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Starting Your Career After College

Alex Kinsman ’21, our Employer Relations Career Intern, shares his key takeaways from “Starting Your Career After College” episode of the Life Kit podcast.

This was an episode of Life Kit, which is a podcast by NPR that talks to experts to, “Get the best advice out there.” This episode originally ran in 2019 and was updated to talk about some new challenges related to job searching in a pandemic. The podcast presented 6 takeaways that I will cover in this post to help you not just land a job but start a career. 

Takeaway 1: Start early 

  • So many students wait to go into the career center until they are a junior or senior 
  • By this time you may have missed opportunities with earlier deadlines
  • What you do professionally can be completely different than what you studied in college
  • Ask questions like what do you enjoy doing? Wandering map will help with this 

Takeaway 2: Study your own life, observe yourself

  • Dave Evans, one of the authors of Designing Your Life, was interviewed 
  • He mentioned the Good Time Journal as a way to figure out what you want to do 
  • Good Time Journal: jot down what you did throughout the day and annotate your engagement and energy while you were doing the activities, did it give you energy or drain energy? 
    • Jot down everything in your day for about a month 
    • Observe yourself “being you” to gather empirical evidence
    • Purpose is to have a better sense of you 
    • How do you want to spend your time?

Takeaway 3: Research, research, research 

  • Explore what you are into and how you want to spend your time
  • Start with the internet and see what people in your field of interest are doing
  • Develop a “Try Stuff List” 
    • Job shadows, going to presentations and taking classes that interest you
    • Spend time in class to find out about the outside world
    • Example: Dave had to do a big project for an engineering class and was able to make it into planning his summer road trip 

Takeaway 4: Tell your own story 

  • The spin: reframe your experience into the right language that will be understood by the company you want to work for
  • All about transferable skills 
  • What have you done in the past that will benefit the company and yourself in this new role that you are applying for
  • Don’t trivialize your past experience because it was a high school job or perceived as “low skill” there are no unskilled jobs 
  • Craft your resume to suit the job you are applying for 
  • Elevator pitch: proper introduction of yourself in 30 seconds
    • Introduce yourself with your name
    • Talk about your past and current work
    • Talk about your goals for the future 
    • Can lead to a conversation with anyone 

Takeaway 5: Look to the future and hit send

  • Do a ton of informational interviews
  • Who are the people doing interesting things and how can you get there
  • Not asking for money or job just asking them for their story
  • Last question should be, “Who else should I talk to?”
  • Be specific when you ask to talk to them 

Takeaway 6: Study up on business norms 

  • Lots of different workplaces with different rules 
  • Best to proceed with caution 
  • Create a professional email address 
  • Include name in college if they are an alumni of the same school to show the connection 

Listen to the full podcast episode here:

And see all the staff recommended podcasts on our Spotify playlist

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