ON THIS PAGE:
Introduction
Where to Begin
Exploring Your Options
Resources
How a Career Coach Can Help

Introduction

The motivation for going to graduate school can vary between individuals. You may have decided to come to Simmons:

  • For a terminal degree, such as teaching, social work or physical therapy
  • For the love of knowledge on a particular subject matter
  • Because of a general interest in a field anticipating more clarity once in the classroom
  • To prepare for a new career
  • As an alternative to employment.

Career exploration is about gathering quality information as ingredients of good decision-making result in a good fit. If you are unclear about your career it usually means that you just don't have enough information. The more knowledge you have, both about yourself and the opportunities in the world of work, the more focused you become and the better will be your decisions.

Where To Begin

The CEC follows a 5 Step Career Development Model that can serve as a useful guide, now and in the future, in the journey down your career path. It's all about discovering what you love to do and where you can be successful. Before you begin your research and exploration, however, it is important to really know yourself. After all, if you don't know who you are, how can you know what career path is a good fit for you?

Step 1 in the career development process, therefore, is Assessment. Self-assessment is a process that leads you to discover or clarify your "VIPS": Values, Interests, Personality preferences, and Skills. Assessment also helps establish career goals. It plays an important role in career decision-making, and a CEC career coach can help guide you in this process.

Once you know your "VIPS," you are ready for Step 2 in the process, Exploration. It's time to research and explore the multitude of career options that exist even within a career field you have selected. It's natural for students to be aware of only a limited number of professional roles when in fact there might be many more options available to you.

Exploring Your Options

Networking

One of the best ways to start researching potential careers and your potential fit is networking, which is nothing more than initiating conversations with people you know, and with people who they know. Hearing first-hand about others' professional experiences is very helpful in generating or clarifying potential options for you.

Here are some important networking tools at your disposal:

  • Informational Interviews - One of the most effective ways to explore and learn about careers and to develop professional contacts is to talk to people who are already working in the fields you are entering or are curious about. An informational interview is a 20-30 minute meeting that you set up and run with a person who can give you AIR: Advice, Information, and Referrals. It is not, however, about asking for a job!
  • Social Networking - Leveraging all the capabilities of social media allows you to significantly broaden your networking reach and has become a highly beneficial tool in career exploration, job search, and professional development. LinkedIn can be used to locate Simmons alumnae/i in your field of interest, research companies, make connections for informational interviews, and much more. More and more jobs are posted on Twitter. See more in the Simmons Library Career Guide on Social Networking.
  • Alumnet - Join the online directory of Simmons alumnae/i and connect with alumnae/i in your field for information and advice. This is among your best networks as alums are typically predisposed to helping one another.
Additional Approaches
  • Do Internships, Part-time, or Summer Jobs - These work experiences give you the opportunity to try something new, experience a work environment that you are interested in, and possibly spark an interest.
  • Attend Career Fairs - Use these opportunities to speak with employers about various job roles and industries and what you have to offer. Review the CEC guide Prepare for a Career Fair first.
  • Join a Professional Association - Professional meetings and events are good sources for learning about careers and meeting professionals with whom to set up an informational interview. Often associations have special student membership fees. See the Library Career Guide on Professional Organizations.
  • Meet Alumnae/i - Attending campus events with alumnae/i panels, speakers, or networking programs creates opportunities for valuable exchanges and contacts.
  • Volunteer - Whether through the Simmons Scott Ross Center or other volunteer organizations, through volunteering you can meet professionals in roles you are exploring and build your resume - all while contributing to a good cause!
  • Join a Student Organization - Explore opportunities within your graduate school or program for extracurricular activities related to your field. Participating gives you exposure to other students with similar interests with whom you can exchange information.
  • Broadcast your Interest - Tell everyone you know and meet what it is you are exploring and intending to do. You never know who may share a good information source or introduce you to a helpful resource person!

For More Information

How a Career Coach Can Help

If you're exploring career options, working with a career coach can help you to:

  • Understand how the career decision-making process works
  • Assess your interests, strengths, values and personality preferences
  • Learn about different career options
  • Locate appropriate resources for your exploration

Contact the CEC to set up an appointment with a career coach. We're here to help!

Career Toolkit for Graduate Students

The purpose of the Career Toolkit is to assist you in your career planning. Whether you are unsure of your career direction or need help with your job search, you will find the resources you need to begin your preparation.

Find a Job or Internship

Check out CareerLink for full-time jobs and internships, CA$H for on-campus jobs, and the other job boards and resources we've compiled. 

Meet with a Career Coach

Wondering where to start? Let us help. Drop by Tuesday from 3:00-4:30 or Wednesday from 1:30-3:00; or, make an appointment at a time convenient to you.

Next Career Event

Licensed Professionals Job Fair: Vinfen Corp.

Sep 9, 2014 at 3:00pm at 439 South Union Street, Building 2, Lawrence, MA 01843

Vinfen is a leading nonprofit human services organization that transforms lives by building the capacity of individuals, families, organizations and communities to learn, thrive and achieve their goals. We are hosting a job fair exclusively for applicants who are either Licensed Mental Health Counselors or Licensed Social Workers interested in outreach positions in the Merrimack Valley. These positions will be providing outreach services and case management to adult clients who have psychiatric conditions and/or substance addiction. Grab your resume and stop by our job fair for an on-the-spot interview!

Posted in Career Education Center


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