OPCD Expert Contributor – Cheryl Hicks, Assistant Director of Career Education and Coaching
Can you see it? The “Final Exam” finish line! Soon you will be kicking back and enjoying the fruits of your fall semester labor. But don’t forget spring semester is approaching and with that comes deadlines for major declarations and internship/job applications. The following tips are a continuation of last week’s post on how to maximize your winter break restoration:
a. For those seeking to explore a specific career field, occupation, or industry, I highly suggest researching the sites Vault and O*Net. Wake Forest has a subscription to Vault, therefore, students should accessing this site through the OPCD portal to create a login profile as a new user.
b. Researching companies will provide information on employers you are considering and contribute to your polished appearance when asked the standard interview question “What do you know about our company?” The Wake Forest ZSR Library website has databases for researching companies that can be as detailed or quick-fact giving as you like. Access these databases through the library site – Mergent Intellect and CareerSearch.
2. Networking. One of your best sources of networking is literally sitting around the dinner table with you. Have a conversation with Uncle Joe, Aunt Phyllis, Cousin Peter, Mom, Dad, and the list goes on of all the endless connections – do not negate the value of those conversations! Tap into those connections as you pass the stuffing, clear the dishes, or watch a traditional sporting event. Over 80% of jobs are not posted online. The power of meeting people, making connections, and opening your network will prove to be your best asset in obtaining a position.
a. LinkedIn is a great resource to connect with alumni and millions of professionals worldwide all in the interest of networking. Use this downtime to create or update your profile and begin making The OPCD created a model profile as an example that can be used as a guide to creating your own profile. Need a professional-looking photo of yourself? Please stop by the OPCD and take advantage of the LinkedIn photo booth – free, quick and easy!
b. Informational interviews and job shadowing are great opportunities during the break to make connections and explore different career paths. Ask your dad, grandmother, or anyone you know who can assist in creating an opportunity for you to receive a first-hand look into your career interest.
3. LAMP List*. Overwhelmed with which companies to begin contacting first? Make a list (“L”) of organizations for which you’d like to work and prioritize them according to alumni (“A”) that work there, your motivation (“M”) to pursue that company, and their priority (“P”) to hire. Having a better idea of where to begin will make starting this commitment less daunting. *The LAMP List concept is an excerpt from The 2-Hour Job Search by Steve Dalton.
Reflecting on the past two weeks of posted tips and resources, consider making a personal commitment to tackle at least two goals with regard to your career development. You will return to school with refreshed momentum in researching opportunities; and a step ahead of related tasks that lay before you. However, you are not alone. The OPCD is here to offer career search tools that transcend long after the holiday season.