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The early bird
Kristy Singletary is pictured in her office in downtown Washington, D.C.
Kristy Singletary ’10 certainly didn’t experience the angst many graduates go through upon entering the job market. In fact, Singletary, who graduated with a degree in accounting and marketing, landed a job two months before graduation. She walked the stage at commencement on May 8 and two days later reported for her first day as an accounting technician for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C.
"I would tell seniors don't steer away from government jobs just because it may appear to be boring. Look into it, because there's a lot of stability and growth from within."
One of the keys to her success, Singletary says, is that she targeted government jobs, something many students avoid. She also started her post-graduation job search in March of 2009, more than a year from her expected graduation date.
“I worked in the private sector during school for a company that downsized. Having that insecurity, knowing that you never know if you’re going to have a job the next day was really hard. So I figured I needed something with more stability.”
Singletary previously worked for the government during a 2008 internship with the U.S. Department of Treasury, so she was familiar with the terrain.
“I would tell seniors don’t steer away from government jobs just because it may appear to be boring. Look into it, because there’s a lot of stability and growth from within. There are a lot of jobs being created.”
Singletary’s boss, Teresa Martin, agrees. She says the government is one of the safest job sectors students can enter.
“With the Veterans Administration there is almost no chance of getting laid off since we process veterans’ claims … . We have a backlog right now, more work than we have people to do the work,” says Martin, a support services division chief.
Besides the work, Singletary says the change of pace, moving from Florida to the nation’s capital, has kept her focused.
“Miami is more relaxed. It has a young atmosphere. You have the beach and a [c’est la vie] mentality. But in D.C. it’s very business-oriented. It’s a great place to go if you’re trying to get on track professionally.”
And it was clear from her first day on the job that Singletary was already on track, Martin says.
“She scored the highest out of anyone we interviewed, including people who had already spent years in the workforce. She’s one of those people you don’t have to overly supervise and she’s changed a few things to make the operation better since she’s been here. She really came prepared.”
Sometimes, however, Singletary admits she can be over-prepared.
During the height of her job search, she spent hundreds of dollars on new suits for the dozens of interviews she expected to go on.
And then she landed her job with the VA through a phone interview.
“At least I have something to wear to work now,” she jokes.