The Cal Career Fair last week kicked off the Fall 2014 recruiting season with a bang, but as exciting as the job hunting process can be it can also bring out the nerves in us all. Suddenly we are faced with making sure our resumes are in order, our handshakes are firm but not overwhelming, and our smiles are always ready and inviting. It all seems to culminate into one very essential part of the job procuring procedure - networking.
Simply put networking is a way for you to grow and enhance your business and social connections and then hopefully use those connections to further yourself in the professional world as well as help others. However when networking is first brought up in conversations it can seem to be even more stressful and nerve-wracking than a multiple round interview, but it does not have to be! Here are some tips to help you along in your own networking journey:
Make sure you have a plan before you embark on any networking endeavor. Whether you’re going to a career fair or and info-session, do your research! And while you’re doing your research see how your interest and ambitions coincide with what the companies you are researching are doing. This way you can show them how you will be a good fit for their company while also showing off your knowledge.
Networking is something that can seem hard for us all but with a little practice and a good attitude it is something that can have a whole lot of benefit to your professional life.
Blog Written by Patricia Narayan, Political Economy/ EEP ‘15
This Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, the Career Center will hold its first major Career Fair of the year - and personally, I am slightly freaking out! Why? Before I began my job as a Peer Advisor at the Career Center, I knew next to nothing about, and was hesitant to attend, a Career Fair. (Well, unless you count my freshman year as I quickly poked my head in and left soon after...)
But this year, my hesitation vanished. I spoke to my friends and advisors, and conducted my own online research, slowly getting acquainted with Career Center fairs. I learned various tips and tricks about the importance of career fairs and how to maximize the time I spend while attending one. Some things I would have never thought of, and I am happy I get to share this information with my friends here at Cal!
As a new peer advisor at the Career Center, I expressed my main concern to my mother: How do I provide the most support to students planning to attend a career fair? She told me to remember the six P’s she taught me while growing up: Prior, Proper, Planning Prevents a Poor Performance. Then, I realized that knowing those who might attend future fairs also meant I should examine a few frequently asked questions readily answered. Lo and behold, the Career Center has a link for that! Just login to Callisto with your student username and password, go the right hand banner, click 'Career Fairs,' and select 'Cal Career Fair.' Once there, you have access to a list of ALL the companies on their way to Cal! Now, here's your chance to devise a plan and make your best impression! One tip counselors suggest is to visit your favorite company last. In this way, you can get as much practice talking to other recruiters and iron out the wrinkles as you learn to communicate to employers at a career fair. In addition, remember: recruiters are people, too, and the best way to connect with folks is to have a good ol’ fashioned, down-to-earth conversation. If all goes well, the recruiter will be more than happy to look at your resume.
Along with dressing sharply and speaking smoothly, your resume needs to top notch. But how can you get your resume up to par with only two days left until the September Career Fair begins? You guessed it! There's a link for that, too! Simply visit to the Career Center homepage, click 'Internships,' and select 'Resumes and Letter Writing' to start off your journey. After constructing a resume on your own, come to the Career Center and ask a Peer Advisor to review it! We'll even give you some extra tips to boost your potential for success at a Career Fair. If you wish to have further critique, then a 15 minute appointment with a Counselor should do the trick (appointments can be made easy peasy online! 'Career Center Homepage' > 'Counselors' > 'Make an Appoinment.')For further resume help, our FREE Job and Internship Guides (J.I.Gs) do wonders! It has great tips on how to spice up a resume, and even real examples of prime resumes. Feel free to grab one at the Career Center! Not only will you be killing the game with your style and speech, but on paper with your resume as well! Resume building and attending a Career Fair may seem like a daunting, I know. But, it is essential to the college experience, and should not be missed. Take a chance and head on over. As someone once told me, "The worst thing a recruiter can say is no; but if you don’t go, there is no opportunity for a recruiter to say yes." And remember, us Peer Advisors are here at the Career Center, and will be there at the fair, to lend you a hand and provide words of encouragement for the big day. The tips and resources at the Career Center helped me, and I'm certain that they will help you. Please leave comments down below if you have any questions or concerns, or if you have any special tips on how to thrive at a Career Center. Also, let us know if these tips worked for you. Good luck, and we hope to see you soon!
Throughout my first two years of college, I tried to immerse myself in as many organizations and volunteer programs to help me figure my interests and what types of activities I could excel at. This process resulted in a wide spectrum of potential opportunities. By the end of my sophomore year, I was still uncertain of what direction I wanted to take with regards to my post-college career.
Going into junior year, I started looking into internship opportunities more focused in the business sector. I researched the consulting industry and learned about the various types of consulting (ie. strategy versus implementation). From there, I took more initiative and began networking with associates at career fairs and information sessions to learn about these respective companies, the company culture, and the life as a consultant. Fortunately, having had these valuable opportunities to gain insight, I realized that the work-life balance as a consultant would not be a good fit for me at this time. As such, I needed to explore other fields and gain more experience in order to further my career.
