How To Become A Career-Seeking Professional In Less Than A Month: Advice From A Cal Transfer

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Six months ago, when I packed my bags and got on a one way plane from Philadelphia to San Francisco, I moved away from everything and everyone I had ever known to continue my education at the highest-ranked public university in the world and pursue my career aspirations.  Transferring to Cal as a junior, however, meant it was time to start looking at internship opportunities.  Not only was I adjusting to the Berkeley academic system, but as a junior transfer, I felt the pressure to seek jobs and internships like a professional very fast.

With this in mind, I made sure I was completely ready to jump into the career and internship seeking world. Making use of the UC Berkeley Career Center was one of the best resources to make this happen, and by making an essential job seeking to-do list, I could not only get myself completely up to speed, I could get myself noticed.

By taking these steps, you’ll be looking like a pro to recruiters in no time!

1.Visit the Career Center’s website

One of the most important things you can do in preparing to transfer to Cal is visit the UC Berkeley Career Center website to get an idea of the types of services that are available to you now that you are a Golden Bear.  Click around and get a feel for the resources that you can utilize to once you arrive on campus.

2. Visit the ACTUAL Career Center

Stopping by the career center in my first week here at Cal was one of the most important things I’ve done—and it should be one of the most important things on your checklist of first week activities!  By visiting the Career Center, I learned about all the events, workshops, internship fairs, career fairs, infosessions, and so much more that the career center offers—all just for being a Cal Bear! Take home a copy of one of the event guides while you’re at it (you’ll thank me later).

3. Make a Calendar

Now that you’ve gotten caught up on all that the career center has to offer, you need to utilize it. Grab yourself a desk calendar for your dorm and use your event guide to pencil in all the workshops and internship fairs that you can.  Being able to see all your events at once will help you plan in advance.

4. Workshop Workshop WORKSHOP!!

I can’t stress how incredibly useful the workshops at the career center are.  From resume and cover letter writing to making a LinkedIn profile—these workshops will have your portfolio looking like you’ve been mastering it for years. Even if you’ve already made some of those things, go to the workshop anyway; they always have new, useful, and valuable information!

5. Make an Advising Appointment

Now that you know when those important career and internship fairs are, go ahead and make an advising appointment on the career center website prior to the events.  Whether you’re unsure of what type of company you want to work for or how to approach a company you’re interested in, your career counselor will give you the advice and push you need.  The best part is, the appointment website automatically matches you with a counselor for your major! By making a list of career-related questions, you can utilize your time with your major-specific Career Counselor.

Last but not least…

6. BE CONFIDENT!!

Now that you’ve made use of all the tools you’ve been offered by UC Berkeley’s Career Center, show them off! Remember, you’ve just gotten accepted into the highest-ranked public university in the world. Show those employers what makes you unique and let your inner Golden Bear shine!

 

Jimmy Napoli
Junior Transfer Mechanical Engineering Major
Peer Advisor

Do’s and Don’ts for Interviews

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When interviewing for a job, sometimes the people you’re up against are going to be just as qualified and just as experienced as you are.

So what’s going to set you apart from the others? The interview.

The scary people sitting two feet across from you are going to analyze how you present yourself in a professional setting.

 


 

Here are a few tips for nailing that interview:

 

dos-and-donts

Do: Firm Handshake

A nice, no nonsense, firm handshake is a great way to make a good first impression on your interviewers. A good handshake tells them you are confident, professional, and prepared!

 

Do: Eye contact

If you have more than one interviewer, just naturally look between both of them. Not looking your interviewer in the eye is just awkward and could be taken as a sign of disrespect.

 

Don’t: Slouch (sit up straight!)

Body language is extremely important in an interview. Again like a handshake, sitting up straight tells your interviewers you are confident and ready to take on anything in your way.

 

Don’t: Mumble (speak up!)

Confidence is key! If they can’t understand you, how are you going to convince them you’re the one for the job?

 

Do: Positive body language

Smile! The interview isn’t just to see if you have the skills and experience; they already know that from your resume. The interview will determine if you are a good fit for the company so be approachable and friendly (but not in a creepy way).

 

Do: Prepare questions (you’re interviewing them too!)

An interview is a two-way street— remember guys, you are also interviewing them! This is your chance to see if you will be happy working at their company. In addition, the questions you ask should show your interest in the company and that you did your research.Show off a bit!

 

Do: Send a Thank you Letter after.

