First-Generation Students

Seize Your Superpower

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First-generation students embark on the college journey with unique access to endless possibilities. During this process, it is very normal to encounter new challenges; whether you miss home, yearn to feel “a sense of belonging,” or doubt your abilities, you are not alone. Resources are available to help you achieve your goals.

We believe in the power of first-generation students to transform the world of work. Use this page to launch your career into uncharted territory and move forward with support from Career Services.



Key Campus Resources @ UCSB

Get Hired: First-Generation Students

For complete information on job search strategies, resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn, interviews, and more, review our starter tips to Get Hired in all careers as well as the specialized tips on this page.

Building Your Network

As the first in your family to attend a university, building the foundation for a strong network is essential for your career success. While you are at UCSB, work towards establishing relationships with faculty, staff, and peers through mentorships in both the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and ONDAS Student Center (OSC). Participate in ONDAS activities such as Faculty Mentoring Program: Table Talk, or read more about first-generation faculty members on the UCSB First-Gen Community website.

In all instances, be sure that you Make Targeted Connections through strategic networking.


Navigating Family Expectations

First-generation students often encounter a range of expectations from family members during their job search, including preset benchmarks for salary, industry, occupation, employer, and more. 

To navigate family expectations with greater confidence and clarity, we encourage you to review our Career Exploration page for helpful resources and strategies on gathering concrete information. This type of information can be useful in providing context to better understand how to reach success for your goals, no matter which career path you choose to pursue.


Advocating for Yourself in Interviews

Interviews provide you with an opportunity to talk about your academics and experiences with enthusiasm and confidence. Oftentimes, you may feel tempted to downplay or normalize your achievements because you feel like you are “bragging” too much. While it is normal to feel uneasy about this process, it is important to embrace interviews by allowing yourself the license to advocate for your candidacy. 

Own your experiences and tell your narrative; your words and story can truly be powerful. Rather than minimizing your accomplishments during the interview, reflect on the skills and experiences which you have gained throughout college. Employers cannot understand what you have achieved unless you explain it to them in a succinct, cohesive manner. Allow yourself to use your voice to help employers better understand your qualifications and fit for the job.


Learn More

Check out state and national conferences  (e.g., Stanford Ed Mobilizer, Global MindED) centered around empowering first-generation students on how to become career ready after graduating from college.