Given this knowledge, I became interested in the field of Human Resources. From there, I started to apply for internships that solely focused on HR and Recruiting. Fortunately, after a long and tiring semester, I was able to secure an internship in this industry. My internship not only provided me with the necessary skills to succeed in Human Resources, but I also had the incredible opportunity to work and live abroad. For me, it was killing two birds with one stone.
Blog written by Michelle Tran, Political Economy '14
This is a question every pre-med student will undoubtedly encounter, and it helps to start thinking about the answer to this question early on before you either apply to medical school or before you make a hasty decision about your future profession.
As a fourth year, I have the confidence now to say that I am not pre-med, and I am very happy with my decision. But at some point, every biology-related major at Cal has probably considered the pre-med track, and I am no exception to this statement. I also entered college with hopes of saving lives and making a difference in the world.
I think most people who are currently pre-med or are considering pre-med will agree with me that the field of medicine is initially appealing to them for one of the following reasons:
1. Biology is interesting and an area of academic aptitude
2. There is constant change and learning in the field of biology
3. Medicine can change and save lives, and helping people is a rewarding experience
4. There is a high demand for doctors around the world
5. Physicians have high-paying, stable professions
For me, numbers 2, and 3 on this list were what initially drew me to pursue medicine. However, after much thought and counsel from my faculty advisor, professors, health professionals, and peers, I realized that I could accomplish all of those conditions with a PhD.
At Berkeley we are privileged to have a distinguished mixture of MD, PhD, and MD/PhD professors on our faculty, and they can serve as wonderful resources for any student considering the pre-med track. As I mentioned earlier, it is important to critically reflect on what it is that draws you to medicine in the years before you apply. Consider alternative paths: is it an MD, DO, OD, PharmD, RN, DVM, MS, MPH, or PhD that you truly want to pursue? Each career has its merits! Once you have looked at your options and can afterward say with certainty that only the MD path is right for you, then the answer to why medicine will be much more transparent.
Good luck with finals everyone!
Blog written by Jessica Hsu, Molecular Toxicology '14
You may be looking for an internship or job, but everything you found is in the Bay Area…What if you don’t want to work in the Bay Area? Maybe you want to live in another part of the state? Country? Or world? These were questions I asked myself, a Bay Area native and a junior trying to find an internship for the summer. I decided to take a different path. One that most people don’t realize they have the opportunity to take.
As a peer advisor at the Career Center and also simply as a student, I believe that the Career Center has so much to offer to Cal students and UC alumni. But as a university in the Bay Area it made sense that I was having a hard time finding an internship outside of the state. I went through every single Callisto listing and when I found something I was interested in, I either didn’t meet the qualifications or it was in the Bay Area…I decided to take a different approach. I went through the list of employers that would be at the upcoming Career Fair! You’re probably telling yourself, ‘Yasmine, those recruiters are almost always hiring for the Bay Area.’ Well yeah, I knew that. However, if the recruiters are at the Career Fair, it means that the company is hiring in general! If I liked the internship program or the company’s description, I went to the company’s website and searched for job opportunities in other states or in other parts of the world!
Of the 7 or 8 companies I was interested in, about 5 had established offices with interns outside of California. I spoke to all 5 of these companies at the Career Fair with the interest of working for them but also with the knowledge of the internship programs. My prior research gave me an edge and I stood out to the recruiters because of it. One company agreed to send my resume to New York. Another company told me that I would apply for the Bay Area and then specify that I’d like a different location later. I had options that seemed limited to the Bay Area, but it wasn’t until I took the Career Center resource (Career Fairs) to the next level that I realized my options were not limited at all!
In the end, I decided to stay in my home town, Sunnyvale, CA, doing an internship with Macy’s Inc. Even though I’m staying in the Bay Area, which I love dearly, I learned a great deal about utilizing available resources, doing extra research, and networking to expand my opportunities for my future career.
Blog written by: Yasmine Bensidi, Psychology/MCB ‘15
You need to market yourself in order to impress employers and admission officers. Based on personal experiences, employers and admission officers love it when you create something and grow it. Whether it is a software app, a volunteer group, or a club, creating something that’s yours will tell the employer many things:
1) You’re Passionate – It takes passion, and a lot of it, to create something great. Find out what you are passionate about and just do it. For me, it was creating Collegetic.com, an organization that helps high school students apply to college; I created this because I personally struggled with the college application process. In all of the internship interviews I’ve had last semester, the employers loved talking about Collegetic more than good but already much talked about academics. Why did they enjoy talking about my project so much? Because they saw how passionate I was whenever I talked about it, and that passion infected them. You can exert your passion on other people a watch how it affects them!
2) You’re a Go-getter –Hard workers work hard. When you tell an employer you created something and spent a great deal of time growing it, that tells them you’re a person of action and persistence. If you can show them that you get things done, they will know that you’d get things done working for them, too!
3) You’re Innovative - Having the ability to create ideas isn’t brilliant; it’s the ability to implement these ideas that make people brilliant. Every successful industry thrives on creating and implementing new ideas. When you work on a project, you learn new things, make mistakes, meet new people, make more mistakes, etc., and this process requires a great deal of patience, hard work, and research, things that are directly transferrable to any employer.
As cliché as it sounds, the best way to project your skills and who you are is through projects. Show employers you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, show them that you bring results to the table, and show them how your passion can turn a mere idea into something much, much bigger.
