“Do I need to be a programmer to get a job?”

Have you ever wondered if you need to study computer science to get a job?
When I was a freshman, I know I did. As Berkeley students, we border Silicon Valley, home to Facebook, Google, Apple, and other technology companies that seem to be on their way to taking over the world, and hiring all our friends along the way. With high starting salaries and much less supply than there is demand, it can be easy to think that all jobs involve computer
science and to really ask yourself “do I need to be a programmer to get a job?”

The short answer is no – there are plenty of jobs that are not CS focused, within technology companies or outside of them. However, I encourage you to flip that question inside out. What if you instead asked yourself “how can I make sure I add the most value to the field I aspire to be
in?” Once you can convey value to a future employer, hiring simply becomes a formality. Switch your view of the job hunt from you trying to gain an uneven deal that benefits you to a fair exchange of value provided for compensation.

Now that we’ve shifted our perspective, let’s focus on the real answer.
To preface, technology has disrupted nearly every industry it has touched. With the evolution of the internet, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation, many of the typical jobs that could previously be done by humans, such as data entry, are being taken over by machines. If you want to continually add value, consider how you imagine the field you aspire to
work in evolving in 5, 10, and even 15 years. Remember that the iPhone, iPad, and wearables mostly did not exist 10 years ago. For some people, computer science does hold the answer. It can make data analysis faster, more accurate, and streamlined, whereas for others it couldn’t matter less.

This simplifies the question to your field in particular. Do you picture computer science relating to your job function in a few years? Ignore any notion that you’ve never coded before or that you might not be able to do it. I’m studying mechanical engineering and business, and definitely plan
on fitting in a computer science class or two before I graduate.

-Andrew Ansell

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Judging a Book by its Cover (Letter)

Image result for judging

Cover Letters – what even are they?? Cover letters are so weird – you literally write a letter to a company about how great you are so that way they can hopefully employ you and give you money. But when you think about it, it’s really no different from the same “letter” we had to write to get into Berkeley. Cover letters are basically personal statements for a company. Each one is personal and made to get into something. That being said, cover letters are different in that they convey why the connection between you and a company makes so much sense. To convey this, there are four “links” that help build the flow to make this connection work.

Link 1 – How did you find out about this position? What attracts you?

  • If it was an info session, a friend, or even scrolling on Handshake, contextualize how you found out about the position. Now what interests you about it? Do you have previous similar experience? Do you have a passion for that field? Did you meet someone from the company that really recommended it you? (Hint – mention that person here)

Link 2 – Why are you qualified?

  • This part is probably the part that will remain most similar throughout your cover letters, unless you’re applying to positions that are super different from each other. Here you will expand on experiences you mention in your resume and focus on the projects you worked on / what skills you gained from those experiences. Use the job description to figure out what skills you should be highlighting! Feel free to use their own language!

Link 3 – Why them? Why you? Why together?

  • This part is more about the company. Why do you want to work for them? What stands out? Why are YOU a good fit for them? How will you benefit the company? How will they benefit you? This part is where you can make it personal – maybe you have something really important tied to this position / field or you’ve always dreamed about working with them or they can help you get closer to your dreams. Regardless, demonstrating that you have passion and an interest in the company is the point of this part.

Link 4 – The End

  • This is the end – pretty standard. Ask for an interview to further discuss your qualifications, talk about the position, etc.

These four links connect together to create a story by you featuring this company / job. Even if the four links don’t work for you, remember that cover letters are personal. Sending out the same cover letter to each position may help you apply to more positions in a shorter amount of time, but it won’t elicit the same amount of responses. Companies know when we send out a general cover letter that just swaps out address information. If you can’t spend an hour writing something for this position, are you that serious? – thoughts recruiters may think of seeing a general, un-personalized cover letter. I know it’s time-consuming – I get it. But like everything else in life, with practice, it’ll get easier. Good luck on your job search and I hope this helped lessen that job stress just a little less. 🙂

Alex Rodriguez

Peer Advisor

Find Your Future, Then Reach Out to Them

 

No matter what your career goal, LinkedIn “Find Alumni” should be your next step in starting a conversation about your future.

 

LinkedIn is a helpful tool in connecting with peers and acquaintances in your current field to endorse you, keep connected and maintain an online resume – but there’s also a way to show your ambition by directly reaching out to the person YOU want to be.

 

If you’ve never tried the “Find Alumni” tool, it’s a great way to search for connections in your potential industry and conduct informational interviews to gather knowledge on positions, advice on getting the job and likely making an important connection. I took advantage of this feature and made a connection with someone who is key in assisting my success for the future. After reaching out and having a very informative conversation, we’ve kept in touch and I now have a genuine mentor in the top company I dream to be employed by.

