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University Career Center

career search guide relax. everything will be amazing.


career path. For others, you may still be decid-

Once you have made those discoveries, this guide can assist you in gaining the tools needed to complete a job search. It’s designed to take you step-bystep through today’s job search process and

ing which path to choose, or perhaps you’re

contains examples for:

If you’re reading this message, then you’ve decided to undertake the job search process. Some of you

may be well on your way down your chosen

rethinking your career. Wherever you are in the career planning process, this


guide can


- writing online resumes,


- cover letters, - and professional communication.

Finding a summer job, co-op, internship, or full-time position is more than securing employment. It is a


process of discovery, exploration,

commitment and action. This is not a process that can be completed


successfully without careful thought and reflection. However, the time you commit will not go unrewarded.

It also has advice regarding: - finding an internship, practicum or

full-time position, - and interviewing tips.

Remember, we’re here to help you through this journey. Contact our office if you have any questions and take advantage of the many services that we offer exclusively to you, our students and alumni.

Through following this guide and

Best of luck!

utilizing the services offered through the Career

University Career Center Staff

Center you

can discover what you love to do and have a passion for, what energizes and motivates you, and

how to further develop your skills and talents.


career services


what’s my major?


what are my career possibilities?


how do i gain experience while i’m in school?


graduate or professional schools


how do i find a job?


resumes, examples and tips


the job offer -how to say “yes” or “no”


additional resources

Case Western Reserve University Career Center 206 Sears Building Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. P: 216.368.4446 E: W:

Our Services are available to all current students and alumni.

Check our website for more information about our services and to learn about our events:


Career Counseling Appointments

My Career

Come talk with us about your major or career choice. Call 216-368-4446 or email for an appointment.

Houses our premiere online resources including our career management database CWRULink. The resources contain employers, positions, career guides and global resources. My Career is accessible from our website.

Drop-In Hours No appointment necessary, drop by, Monday - Thursday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Self Assessments With help from a career counselor and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or Strong Interest Inventory, this might help you decide on a major or a career.

Mock Interviews A popular service; our counselors tailor the mock interview to fit your scheduled interview.

CWRULink Database of employers who post internships, co-ops and full-time positions for CWRU students. CWRULink is accessible from our homepage through My Career.

Experiential Learning Assistance We can help point you in the right direction and get you started on securing an internship, practicum, co-op or career connection with an alum.

ervices Career Fairs

Our largest events each semester, our career fairs help connect students with recruiters, internships, co-ops and jobs.

Workshops and Employer Panels

Held around campus various times of the year to help you with career preparation. You can also request a workshop for your club or organization at: careers/student/services/

Info Sessions & On-campus Interviews

Employers recruit on campus year-round hosting info sessions and interviews. They interview for positions in our interview suite each semester.

Accenture Career Resource Library

Grab a seat in our library and flip through career focused magazines and national newspapers. Use our computers to search through our online resources in My Career.


Keep your recommendation letters for graduate school all in one place. Interfolio is a web-based credential file management service that you can manage 24/7.

Lillian’s Perspective I arrived at CWRU ripping and roaring to be a chemistry major with the dream of working in the perfume industry. I signed up for all the right science classes and even found a 1-credit hour research class for freshmen. As I explored career options for chemists, I thought that maybe engineering was little more my style. I started my engineering academic core, declared my engineering major, and secured a summer research position in one of the departments. After a summer of doing research, I realized I was very unhappy with my courses and unfulfilled in my work. I dreaded going to class and had no drive to complete my homework. I was drowning in engineering and something needed to change. As I struggled with the decision; should I, or shouldn’t I, switch majors? I remembered an appointment at the Career Center I had during the spring of my first year. I completed the MBTI and Strong Interest Inventory to explore majors and career paths that would suit my personality and interests. The results had pointed slightly toward engineering but truly indicated a very strong interest in administrative and managerial work. Business seemed like an area to explore. Now I am a management major at Weatherhead and all of the dismal feelings I had about school have vanished. It goes to show that everyone receives fulfillment and enjoyment from different things and taking the time to discover your true interests is totally worth it!

What’s the take away? • Don’t limit yourself with your original plans and dreams. People expect you to grow and change. It makes sense that something you have never known could interest you, just might interest you when you explore it. So take lots of different classes and get involved! • Be honest with yourself. If you are not enjoying what you are doing, now is the time to change! The Career Center is there to help you explore new directions. • Don’t be afraid to use the resources available to you. The sole reason for the Career Center is to help you. • Participate in Experiential Learning. It can help you determine your true interests. (If you don’t know what that is, check out the chapter on it!) • Visit the Career Center! Did I mention, that career counseling is their #1 appointment?! Best of Luck! Lillian Zamecnik Career Center Career Peer Class of 2011


my maj


Choosing a major to start you on a career path is a process that requires knowing your interests. Our 4 Phase Career Development Model was designed just for this occassion.



