The Art of the Job Search
Career Development Office Fridays
Friday has historically been a day off from classes for SOM students, a chance to catch up on assignments or work with classmates on projects. For the Class of 2009, the day is also an opportunity to get ahead on the search for the critical summer internship. Students attend a different seminar each week, focusing on resumé writing, networking, interviewing, and job research.
“We’re trying to enable students to focus earlier and increase the likelihood of success during the internship search process,” said Allyson Moore, director of the SOM Career Development Office. “These are life-long career search skills and strategies that will help them immediately, but also in the long-term.”
CDO Fridays are part of a newly implemented, comprehensive career development curriculum for first-year students that begins almost the moment they arrive on campus. On the second day of orientation, each student participated in a skills assessment, designed to assist students with identifying the skills they currently possess and those they need to strengthen going forward. Subsequent weeks focus on building and critiquing targeted resumés; a career panel where second-year students describe their summer internship experiences; mock interviews; and how to navigate the summer internship application process. The goal is that by the time recruiters come to campus in January, every student will be expertly prepared for their interviews.
“Even though most students have between three and five years of work experience, they often do not have the same amount of experience with conducting an effective job search,” Moore said. “For instance, the ability to tell a story is critical, but not one that comes naturally to many job-seekers. That story should be told through your resumé, during a brief networking interaction, and in a formal job interview. It’s just one skill, but the ability to tell a compelling and logical story is fundamental.”
At one recent session of CDO Fridays, the emphasis was on learning how to identify and research prospective employers. CDO staff members Joanne Van Vlack and Kristin Irish guided students through the various databases available to them through the CDO. One of these databases, called OneSource, provides information on millions of companies around the world. “This is a really great way to look at what’s going on in an industry,” said Irish, the CDO deputy director. “You can spot trends, so that when you go in for interviews, you can have meaningful conversations.”
Digging deeper into the database, Irish explained initiation reports, which take a longer look than most analyst summations. “They take you back to the beginning of a company,” she said. “They give the history, where it looks like the company is going, plus trends. And it’s from a third party, so it’s not just what the company wants people to think.”
The message was clear: The job search is another opportunity for learning.