 

The next steps will show you how this can be a beneficial tool for you to use.

 

  1. Narrow Your Search

The first step in using this tool is to be direct in your keywords. If you have a specific company you strive to work for, type that into the “Search This Set” area. It may not be likely there’s someone with the exact company you’re considering, if this is the case, you can type in a general occupation such as: engineering, journalism, teaching, etc…to broaden your search. There are also options to type in your university and location if you prefer to search under those terms. This will not only search your connections, but secondary connections as well – so there’s a great deal of options.

 

  1. Searching for “The One”

After your list has been narrowed, dig a little deeper to find that one (or more) alumni that has the most in common with what’s parallel to your future. If someone is working at a company that you are most interested in, that’s who you should reach out to for conversation – even if it isn’t the exact job you’re looking to get into. In conversation, this person will most likely have co-workers in the position you’re interested in and connect you for future conversations. It’s also important to reach out to other connections in the industry that do not directly work for a business you have initially looked at – opportunities are endless and a company you haven’t heard of, could very well surprise you.

 

  1. “Link” Up with the Future

Here’s the part most people are timid about – reaching out to a connection. Ambition is always impressive – that paired with your eagerness to learn should be your motivation to get the conversation started. Connecting by messaging the alumni shows your passion for the field and your interest in hearing their story. Set a place and time — then make it happen!

 

  1. We Need to Talk

Once a conversation is set, make sure to have a list of questions with you as you’re speaking with your connection. Starting the conversation should be easy – there’s a reason you connected whether you went to the same school, know the same person or live in the same area. It’s important to be confident and eager (but not overly of either) when asking questions. Express your interests, seek advice, find out their story and how they got to where they are and ask to keep in touch – this is key to creating opportunity for future conversations. Also, be sure to write a thank you (message or email depending if you’ve received contact information) to this person to show that their time was valuable to you.

 

No matter what your industry, the “Find Alumni” tool will be helpful to your future. Getting into an industry is certainly about what you know – but often it’s more about who you know. Take ahold of your future by taking advantage of this tool.

 

Lets make some decisions–The guide to being Undecided

To all my Undecided scholars out there–this post is for you. Whether you’re switching majors every other week or pursuing a major you don’t really care about, don’t worry, we’re all still trying to figure it out. I know it might seem like everyone knows what their next move is, especially being here at Cal, but trust me, it’s all a part of being a college kid.

So if you’re still trying to figure it out, the first thing you should do is this: take a deep breath. I know it seems super stressful every time registration time comes around or when a random friend you met at a club once posts on facebook about another internship, but all you need to do is take a deep breath. You have time. You’ll find your internship and you’ll find your path.

Alright, now that you’ve calmed down a little bit, we can get down to the nitty gritty.

While academic advisors and friends and parents and family and cousins are all valid options to ask for help, going to the Career Center will break it down to a science for you. There are tests you can take and counselors you can talk to at the Career Counseling Library that will show you which jobs you are the most compatible with. Setting up an appointment at the Career Center will get you a 30 minute session with an experienced counselor who will be able to connect you to some very helpful resources.

Among these resources includes Vault, a huge textbook of insider information on different occupations, career fairs happening on campus, handshake, the go to resource for berkeley students, and a whole lot more.

Once you’ve gone to the Career Center, you’ll hopefully feel a lot better, but chances are you’ll still have a lot to figure out on your own. So what’s next?

Linkedin will be your best friend. Get to know it as best as you can because the Cal alumni network is vast and you’re going to want to take advantage of it. Connect with people in the jobs or majors you’re possibly interested in and 9 times out of 10 they’ll be happy to answer a couple questions you have about their path. The Career Center can give you great tips on how to approach that conversation.

The best way to figure it out is by being open. Open to everything. Talk to real people in real jobs and do your research. It’ll take time, but trust me, you’ll figure it out. And if you’re still feeling lost, drop by the Career Center and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have!

Your favorite peer advisor,

James Serrano

Phone Interview Time

 

Image result for person on phone

 

There will come a time when you are asked to do a phone interview. Some of you may have already done it, but it is always tricky on how to best prepare. Today’s post will include some tips and tricks on helping you nail that phone interview:

 

Practice Interviewing

Talking on the phone isn’t as easy as it seems. As with an in-person interview, practice can be helpful. Not only will this help you rehearse answers to common phone interview questions, but it will also help you realize if you have a lot of verbal ticks, fail to enunciate, or speak either too fast or too slow.

For practice, have a friend or family member conduct a mock interview and record it so you can see how you sound over the phone. Once you have a recording, you’ll be able to hear your “ums” and “uhs” and “okays” and then practice reducing them from your conversational speech. Listening to the recording will also help you pinpoint answers that you can improve.

