As someone who uses lists to focus my thoughts, I use list-making as an approach when working with students and alumni as they explore and develop their career path. This technique provides me the opportunity to assist them in shifting focus from what can be a daunting journey into smaller, manageable tasks.
Major and Career Advising
Deciding on a major or career path provides an excellent opportunity for students to use a matrix to compare and contrast their areas of interests. In this matrix, I recommend they research and compare:
- Read all class descriptions within your major. Identify 3 that interest you and why.
- Read through faculty in your department and identify 2 of interest. Reach out to the faculty and ask to do an informational interview.
- Review laboratory and research facilities to identify areas of interest.
- Contact Student Activities Office and identify 2-3 clubs and organizations that relate to your major or career interests. Join 1-2 and attend events.
Internships and Jobs
- Read job postings to see what catches your interest. Look at the major(s) recommended for jobs, along with skills the employers want in candidates. This can help confirm your selection and plan for the future.
I recommend creating lists of examples and talking points for three major areas of the interview preparation process: job description, resume, and company overview.
- Review every skill and requirement. Come up with an example of how you used or demonstrate the skill. If you do not have an experience that relates, think of a similar experience or how you would go about learning or performing that requirement.
- Highlight verbs, actions, techniques, applications, and phrases in the job description. Come up with stories and examples of a time you demonstrated each. For those you have not had exposure to some of the responsibilities, research and review videos in YouTube to better learn what it is, and then brainstorm how you would share your knowledge and enthusiasm on the interview.
- Make a list of the experiences and skills you have and identify popular interview questions you could use that experience as an answer for, such as teamwork, initiative, creativity, etc.
- Review each social media account and identify a few things of interest to you about the company.
- Review values, mission statements, and the founder/CEO’s vision and identify experiences or affiliations of yours that align.
- Thinking beyond a major for job search keywords is critical in doing a holistic job search.
- Make a list of 10 job titles that interest you to use in your search
- Identify 10 actions, verbs, responsibilities that you want in your job
- List 5-10 skills, laboratory techniques, programming languages, applications, foreign languages, certifications, processes, etc.
- Identify 2-4 functional areas you would be interested in working in along with 2-4 industries of interest
- Make a list of 30 companies that are within each industry of interest to favorite their career site and be searching and applying to positions
- Pick 2-3 regions, cities, states, or countries of interest to work in and make a list of 30 companies within each area to monitor their career sites to apply for positions
- Creating a schedule and lists help students and alumni feel less overwhelmed with networking.
- Identify 3-5 institutions, organizations, affiliations, or interests of yours to search for contacts.
- Use your company, job title, and keyword lists to search for contacts.
I hope these lists are helpful when working with students and alumni with their career preparation and searching processes.
This post is part of our #SACareer series, addressing careers in student affairs, careers outside of student affairs, and the work of career services professionals. Read more about the series in Jake Nelko’s intro post. Each post is a contribution by a member or friend of the Commission for Career Servicesfrom ACPA. Our organization exists to benefit the careers of career services professionals, student affairs professionals, and anyone supporting students in the career endeavors. For more information about how to get involved with the Commission for Career Services or the #SACareer blog series, contact Paige Erhart at email@example.com.