Skip Navigation

Return to Campus Information ››

HCC Main Campus
10901 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia MD, 21044
Laurel College Center
312 Marshall Avenue, Suite 205
Laurel, MD 20707
Training & Development Solution
Maryland Innovation Center
6751 Columbia Gateway Drive
Columbia MD 21046
Take a Virtual Tour
Take an interactive look at HCC's campus

Dr. David Tirpak of Counseling and Career Services Gives Tips for Recent Graduates

Dave Tirpak

Dr. David Tirpak, associate director of Career Services at Howard Community College, is a licensed psychologist with professional experience in college career and counseling centers. At Howard Community College (HCC), Dr. Tirpak assists students and alumni in career planning to set them on a pathway to success.

We asked Dr. Tirpak to share his top nine tips for recent graduates looking to join the workforce.

  1. Really network. You hear it a lot, but it really is important. For many people, the word “networking” can be intimidating. Start by setting up a LinkedIn account, and begin networking online, and then progress to phone and face-to-face interactions. And keep networking. Stay persistent, patient, and positive.
  2. Conduct informational interviews. An informational interview is one of the most effective and efficient ways to learn more about a particular industry, occupation, or person. You can even use LinkedIn to search people by occupation. An informational interview will allow you to learn about someone’s own career development, how they became who they are today, and also help you stay informed of relevant topics in the industry. It is a good idea to make your last question of an informational interview, “who is someone that you would recommend that I speak to next?"
  3. Find a mentor. This may be easier than you think. A mentoring relationship is a relationship that is focused on the personal and professional growth of a mentee (you). You may be surprised to know how many people are interested in giving back and serving as a potential mentor. Find someone who you admire, and see whether they would be willing to connect with you.
  4. Engage in lifelong learning. Because you earned a degree or certificate, it does not mean that you are done learning. Make learning a continuous part of your life. Remain curious and consider both informal and formal ways to stay engaged, such as taking one of the 500 non-credit classes offered at HCC.
  5. Stay current with your area of study. Join a professional organization, attend a conference, sign up for a webinar, subscribe to a listserv, and/or read a recent article related in your field. Type in your occupation and click the “news” tab after a google search, or watch a video about your career pathway on YouTube.
  6. Participate in ongoing self-assessment and reflection. Reflect on how your interests, skills, or values may have changed as a result of when you began college. Reflect on what has inspired you the most.
  7. Explore occupations. Like you, occupations and industries are also changing. Some occupations are growing faster than average and are expected to have numerous vacancies in the near future. For a list of “bright outlook occupations” – visit:
  8. Take a calculated risk and learn from your mistakes. Ask yourself, “what is something that you can do today that takes you toward the goal of helping you achieve a more satisfying life?” Always keep the perspective that “mistakes” are forms of growth and learning.
  9. Meet with Counseling & Career Services. Staff from Counseling and Career Services are eager to help you with any and all steps listed above. Call us at 443-518-1340, or stop by RCF 302 to schedule an appointment today. As an HCC graduate, you continue to have access to career services after graduation.
Topics: Career Focus
Giving makes a difference! Your support helps students along their pathways to success.