Bearly Accurate – Common Career Conundrums: “It’s okay to let a professional relationship end badly — I’ll never see that person again!”

“Don’t burn your bridges.” This is one piece of advice my mom told me growing up that has really resonated with me. It is relevant in so many different situations… but what exactly does it mean?

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Everywhere we go, we make connections. These connections are valuable and should be treasured, especially since you never know who you’ll encounter in the future. We meet people everywhere who have the potential to become lifelong friends, study partners, mentors, co-workers, counselors, physicians, bosses, etc. These connections are important and help us expand our networks.

However, relationships are not always easy to maintain and can sometimes turn sour. This is where the “don’t burn your bridges” mentality comes into play. Whatever happens, you should make amends or end relationships on amiable terms. You never know if and how this individual may re-enter your life, whether through mutual friends, as a co-worker, on a date with his/her best friend, or even as your interviewer for a job… you just never know.

This concept is also particularly relevant in professional work environments. So when you are at your internship (or future job) this summer, make sure to maintain a positive relationship with everybody you encounter. For example, your boss may ask others in the office for input when evaluating your overall performance or writing you a letter of recommendation. Make sure that you are a reliable and responsible individual. If a conflict arises, be able to communicate openly and honestly. It is important to handle situations maturely, regardless of where you are working.

Working at the Career Center this past year, I have learned that recruiters from different companies know and talk to one another; after all, they frequently attend the same events. To avoid being labeled as the not-so-stellar intern, complete your responsibilities in a timely manner and be courteous to all you meet in your professional and personal life.

Internships?! Who?! What?! Where?!

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Hi! It’s Angie and I’m here to tell you about that thing on all of our plates: internships. Yeah I know you just did a really deep sigh, but I’m here to give you some tips. If you’re a freshman or a senior starting a new year, get your Callisto on point! It’s the Career Center’s main interface and your source for internships. Of course there are other sources out there, but I can tell you employers are looking specifically for Berkeley students on that website. So, step one is to get your Callisto up and running.

The second step is to figure out the type of internship you want. What kind of people do you want to work with, and what environment (i.e. in an office or somewhere in the mountains where you can grow a beard, we don’t judge) would you feel best in? All of these questions will help you narrow down your search. What you might be interested in might surprise you as well as what is available to you. It’s going to sound cheesy but shoot for the stars with internships! The career you want has many paths for you to get there, so take some risks and have a bit of fun when checking out the internships.

The third step is to get your resume ready, which is what the Career Center is for in case you couldn’t tell by title. Peer advisers, like me, and our staff counselors can help you get your resume looking better than a large pepperoni pizza, or at least pretty close. Come in for drop in’s from 12-4pm Monday through Friday to see a peer advisor, or make an appointment online with a counselor and you’ll be on your way to creating a strong resume.

Lastly, reach out and network! Attend info sessions, career fairs, etc. This may seem like the most frightening thing, but it gets easier once you start. Again, if you need help with anything, visit the Career Center website and come see us in person!

 

Use Your Winter Break Wisely

Hey everyone, this is your fellow peer advisor Jesus Sanchez! We are almost done with the semester, and if you’re like me, you are already thinking of plans over the winter break (sleeping in, hanging out with friends, etc.). In addition to doing these things, I highly encourage you to make use of your free time over the break to advance your career, whether it be working on your resume, cover letter, or searching for jobs and internships.

I am a huge fan of Callisto, the free job/internship database exclusively for Cal students.“But Jesus, there are so many job/internship choices, I don’t know what to choose!” Don’t worry, I got your back. Stop by the Cal Career Center during our drop-in hours (M-F 12-4pm), and we will be able to assist you with how you can advance your career.

So when you’re like this,

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we’ll help you get to this

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Experience, Experience, Experience

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My one and only job in this blog post is to remind you all about what employers care deeply about: experience. I don’t care if you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior, always ask yourself ,“What have I been doing recently?” If your answer is “nothing” or “studying for midterms,” then you need to get yourself together. Of course you want to have a high G.P.A., we all do, and of course GPA is a factor employers look at. However, what’s going to separate you from the sea of people with higher GPAs? You guessed it, EXPERIENCE.

What is experience you ask? It could be anything really. Volunteering, being an active member of a club, interning, externing, working a part-time job, etc. Your experience doesn’t have to directly relate to your dream job; if it does, than all the power to you. When employers look at your experiences, they do check to see if it’s related to the position your applying for to see if you have a background in that area. However, they also look for transferrable skills, which are skills that can be transferred to basically any position (go figure). For example, volunteering at a homeless shelter and working with others to raise 100 pounds of canned food for the needy would show the employer that you’re great working in teams, which could be what they’re looking for when hiring someone for a certain position.

Now for the question of the day: how do I get experience? Luckily, you’re a student at one of the top universities in the world with a vast amount of resources. No matter what year you’re in, I encourage you all to apply for internships through UC Berkeley’s internship database: Callisto. Aside from that, you can volunteer, join clubs, work part-time jobs, do whatever you have to do to get real world experience. Don’t be afraid to stop by the Cal Career Center if you need more guidance. Just remember, it’s never too late to gain valuable real world experience.

Networking for International Students

Heidi Roizen, the most well connected professional in Silicon Valley, said: everything is relationship driven today. As international students, we’ve all experienced, at some point of our college life, getting rejected by a recruiter because of visa-sponsorship issue. We go to career fairs, submit tens even hundreds of resumes online then wait for months to hear back from the automatic online job portal. It is time that we revolutionize our way of getting that dream job/internship: networking.

I know that as soon as you heard networking, you might say: I am not naturally forward. I am not comfortable talking to strangers. I don’t know what to talk about. That’s why I am giving you the following tips to help you get over the fear and get that dream job:

  1. Practice talking to the mirror. As weird as this sounds and looks like, talking to the mirror effectively let you see how you look when you talk to people. Imagine you are having a conversation with the employer and play both roles in front of the mirror. In the end, judge yourself from the employer’s point of view. Are you friendly (do you have smile on your face)? Did you feel the passion for the company? Were you intrigued by the person’s experiences and want to learn more about him/her?
  2. Practice with employers/companies that you are not so interested in. Go to career fairs and information sessions and talk to recruiters and professionals from companies that you don’t want to work for. This way, you can practice talking to strangers and eventually feel relaxed talking to recruiters and professionals.
  3. Follow up with the people you met with. Follow up within 24 hours of meeting someone new and recap on your conversation. Within the email, try to set up an informational meeting with him/her soon and get to know him/her better. Connect with the person on LinkedIn with a personal note instead of a generic invitation. When you see update on the professional’s LinkedIn profile, ask them about it or congratulate them on a promotion. Look up news related to the companies/industries you are interested in and discuss the news with them. Follow up with him/her at least 5 times a semester(information meetings, discuss news, discuss your updates, professionals’ updates, ask questions about the industry, holiday greetings, etc.) This with help you get to know his/her job area and companies better, help you figure out what field you want to go into with your career and makes sure when he/she heard of a job opportunity, you are the first person who comes up in his/her brain.

Only about 15-20 percent of all available jobs are ever publicly advertised in any medium. That means networking is the most effective channel that we can pursue. When in doubt of whether to approach that recruiter/professional, I encourage you to think about what is the worst that can happen: he/she can hear you. Worst comes to worst, you guys had a horrible conversation. So what? There are thousands of other great companies; you may never see this person again in your entire life and most importantly, you will learn about what conversation areas not to cover in your next conversation with a professional. You only need to have one good job offer in the end not 100, 50, not even 10. Look forward to seeing you all talking confidently in the next career event!