July 01, 2016
10 Tips for Building Your Career
Scholarship Career Panel
June 22, 2016
- Internships and contract jobs can provide excellent opportunities for securing permanent positions since these short-term positions allow you to demonstrate how you are a good fit with the organization. This is the time to demonstrate your work ethic and show that you are willing to do almost any task to get your foot in the door.
- When you receive an offer, you might not feel as though you are 100% qualified for the job-it’s okay! Many employers hire based on the candidate’s attitude and potential fit with the organization, if they feel the candidate is trainable.
- Be persistent. Follow up regularly and always send a thank you note or email within 24 hours after an interview. A handwritten note is a nice touch and will stand out as unique. Since it takes 2-3 days to receive regular mail, consider writing the thank you note in the lobby or in your car immediately following the interview and then hand the note to the receptionist to give to your interviewer. Always ask for a business card from your interviewer(s) so that you have accurate contact information.
- There are many ways to find a job. Don’t rule out cold calling because there might be opportunities out there that aren’t advertised. Networking should be at the top of your list of job search strategies since over 80% of jobs are secured through networking.
- Find a mentor. Whether you have a connection with your scholarship mentor, a professor or staff member, coach, or a supervisor, maintain that relationship over time so that your mentor stays up to date on your experience and goals. This will allow you to stay top of mind when they hear of opportunities.
- Build relationships with your professors who can support your career development efforts. It can be challenging to have relationships with faculty in a large school; however, seeking out professors during office hours, securing supervised undergraduate research opportunities, and getting involved in faculty-sponsored student clubs are ways to get to know professors outside of the classroom. It can be intimidating to reach out to your professors, but rest assured that they do want to get to know you!
- Build your skill set and your resume through internships. Plan your summers carefully so that you can gain some experience working in organizations and clarifying your academic and career interests.
- Create a LinkedIn profile if you don’t have one yet. Make sure you have a professional photo and use your profile to tell the story of you. Build your network and ask professors and supervisors to write recommendations for your profile. The advanced search function on LinkedIn can be a great networking tool. If you plug in your school name and the company you want to work for, you will identify other alumni who work or have worked at that organization.
- Rejection is a normal part of the job search process. Keep in mind that you were talented enough to earn a college scholarship and remind yourself that you are worthy of securing a good job. Use job rejections as a time for reflection to see how you might improve your resume, cover letter, and interviewing skills or how you might develop skills that would make you more qualified (using tools such as Lynda.com). If it feels appropriate, reach out to the interviewer and ask if you can stay in touch to learn more about their career path and be open to future opportunities.
- Don’t feel pigeon-holed into a linear career path. Your major can set the foundation and provide transferrable skills that apply to a variety of career paths. As our career panelists demonstrated, studying theology and political science can lead to a successful career as a corporate recruiter and studying nursing can lead to a rich career as an executive.