Tips

  • Keep your resume in clear view, on the top of your desk, or tape it to the wall near the phone, so it’s at your fingertips when you need to answer questions.
  • Have a short list of your accomplishments available to review.
  • Have a pen and paper handy for note taking.
  • Be sure to be standing up. Laying down on your bed can bring feelings of laziness.
  • Study ahead of time of what you want to talk about as well as the company
  • Take your time. You aren’t going to be given 5min. You have time, so space out your answers, and don’t verbally spit everything out.
  • Remember to have some questions for the employer. By having questions, it can help express your interest in the position as well as keep the conversation thus having more time for them to get to know you.

 

I hope these tips help you in the long run! Remember that if you ever have questions or even want to practice you can do so at the Career Center!

-Jesus Sanchez

LinkedIn – Make One, Update One, Use One

Spring Semester is winding down, some of us have decided on our summer plans while some of us are still waiting to hear back. You may have come across LinkedIn as a potential source of jobs and wondered how it can help you. It’s just a digital version of your resume, right?

At it’s core, that is true, but it doesn’t paint the full picture. LinkedIn is a digital copy of your resume, but can be so much more. A LinkedIn profile is a way to brand yourself in a more dynamic way than a black and white 8.5×11” sheet of paper will ever be able to. You can upload a professional picture, write articles that the public can see, and there’s no limit to how you describe yourself, though you should try to be concise.

 

However, the real magic of LinkedIn is in recruiting. According to the Career Center, over 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn to evaluate potential applicants. That means that if you’re not on there, you’re discounting yourself from a world of possibilities. Here are three main advantages of using LinkedIn:

  1. Getting recruited:

You might not know it at the time, but LinkedIn is the single best traditional way to get a job. A recruiter can contact you, you can directly apply for a job, and you can reach out to recruiters yourself. Imagine you want to work at X Company. You don’t know anyone there, but you can do a quick LinkedIn search and see that one of your connections works there. Now you’re one step closer to getting in contact with that company.

  1. Searching for Alumni:

A lesser known feature of LinkedIn is the alumni search feature. If you type your university’s name, you will be brought to a page that allows you to sort alumni on LinkedIn based on work location, field, company, and other metrics you might want to use to find alumni in positions you might want to be in a few years from now. It’s a great way to human-ify organizations which can seem like black holes you drop your resume into.

  1. Connecting with Potential Mentors

With over 467 Million professionals on LinkedIn, you might wonder how you can harness this power to help you learn. Something that’s worked for me in the past has been sending connection requests (with short notes about how we are related) to people I aspire to be like. Then, I can ask to set up a coffee chat for an informational interview. This is extremely helpful when you’re exploring different career paths and trying to navigate which you think would be best for you

 

-Andrew Ansell
Peer Advisor

It’s Halftime!

spring break

 

We’re halfway there.  With spring break fast approaching—FINALLY!—it can seem like our time to save the semester is diminishing.  Midterms are lingering, projects are due, that eight-page essay that was weeks away is now due on Friday; it can all seem so overwhelming. How you utilize your time off can be a clear definition of the next month and a half—are you going to let the semester take control of you, or are you going to release your inner golden bear and take control of the semester?  Set aside a day of your break to utilize these tips and the semester is all yours!

 

Make a list of the little things that need to get done (that maybe you’ve been procrastinating) and GET THEM DONE!

Need to update your resume with that new project? Have to send a syllabus to your department to get a class to transfer? Just need to buy a new pencil case so your pencils don’t pull off another unwanted disappearing act?  Whatever it is you’ve been putting off, now is the time to cross them off of your to-do list.  With these incidentals off your plate, you’ll have no distractions to take away from the successful second half of the semester you are about to have.

Print a calendar.  Make a calendar. USE A CALENDAR!

Now that you’ve gotten the distractions out of the way.  Make a schedule that’ll help you be successful as you finish the semester—it’s time to win the game. Start out by listing every exam date and due date you know as of now.  Seeing this visually will give you a better sense of the importance of creating time for your assignments.  Now give yourself some personal due dates.  You may have to finish that history paper due on the 17th on the 6th in order to be successful on your second bio midterm at the end of the month.  Schedule your ideal timeline of studying/working on assignments, and feel free to write in your teacher’s office hours.  Whatever you add to this schedule, be sure to stick to it. Focusing and powering through those designated times are what’s going to get you the grade you want, and after all this hard work, the grade you deserve!

 

Follow through and finish strong—you got this Golden Bears!

 

Jimmy Napoli
Junior Mechanical Engineering Major
Peer Advisor