DISCOVER: How Does My Major Relate to a Career Path?

EXPLORE: How Do I Get Experience?

Self-assessment: Your interests, skills, values and personality play an important role in your major and career choice. The Career Center offers both the Myers - Briggs Type Indicator and Strong Interest Inventory to help you identify careerrelated interests, abilities, values and other personality characteristics that might affect career decision-making. Understanding these factors, especially as a first year student, can assist your career development in a number of ways: • Help you select a major and career field that is a good fit for your personality • Increase your awareness of your learning style so you can make the most of your education • Identify your personal strengths and areas for improvement

Career-Related Research: Once you have discovered more about yourself and your interests, you are ready to start exploring and researching career options. The Career Center staff can assist you in your research: • Connect you with CWRU alumni for career related advice • Explore experiential learning opportunities, including internship and practicum opportunities • Read through the First Destination Survey Report to find out the destinations of CWRU graduates • Research occupations and career opportunities through Career Center web-based resource including Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center and Career Insider

FOUR PHAS • Learn about qualities that are important for you in a career based on your personality type


THREE DECIDE & COMMIT: Third Year - I Know My Options, Now What Do I Do? • Send for career materials from professional associations and consider joining one as a student member. • Devote a significant amount of time to seeking a summer job/internship related to your field. Attend both Fall and Spring Career Fairs. • Participate in campus organizations and/or volunteer projects - assume leadership positions. • Develop relationships with advisors and faculty members. Identify individuals who will serve as references for graduate school or employment. • Explore your options and desire to attend graduate or professional school. • If you are interested in medical or law school, contact the pre-law or pre-med advisor before spring about admission processes and testing. Contact Undergraduate Studies: 216.368.2928.

FOUR ACT: Senior Year - I’m Sure of My Goal, Now How Do I Get There? Implement your plan: Job Search • Visit Career Center early for job search assistance. • Use appointments with career counselors, resources in the Career Center, and workshops for help with resumes, correspondence, interviewing and job search strategies. • Make sure your resume has been approved and up loaded to CWRULink • Network with parents, friends, alumni and others. • Contact employers using on-campus recruiting process, job fairs, CWRULink, vacancy listings, Accenture Career Resource Library directories and periodicals. • Consider an informational interview using the Alumni Career Network.

SE CAREER • Begin social networking on line.


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CAREER DEVELOPMENT Your skills, interests, personality, and values play an important role in your career choice. Understanding these factors can assist your career development in a number of ways: • Help you select a career field that is a good fit for your personality make-up. • Increase your awareness of your learning style so you can better benefit from career related education. • Understanding your personality preferences can help you better manage job challenges that inevitably rise during the course of your career. • Knowing your personality will aid you in a job search, both in marketing yourself and in evaluating opportunities that arise.

We offer both the Myers - Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and STRONG Interest Inventory to help you identify career-related interests, abilities, values and other personality characteristics that might affect career decision-making. Make an appointment with a Career Counselor to learn how you can use these tools, call 216.368.4446.

In the meantime, get started with a few brief activities. You can use these on your own to start gaining self-awareness that can help you choose a major, career, or advanced degree program. You can also bring your completed activities to a career counselor to jumpstart a conversation about your future plans.

Interests Activity

Skills Activity

Take some time to think about the following open-ended statements designed to help you identify interests that can inform your career decisions.

Out of the Top 10 Qualities Employers Seek in Job Candidates* Ask yourself: which qualities do I have? Which ones do I need to develop?

• I am curious about: • I ask questions about: • I’m concerned about: • I like to think, read, or talk about: • My favorite classes are:

1. Communication skills 2. Strong work ethic 3. Teamwork skills (works well with others) 4. Motivation/initiative 5. Analytical skills 6. Computer skills 7. Flexibility/adaptability 8. Interpersonal skills 9. Problem-solving skills 10. Technical skills *National Association of Colleges & Employers Job Outlook 2009 Survey

I wanted to be an astronaut. Now, I work in higher education administration. – Kim P.

I started a lawn mowing service in elementary school. Now I have my own small business doing Behavior Therapy with Children with Autism. - Michelle C.