People underestimate the power of the “Thank you” letter/email! This should be sent out within 24 hours of your interview. This is your chance to show your professionalism, and it is a reinforcement of how qualified, passionate, and dedicated you are.

 

 

Good Luck!

LeAnne Chan Peer Advisor 

Why Do I Network?

networking

networking

 

Networking isn’t the most fun thing in the world and can seem daunting at first; but have no fear, a peer advisor is here is to give you some advice on how to make the best out of your networking process!

From a professional standpoint, the reason you network is to gain professional relationships with recruiters and employees so they can potentially assist you in the next step in your career. It sounds scary, but in reality you actually network all the time! You do it with your friends, family, professors etc. You’re always talking to people who could help you achieve a certain goal or give your helpful resources. Networking has already been a part of your life and you’ve already been practicing, so breathe a sigh of relief.

The conversations you have at a career oriented event on campus or any professional event is to help you explore the industries you’re interested in. This is accomplished by talking to employees who are already where you want to be. They are the ones who can give you the full scoop on what it’s really like and put you in touch with other people in the company that they think would be useful to you. If maintained appropriately, they can tell you what they’re looking for in new hires and potentially give you advice on your resume in order to help you stand out.

Networking no-no’s include walking into a networking event expecting a job from someone right then and there. This isn’t the time to ask employees if they want to hire you, it’s to develop a professional relationship. Secondly, do not hand them your resume unless they ask you for one. Thirdly, do not leave their contact information behind and forget to follow up with them. Following up shows them that you’re dedicated to learning more about the company and how you would be a good fit.

Overall, networking is a part of daily life and it’s important because it can expose you to new opportunities and great people that are willing to help you. Now that you have the tools and knowledge, go out there and get those contacts! The Career Center is always here to help when you need it.

 

Angie Mejia
Peer Advisor

How to Ace a Job Interview: 6 Tips for Success

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While job interviewing can sometimes seem like a juggling act, these tips will help you succeed at your next job interview. By investing some time prior to the interview, it will alleviate some of the stressed involved and help you feel more comfortable during the process.

 

  1. Do your homework

Research the company thoroughly to learn as much as you can about the organization’s missions and values as well as its services, customers, and competitors. This will give you a better chance of selling yourself and allow you to demonstrate your understanding of the company’s challenges and needs.

  1. Practice Practice Practice

Taking the time to review commonly asked interview questions will provide you a framework for your responses and prevent you from scrambling for an answer while you’re in the hot seat.

  1. Be on time

Plan to arrive 10-15 minutes prior to your scheduled time. While you should never arrive late, arriving too early should also be avoided, as it will create an awkward situation with your hiring manager. If you’re running ahead of schedule, I suggest walking around the neighborhood or ducking into a nearby coffee shop.

  1. Say cheese!

Don’t underestimate the value of a smile. Not only does it express enthusiasm to your interviewer but it will also help you feel better about yourself.

  1. Turn the tables

Always remember that an interview is a two-way street so in addition to being observant of the atmosphere of the organization, ask your own questions. This is not only a great opportunity for you to learn more about the company and your potential role within that organization but it also reinforces the idea that you are knowledgeable and the ideal candidate. Some questions you could ask include:

  • What kind of training do you offer new employees?
  • How would you describe the culture of this organization?
  • What is the biggest challenge facing this organization right now?
  1. FOLLOW UP!

Don’t forget to send a thank you note within 24 hours of your interview. This is your opportunity to reiterate your interest in the position and briefly mention anything you may have forgotten to address during the interview. Here is a sample of something you could send:

 

Dear Ms. Smith,

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me yesterday about the staff writer position with San Francisco Chronicle.

It was a pleasure meeting with you, and I truly enjoyed learning more about the role and the company. After our conversation, I am confident that my skills and experiences are a great match for this opportunity. I am very enthusiastic about the possibility of joining your team and would greatly appreciate a follow-up as you move forward with the hiring process.

If you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me by email or phone. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you.

Sincerely,

Cal Student

 

Best of luck!

 

Kelly Li
Fourth Year Sociology Major
Peer Advisor

Why Should I Apply for an Internship?

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internships-everywhere-big

Why would I apply for an internship and work for free?

Well…

Here’s why:

1. Internships allow you to explore the field you’re interested in

If you’re lucky, you come into college knowing exactly what you want to do. But if you’re like the rest of us, you are still unsure of which major to choose, let alone what career path to follow! Doing an internship for a career in the field you’re interested in gives you real work experience and allows you to decide whether or not you want to continue pursuing the field.