Blog written by Abdull Hamud, Undeclared ‘15
Welcome back from spring break! It is around this time of year that students receive news from employers with job offers. Before your deserved celebration begins, it is important to understand the holistic process of accepting or declining a job offer. Here are some answers to FAQ's about Job Offers.
Company A just sent me a job offer, but I haven’t yet received a result from Company B. Can I accept Company A’s offer just in case?
One thing to avoid during this period is reneging your offers. In the simplest of terms, this means accepting an offer from Company A but then backing out of the offer later. This is not an uncommon situation for many Cal students who are juggling offers from a bundle of employers, but it should be avoided at all costs. It is important to contact a representative from Company B immediately afterward and inquire about the status of your application and clearly explain your situation with Company A. Particularly if you are more interested in working for Company B, explaining your situation and reiterating your interest in that company will do you more good than hastily accepting a job offer.
I just received an offer from Company C, but they have requested me to respond to their offer very soon. Can I get an extension for the deadline to make my formal written acceptance?
Yes. It is in your best interest to be straightforward and honest with your potential future employer. This ties into the last question, if you are waiting for a preferred company’s offer, you should inform both parties about your situation. Some employers will grant you an deadline extension, others will not, but it is a request worth making.
What should I include in my formal acceptance letter?
Your acceptance letter should not only be a written confirmation of your accepting the job offer, but also a written confirmation of elements of the position. You should be sure to include the title of the position, start date, salary, and any other added benefits or negotiated items in this statement.
Once you’ve sent this letter off to your future employer, breathe a sigh a relief and commence celebration!
Congratulations to everyone who has survived the interview process!
Blog written by Jessica Hsu, Molecular Toxicology '14
As interviews are starting to pile up, you might want to start thinking about who you are going to add on your reference sheet. Choose these references wisely because employers will be contacting these people so you want to choose people who can really speak to your working styles. Here are a few tips on how to go about your references before, during, and after the application process:
Brainstorm 3-5 references whom you have worked with in either an academic setting or a professional setting. These people can attest to your working styles the best because they worked closely with you.
Do Not include friends, family and people whom you do not know well as they may not have worked with you professionally or on an academic level.
Compile your reference sheet using the same header you used for your resume and cover letter. This touch will keep all your information uniformed with one another.
Ask those who you have put down to be your reference. You do not want them to be thrown off guard by a surprise phone call or email asking about you and you certainly don’t want someone to give you a reference if they do not want to. Also, ask them what contact information they feel comfortable sharing as a reference as this is personal information that they may not want to share.
Do tell them about the position you are applying for and the company. This will ensure that they do not talk about your working styles generically and they can gear what they say towards the industry you are pursuing. Also, they are able to highlight attributes that complement the job.
Do Not send the references your resume and a job description and expect them to connect the dots. Your references are taking time out of their busy schedule to talk to employers about you so they do not have the time to do the research like you do.
Thank your references! Send them a nice email or card expressing to them how thankful you are that they took the time to talk to employers about you. If you do or do not get the job, you should still thank them because you may want to use them as references in the future.
Do Not assume that if they agreed to being a reference towards one job, they will be okay with being your reference for other jobs.
Do keep your references informed of your application process so they feel more engaged with what you are applying for so they do not feel like their referral of you did not matter. You do not need to tell them all about every little thing about your application process, but you can let them know what your status is and what part of the process you are currently in.
When applying for a new job, you should repeat the steps over to make sure your references are happy and that you get the best referrals as possible. References are often times one of the last steps the employers take before hiring employees so make sure you are picking the best people to do so and that you do so with style. (For more information on how to compile your references, please check out one of the Career Center's Job and Internship Guides for more details!)
Blog written by Jeannel Enriquez, Gender and Women's Studies '14
It’s March! This is the time of the year where most people are searching and applying to jobs whether it is for the summer or full-time. For some, job hunting can be difficult, but it might be more confusing if you don’t understand some of the terminology that employers use in terms of your application. One of the most asked questions about terminology is “What is the difference between a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a Resume?” Although some people misinterpret these two as interchangeable, they are different and can make a significant impact on your application. Here are some of the things you should know between a CV and a Resume:
It is a list or summary of the relevant experiences and education that you have currently or in the past.
It should be about 1 page long in length.
The resume should focus on the highlights of your relevant job experiences.
It can be tailored to the employer/company/school that you are submitting it to.
A CV should be an overview of all the current and past experiences, academic work, and other accomplishments.
It can vary in length – sometimes 2-3 pages long.
The CV terminology may be more commonly used in academia jobs.
Adding details of any published works or rigorous academic projects/classes may aid in showing your academic experience and knowledge.
When an employer or a graduate school asks you for your curriculum vitae, you shouldn’t assume that the CV is equal to a resume. Make sure that you have read the application requirements correctly before applying. Although a CV and resume may be different, both should be proofread and looked over by someone if you are uncertain of the concepts. Make sure that you plan, organize, and format the resume or CV before writing one. Always update your CV and resume as you gain new experiences over time.
Blog written by Angie Yi, MCB '14