Values Ranking Activity 1. Rank the following 15 values according to their importance to you (1 = most important; 15 = least important).

when I was in the 6th grade I started a magazine called debutante with my best friend - Debbie M.

2. On a separate sheet of paper, describe what it would look like to have each of your 5 values met. VALUES High Earnings Helping Society Challenging Problems Recognition Work-life Balance Adventure Competition Status/Prestige Structure Independence Creativity Exercising Competence Influencing People Location Fast Pace

RANK (1-15)

i toyed with the idea of being a flight attendant, a lawyer, an actress and a pediatrician. then i became a dentist. - Monika N. growing up, i wanted to be on broadway. little did i know i’d be performing for a classroom of middle schoolers everyday as their teacher. - Dana M.

When I was in elementary school I wanted to be a grocery store cashier. I’m now an accountant. - Kyndall E. A close friend from middle school claimed he’d drive a school bus for a living, he’s now a biomedical engineer. - Matt B. I arrived at CWRU ripping and roaring to be a chemistry major with the dream of working in the perfume industry - Lillian Z.

Personal Traits Activity 1. Put a check mark by your 10 strongest personal traits below. 2. Put a second check mark by the 5 traits you would most like to use at work. On a separate sheet of paper, give detailed examples of times when you demonstrated these 5 traits at work, in an internship or elsewhere. PERSONAL TRAITS

When I was growing up, I wanted to build motorcycles, now, I’m an anesthesia resident. –Paul P. when i was 5 yrs old i wanted to be a dancer, i now do commercial real estate. - Lindsey S.

Pretty sure I wanted to be the winner of Star Search growing I'm an account rep for a medical billing company. - Kirsti P.

Independent Team-oriented Precise Imaginative Analytical Organized Open minded Patient Resourceful Results oriented Diplomatic Thorough Efficient Outgoing Articulate

RANK (1-15)




Don’t worry. There’s a career out there for you. The key is to discover what you love to do and have a passion for. Once you discover it, you’ll find it energizes and motivates you.

Find out about jobs, careers, companies and the work culture through informational interviews with people in the field that you are considering. How do you conduct an informational interview? How do you find someone to informational interview with? Is this a form of networking?

Good Questions to Ask Always try to use a relaxed, conversational tone when conducting the interview, especially when doing so by phone. Be sure to make your questions specific to the field you want to enter. Some typical informational interview questions are: • How did you get into this field? • Where did you work before your current employer? • What can I expect a typical career path to be like in this field? • What are some good tips for a job search in this field? • My current major is _____. What other classes/majors would you recommend for someone looking to enter this field? • Are there any activities I can participate in that may help in my job search? • Do you recommend any trade or professional associations that might be of help in developing more contacts? • Would you recommend obtaining an advanced degree? • If so, are there any programs or schools that may be stronger in this field of study? • From the research I've done so far, I've developed a list of companies I am interested in. Can you tell me which you most recommend? • I have a copy of my resume. Could you look at it and let me know what you think? • Can you recommend anyone else with whom I should talk?

ALWAYS follow up immediately with a thank you letter If a resume was not exchanged previously, you can send one along with your thank you letter requesting that they keep you in mind if they hear of anything. Send another letter a month or so later. Let the person know that you followed up on their advice, and inform them of any new developments in your job search.

Find a contact person in the field The first step in this process is to find a professional in the field who would be willing to sit down and talk with you. There are many places for you to look for contact names. The Alumni Career Network is available through the Career Center. You might also consider a local or national association for the field you want to enter and friends or family members in the field. Always keep your eyes open for opportunities to meet people who can be contacts in the future. Include everyone's name, address, phone, title, organization, as well as dates and details of your conversations and correspondence. When you have found employment, notify everyone on your networking list, thanking them again. Remember, you may soon be in a position to help them!

Call or write to request a meeting After you obtain the name and contact information of potential contacts, either call OR email them to request an informational interview. The emphasis is on asking for help or more information about the field, rather than selling yourself and asking them to find you a position.

Request by phone for informational interview

When requesting an informational interview by phone, make sure that you have a general script of what you want to say. For example, one might say, "Hello, my name is Jane Smith, and I'm calling at the suggestion of Joann Jones (or, "I got your name from the AlumNET database at CWRU"). I'm a junior at CWRU and I'm interested in a career in genetic counseling. I'm currently working on learning how I can develop an inside perspective on the job market and I thought you would be a good source of advice if you wouldn’t mind assisting me. Would I be able to set up a convenient time to meet with you, or phone you, for 10-15 minutes during the next two weeks?"