2. Internships will boost your resume 

Even though you’re a student at the #1 public university in the world, competition for jobs is still pretty intense. Let’s be honest, although leadership positions are great, experience in a real work environment could make you more qualified for the job you’re applying to. Also, how else are you going to apply for those jobs requiring years of experience? Internships, duh! Not only is it easier to get a job with an internship, it’s becoming way harder to get a job without one!

3. Internships often lead to employment

Interning at your dream job is the most effective way of getting your foot in the door. Your employer trains you on company standards and ethics, you become accustomed to their specific work environment, get acquainted with the staff, and attain more knowledge about the company than your peer applying for a job at the same company with no internship experience. Although employment isn’t guaranteed, it definitely increases your chances of getting a job at the place you interned (by 65% according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers).

Those are some reasons why you should apply for an internship, if you’re still not convinced, take a look at page 7 of our Job and Internship Guide for more reasons.

I hope this motivated you to head out to the Early Bird Internship Fair at RSF from 11am-3pm today 10/13/16. If you can’t make it, no worries. You can always search for internships on Handshake!

 

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P.S. not all internships are unpaid– if getting paid for your summer job is what interested you, look for paid internships on Handshake as well.

Good Luck!!

Vanuhi Vartanian
Peer Advisor
Sociology ’17

 

 

How to Write a Cover Letter

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cover-letterWhen you’re asked to write a cover letter, it’s your chance to expand on the experiences and abilities briefly listed on your resume by showing your future employers a little more about your character and convincing them that you’re the best fit for the position.

Your cover letter introduces you, explains your purpose of writing, highlights one or two experiences or skills, and request an opportunity to meet personally with the potential employer.

Because of this, first impressions do count, and you should take your time into making sure that your letter is detailed.

It’s also important to remember that not only does your cover letter tell the employer how skilled you are, it also shows how effective you can communicate.

What to include in a cover letter

 Limit your page to ¾-1 page only. Just like your resume, your cover should not be too lengthy.

 Assess the employers need or skills. If you are going to be talking about experiences for example, go in depth about one or two experiences as well as your reaction to those experiences. If you just list what you did, it won’t be different from a resume where you are just listing as well.

 As much as possible, tailor your letter to each job opportunity. If possible, exhibit knowledge of the company/organization to which you are applying.

 Show some personality. Like I said before, if you start hard selling, or a gimmick, it’ll start sounding like a resume, so to differentiate that, start fast; show interest immediately.

Questions to guide your writing

 Who is my audience?

 What are the objectives and needs of my audience?

 Is the letter my best effort?

 Is the format right?

 Is the letter addressing who the person who is doing the hiring process?

Visit our Job and Internship guide fore additional formatting information.

Good luck!

Jesus Sanchez
Fourth Year Linguistics Major
Peer Advisor

Is there only one way to write a resume?

 

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When it comes to resumes, it can be daunting having to list what you have done during your time here as an undergrad in a coherent manner. On top of that, we can find ourselves wondering how we might make a fully functioning resume. Before I go into detail about how to go about it, I think it’s important to say why we do this. Imagine you’re an employer and you have two resumes in front of you. One is filled wall-to-wall with text and uses four different fonts. It’s also layered with dozens of bolded, italicized and underlined words and phrases. The second resume also offers a lot of information, but you can quickly scan the document, because it makes good use of white space, features clear and consistent section headings and uses bullets to make important items stand out;

Which resume would you look at first?

If you’re like most employers who may have to evaluate hundreds of resumes each week, you’ll proceed directly to the second resume.

Why? Because it’s inviting to your eyes and your attention span, while the first resume is just the opposite. Now that we have that idea let’s begin talking about different types of resumes.

Resumes vary dependent on the field of study, which is important because you might have to emphasize a particular category more than others. Most think of a resume as having to be “chronological,” but for example, when STEM majors need to highlight skill-sets and projects during their time whereas someone in Anthropology would emphasize research and fellowships, one might be better off with a hybrid or project-based resume based on these emphasis areas. Every student’s unique experience will thrive in a particular type of resume, and it is up to you, your experiences, and the nature of the position you are applying for to decide which the best fit is.  Here is what I mean by the Chronological, Hybrid, Project Highlights, and Skills resume. Good luck, and remember that the Career Center is more than welcome to help you out with drop-in hours (with peers like me), 15 minute, and 30 minute appointments.

-Jesus Sanchez (Peer Advisor)