Want to shine? It’s industry-research time.The Career Development Center (CDC)
So here’s a hard truth: no matter which job or internship you are going for—in any field—you are one in a sea of candidates who share a lot in common. You are smart. You have a good school on your resume. Driven and ambitious? Yes and yes.
Also true? You can find ways to shine during the application and interview process.
Industry research can set you apart.
It shows that you:
- know what people in your future career sector are talking and thinking about
- possess a depth of knowledge about your field and the organization that you’re pursuing.
When you can join in what your future coworkers are discussing (or even highlight a fresh perspective or ask an insightful question), an employer is more likely to extend an offer.
How to get started? Here are top five tips from the Career Development Center (CDC).1. Explore industry-related publications and media.
Follow companies of interest and thought leaders within your field. Join relevant groups on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Keep notes on trending topics.
Make it a habit: set a goal to find and read one or two articles related to your interest area(s) each day. This is an easy way to keep current and broaden your understanding.
2. Use LyonNet and other sites to search job postings.
Note what experience employers are looking for. Be sure to fill in any gaps and/or tailor your resume to meet their needs and requirements. Educate yourself on unfamiliar terms, jargon, and acronyms.
Bonus: update your LyonNet profile and create saved searches for your areas of interest while you are there!3. Utilize the Alumnae Association Career Directory.
Search for alumnae who currently work in your field of interest. When you reach out to alumnae, ask about their personal experiences and perspectives about their industry. (This is a much savvier approach than opening with a request for a job or an internship, which you should never do.) You can also network by asking alumnae for other contacts in their field.
The CDC offers more guidance online on informational interviewing.4. Join a professional association.
A student membership is often inexpensive and very valuable. It can give you access to a network of professionals who may be open to interacting with you. Through your membership, you may also become privy to opportunities including job postings, networking events, professional development, and conferences that are not posted elsewhere.
Pro-tip: bring business cards to professional events. (We can print these out for you at the CDC.)
5. Get into the details.
Looking for more job search resources?
Remember, industry research is just one piece of a strong search strategy. Read up on the big (search) picture at www.mtholyoke.edu/cdc/strategy.
For personal advice, make an appointment with the CDC by calling 413-538-2080 at any time of the year. During the academic year, the CDC also offers 15-minute walk-in sessions:
At the CDC: 2:00–4:30 pm, Monday through Friday
At the MEWS: 10:00 am–noon, Thursday and Friday
Alumnae who have graduated within the past five years are encouraged to connect with the CDC Alumnae Engagement Team for personalized professional development support. The team offers in-person, phone, and Skype appointments. Call the CDC at 413-538-2080 to schedule a time.