There’s no question about it, you need to network. Gone are the days when you could simply open the newspaper or go to one of the online job sites, and find the perfect job or internship. Now it takes a little more work on your part.

Networking Networking is a relatively new term that goes a long way in helping you to find those opportunities that may not be readily showing themselves. While the term “networking” sounds intimidating, it really shouldn’t be. Think of it as social networking, because essentially that’s what it is. Can you carry on a conversation with someone? Then your nutshell, that is networking. Through the contacts you make, you can let potential employers know you are out there looking, and also find out about jobs or internships that may not be general knowledge.

The old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” really holds true.

how do I begin networking?

1. Talk to family and friends, your professors, grad students, other students, everyone! Let them know what you are looking to do and see if they have any contacts they can put you in touch with.

2. Attend on campus events including employer information sessions, panels, career fairs, work shops, professional networking events, alumni events, Greek Life events, etc. But the key is to actually talk to people you don’t know at these events.

3. Create a Linkedin account,, for online networking. Or join Twitter,, and follow employers and people who are working in your field of interest.

Remember that whatever you post online this may be seen by a prospective employer. Make sure everything you say online is professional and to the highest standards. “Google” yourself just to make sure.

How can the Career Center help you Network? We can assist you through the Alumni Career Network. This is a network of alumni volunteers who are happy to speak with students and alumni and provide informational interviews. No, they can’t get you a job, nor should you expect that they will help you find a job, but they will offer advice and perhaps other contacts to start you on the road to success. To learn more about the Alumni Career Network, contact the Career Center at 216.368.4446 or go to and submit a request.

How do I request a networking meeting? For an email or letter example, check out our website at or take a look at the example included in this guide. When all else fails, reach out and contact the company you are interested in, directly. Contact information is readily available on line or use our resource CareerShift (found in My Career) to search for employer contacts. Send an email, introducing yourself and ask about opportunities or the chance to speak with someone for an informational interview. You’ll be surprised how easy it really is, just give it a shot!

“Remember to treat social media as a professional tool. The way you communicate with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, etc, is not the way that you should communicate with a potential employer. If you don’t want someone to see certain pictures or information about you, don’t put it on your page or make sure your page is set so that only your friends can see your information.” Beth M. - The SCA Center for Conservation Service

SOCIAL NETWORKING Social networking can be an effective part of your job search strategy. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn can help you make connections, find job listings, and prepare for interviews.

Use social networking sites to:

• Gather background information about the recruiters with whom you will be interviewing. Know their interests to make stronger connections in the interview.

• Connect with alumni and gain added insight into their employers. You can ask questions here that you can’t in an interview such as “do you like working there?” and “can you negotiate salary?”

• Create a positive internet presence:

Determine access intentionally. Put your elevator pitch in your bio. Have a link to your online resume. Be consistent on image throughout all your online platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)

Social Networking Rules:

• • • •

Follow the same etiquette you would if communicating by phone and in person. Remember, every contact is creating an impression. Maintain your professionalism every time you communicate with an employer. Send a thank you note anytime someone gives you advice or assistance.

Job Search Internet Checklist Post content on the internet cautiously and periodically check all the information you have (or someone else has about you) online; companies use the internet as a screening tool. Here's a quick list of what you should check: • • • • • •

Email Instant Message Accounts Google and other search engines Blogs Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, and other social networking sites Forum / Bulletin Board Posts

Email / Instant Message Your email address and instant messenger screen name(s) should be professional. Consider using a dedicated email address and screen name that you use just for job searching. Google “Google” yourself to see what information people can find about you online. Make sure that what you find is appropriate for a potential employer to read. Blogs If you have a blog, make sure all content is something you wouldn’t be embarrassed by an employer or colleague reading. Whether you write about your interviews, your current jobs, or your personal life, review all your online information; potential employers can (and will) find it. If you have friends who write about you, check to make sure what they are writing is appropriate. Social Networking Review your profile, pictures, and who is linked from your site and vice versa. Is there anything you wouldn't want a potential employer to see? If you're concerned, make your profile private and be careful what you put on the front page. Anyone may be able to see the information on that page, even if your profile is private.

Career Search Guide Employer Preview  

The document is a preview of the CWRU Career Center Career Search Guide. The complete version will be available in Summer 2011.

Career Search Guide Employer Preview  

The document is a preview of the CWRU Career Center Career Search Guide. The complete version will be available in Summer 2011.