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Career and vocational interests should not be something that you think about during the last semester of your senior year. Defining your career interests and aspirations early in your college experience can help you take advantage of the wide-ranging opportunities offered to you at Wright State. Career Services offers a variety of services for students. Some of these services are specifically designed to help students early in their college experiences as they work to decide on their interests, strengths, and abilities.
Career Interests…where to begin?
- Know Yourself
A good career decision can only be made when you take inventory and become aware of your personal style, identify your interests and skills, and acknowledge your work values. Without these pieces of the puzzle, a career decision is not grounded or based on criteria that matter to you.
What are the occupations and career fields that provide the best blend of your unique style, interests, skills, and values? The goal in this step is to identify possible career options that match your criteria for job satisfaction and those which offer no fit. In this step, books and computer programs can provide knowledge about career fields, so comparisons between occupational characteristics and personal characteristics can be made.
Talk with people in the field, observe them working, or work in the field as an intern, co-op student, part-time, or temporary worker or take classes to learn more about the career. Add the third dimension to your career decision. How is the fit? This may be a time to reposition yourself on the stairway. As possible career choices are eliminated, others may need to be identified, requiring a step back.
- Make a Decision
By investigating possible career choices, you have identified options that meet your selection criteria. Now is the time to evaluate and select career options that best meet the majority of your criteria. Develop a map or plan that will help you reach your career goals. Follow your map.
Preparing a resume may seem like a daunting task. As with most writing assignments however, often times the most difficult part is getting started. To help with this process, begin by listing everything you have ever done, such as all of the duties, special projects and accomplishments for each of job you have held. These can be refined later. Think about how you completed your tasks, what type of special skills were required or any technical expertise that was necessary.
- Keep a copy of this list for future reference. This list can be used to tailor your resume to specific job openings that require different skill sets. Think of this as your resume file. Every time you learn a new skill, attain a goal, or accomplish some feat, add this to your resume file.
- You will to want develop a different resume for each position to which you apply and having this resume file will make this task much easier as you will be able to cut and paste those items that apply to that particular job opening. The job ad or job posting will be your guide as to what skills and experience to highlight on your resume for each opening.
- As you review the list of accomplishments you developed, you will want to begin revising them into short, bullet point statements. Each should begin with a strong action verb and capture the end result.
- Once you have rewritten and converted all of your accomplishments into bullet point statements, you will want to review the job ad or job posting to determine which skills you possess that match the job requirements. Obviously you will want to highlight these skills on your resume.
- Research each company to which you are applying. Organize your resume to match the expectations and requirements of the job opportunity.
- For more information: Career Services: Résumé and Cover Letter Resources
Cover Letter Preparation
- The goal of the cover letter (also known as an application letter) is to secure an interview. Paired with a powerful, professional resume, the cover letter excites the employer's imagination and creates a desire to meet you.
Cover letter necessities
- Excite interest in you as a candidate
- Expand upon your relevant skills and accomplishments
- Highlight ways in which you fit the specifics of the job description
- Support an image of you that is professional, organized, and attentive to detail
Put it together
- Research the organization to which you are applying.
- Include in your letter examples of skills and accomplishments that will be relevant to the organization.
- Computers facilitate neatness in hard copy formats, as well as conveying that you know how to use technology at the basic office level. Computer-generated letters can be easily copied, modified, archived, reprinted or transmitted electronically.
- Clearly state your purpose in the first paragraph. If your letter is a cover letter for an application, refer to the job posting or opening by name and number (if a number is assigned) and include the source of your information about the job opening.
- In the second and third paragraphs, highlight your qualifications for the job, and provide examples of relevant experience and accomplishments. Refer to your enclosed resume.
- In the fourth and last paragraph, invite the contact to call you with questions and, if an application, to set up an interview. Provide phone numbers where you can be reached.
- Lastly, thank the contact for their consideration.
Manage the Interview
- The interview is a two-way conversation in which you and the employer gather information to decide if you are a good fit for the job.
- Communicate one consistent message: I am the best person for the job. Support your message with hard evidence and examples from your past experience.
- Gain confidence and improve your skills with practice, feedback, and self-reflection.
- Rehearse your interview technique with friends, mentors, or the Career Services Mock Interview program available to Wright State University students and alumni who are actively seeking jobs.