the opportunity to learn and engage with over 50 diverse organizations.” 

Pacific will be hosting its virtual Career Fair on March 18, where students and alumni can meet with employers interested in hiring them for internships and full-time positions.