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Career Exploration for the Job and Internship Search Christina Siders, M.A. Career Counselor, UCS


Objectives • To identify what is keeping you from moving forward in the job and internship search. • To address internal roadblocks to decision making. • To address external roadblocks to decision making. • To attain resources and strategies to help you move forward in your search.


Where are you stuck? The source of career indecision can usually be found internally or externally: – Internal: • Lack of knowledge about yourself

– External: • Lack of knowledge about careers • Lack of knowledge about industries


Lack of internal awareness • I’m not sure what I would enjoy doing for the rest of my life. • I’m not sure what values might conflict/agree with my career path. • I haven’t had any work experience from which I can base my judgments. • I have no idea what my skills are and how they could relate to a career.


Assessing Yourself • Formal assessments: – Myers Briggs (MBTI) – Strong Interest Inventory • Informal methods: – Values and Skills card sorts – Individual appointments

You must first know who you are….

Before you can know what to do….


Other self guided assessment activities • Look through 10-15 internship/job postings. Write down what you like and don’t like about the position. • Think through the various environments in which you’ve worked, volunteered, etc. Write down qualities of each. Match these qualities to potential job/internship sites to find a good cultural fit. • What is your dream career? What did you want to be? • Complete the skills assessment posted on this site. Seek careers that align with your skills. • Ask friends and family to name your 3 biggest strengths and weaknesses. Search for jobs/internships accordingly. • Write a job description for your ideal job.


Lack of external knowledge • I feel pressured to know it all right now. • I don’t know where to begin looking. • I’ve only considered one career and now I feel lost. • Everyone else seems to have a 10 year plan… • I don’t know if the employer culture/environment is right for me. • How do I know they’re a good company to work for? • I don’t know what I need to know to make a decision.


If your indecision is external… …then you need to start researching…

Careers

Industries

WHAT you do

WHERE you do it


Researching Careers • Look for… – Job titles and salaries at your level – Preferred skills (content and transferrable)and qualifications – Daily tasks and growth potential

• Use… – – – – –

Wetfeet and Vault: access through UCS website O-net skills search: http://online.onetcenter.org/ OOH: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ UCS Career Resource Center Non profit careers: www.idealist.org


Onet Skills Search


Researching Industries • Look for… – – – – –

Trends and current climate Professional orgs and publications Key players and top employers Geographic hotspots Career paths within the industry

• Use…

– OOH guide to industries: http://www.bls.gov/oco/cg/ – UCS Guide to industries by area: http://www.northwestern.edu/careers/occupations/index.h – Career Info Net: http://www.acinet.org/industry/Default.aspx? id=8&nodeid=8 – Glassdoor: www.glassdoor.com – Company blogs: http://www.accenture.com/Global/Accenture_Blogs


Researching isn’t just about reading. Informational interviews are awesome because… • #1: They help you decide what you like and don’t like. • #2: They give you a realistic preview of a career of interest. • #3: They allow you to expand your network…painlessly. • #4: They provide you with insider info that will wow the employers during an interview. • #5: One out of every 12 informational interviews results in a job offer, compared to 1 out of 200+ resumes.


Who do I talk to? • Ways to gain contacts: – CareerNet: Searchable database of NU alumni that have offered to help current students. https://www.nwuconnection.com – Kellogg Mentors Program: Current Kellogg students that serve as mentors to undergraduates. Come to the UCS Career Information Center, located on the lower level of 620 Lincoln St. to sign up and find a mentor. – Counsel of 100: Women at the top of their field willing to mentor students. http://www.alumni.northwestern.edu/c100 – LinkedIN: • • • • •

NU Alumni group (over 14,000 members) NU Career Services Chicagoland ISEI and Northwestern ISEI (international students) Greek organizations, specialty groups, etc. Company websites


Tips for the informational interview Before the meeting • Define your goals • Have your resume prepared and bring 2-3 copies • Prepare a list of potential questions to ask (should be guided by goals) – Sample questions available in our Career Guide • Dress professionally

During and after the meeting • Give your 30 second “story.” • Guide the flow of conversation by using your goals and questions • Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback • Ask for referrals to other people in the field • Listen and take notes • Ask for a business card • SEND A THANK YOU NOTE within 2 days • Keep them in the loop


Next steps • Make an appointment with a Career Counselor, Internship specialist, or employment specialist. • Talk to at least 4 people about their career paths. • Narrow down the number of industries and careers you’re considering to 2. • Polish your resume and target it toward a specific industry/posting.


And if you’re still stuck… • Maintain perspective: You are NOT the only one. • Recognize that career development is a life-long process and embrace it. • Remember that no career choice is irreversible. • Ask what is right for you right now rather than 10 years from now. • Take it step by step and celebrate the small successes. • Don’t do it all alone. – Talk to family, friends, professors, professionals, and UCS staff!


We’re always here to help! Main Office 620 Lincoln Street 847-491-3700 CareerLab Core Reserve Main Library, 2nd Floor Web www.northwestern.edu/careers Facebook www.facebook.com/northwesternucs Twitter http://twitter.com/northwesternucs LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/groupRegistration? gid=1926036


Career Exploration for the Job and Internship Search