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Still Searching? Have You Tried...?

Its the end of the term, the sun is out (finally!) and everyone is packing up to head off to see friends, start an internship, go to a new career or something. Or maybe not. Maybe schools over and you're still looking for something to do with your time and you feel like you've exhausted every resource out there. But have you?

Here's the first half of my top ten list of things to be using for your job or internship search. One resource often is not enough for a successful search; it often takes a combination of things and a little bit of networking to make your search make you happy.

Throughout all of this, networking is key. I recently had a SI student come to me and tell me that throughout this term, what he had learned was that an ounce of networking was worth one thousand pounds of portfolio and cover letter writing. So true! And it made me laugh, because as important as those formal job search tools are, if you don't follow up on them or get someone to advocate for you, sometimes a great cover letter isn't good enough. So that's numero UNO. If you haven't met with me or Joanna, your faculty, your friends, your parents, the UM Career Center, alumni, and let them know that you are SEARCHING for a JOB and effectively let them know what you want and why you’re good, then you're not networking.

Numero Dos: iTrack. I'm not talking about the jobs in iTrack -- well, at least not just jobs in iTrack. iTrack has so many other functionalities that I don’t think people really use. For example, did you know that you can look at the contact information of over 4000 companies in iTrack? This is a new resource that was recently released, but its true. 4000 companies, organizations, libraries, non-profits, government departments, whatever you want. There's one in there for you. And if the one you're not looking for isn't in there, let me know and we'll do some outreach immediately. You can also look at the Archived Jobs and Employer Information to see what jobs got posted last week, last month, last term, or last year. This is useful because most internships – and a lot of jobs too -- are cyclical and sometimes an organization may have forgotten to post a great internship with us this year that they did last year. So, check that option out too!

Numero Tres (I don't know why I'm counting in Spanish, but I just am!): Listservs. These are my favorites! Not only does reading all these fabulous listservs make me learn about trends in the areas that you are interested in, but there are great discussions and job postings out there. If you aren't on at least one specialization-relevant listserv, you are missing out! You can link to our online resources at http://www.si.umich.edu/careers/online-resources.htm click on your specialization and in the PDF find a list of listservs that you can sign up for. I'm serious -- this is where its at. And don't just read these listservs, ask questions! Join discussions! Ask if anyone is looking for an intern or if they know of any openings. It never hurts to ask. I see students from other schools ask questions all the time (and the occasional UM-SI student).

Numero Quatro: Informational Interviews. If listservs aren't my favorite resource, then informational interviews are. Seriously -- this is a goldmine of job or internship search information! If you don't know what an informational interview is, then you need to study up! What makes informational interviewing so great is that it gives you the answers to the questions you get asked in an interview. There are always those soft-skill questions that you get asked that you don't know what the answer is unless you've been able to ask someone that already works there. Are you a people or process-oriented person? Do you like autonomy or teamwork? What the best type of supervisor for you? The correct answer depends on the organization, department, boss. Its subjective and you can find out what the answer is before you get asked it. And, anytime you do an informational interview, you are pretty much guaranteed an interview if a job opens up in the near future. This is blatant networking – and everyone loves to talk about themselves to take them up on the opportunity.

Numero Cinco: Alumni. We have great alumni here at SI and they'd love to hear from you. You can reach out to alumni via the Student Alumni Network. A few tips for working with alumni. Don't ask for an internship or job. Instead, ask for help! Ask for tips, ideas, suggestions of people to talk to or to learn about what's going in their organization. You need to build a relationship with them before you can ask them for an internship or a job. It takes a little bit of time, so have patience! I often hear from SI students that they emailed the alumni, they got a response -- then what? Then you ask more questions, ask if they'll review your resume, if they have had interns in the past, how they found their internship when they were at SI. Trust me, these people know what you want when you connect with them. But make sure you do something for them -- at least say thank you! There are other UM resources for connecting with UM alumni through the Alumni NetWorks program. “Alumni NetWorks is a career service that offers graduates and current students the opportunity to gain information and networking contacts from one of U-M's most valuable resources, its alumni. Through this program, participants are able to contact alumni mentors who have volunteered to provide career coaching on topics ranging from information about their occupation and how to enter the job market to relocating to a specific city.?

And, don't forget about your undergraduate institution! There are always alumni there that want to hear about what you are doing and would like to help.

Numero Seis through diez are for next time. Questions? -- email me at kkowatch@umich.edu or stop on by. ~Kelly

Posted by kkowatch at April 18, 2008 03:37 PM

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