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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…



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: OOH: UCS Career Resource Center Non profit careers:

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: – UCS Guide to industries by area: – Career Info Net: id=8&nodeid=8 – Glassdoor: – Company 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. – 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. – 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 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn gid=1926036

Career Exploration for the Job and Internship Search  

How do you learn about careers in which you may be interested? Where do you find information about daily duties, qualifications, salary, and...