June 1, 2016

Want to shine? It’s industry-research time.

The Career Development Center (CDC)

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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.

Successful internship or job applicant looks aspirational

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.

Take notes on industry research

2. Use Handshake 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 Handshake 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.)

networking with professional associations can get you inside info

5. Get into the details.

Want to see which companies are hiring people who majored in your area(s) of interest? Of course you do! The CDC has two excellent resources for this kind of research: Buzzfile and Vault.

Looking for more job search resources?

Remember, industry research is just one piece of a strong search strategy. Read up on the big (job search) picture.

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

Already graduated?

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.

Be a thought leader. Learn More

The Career Development Center (CDC) supports students as they explore their interests, refine their paths, find opportunities and prepare for life after college. To advance Mount Holyoke College’s curriculum-to-career experience, The Lynk, the CDC works closely with faculty, alumnae and employers to create and promote opportunities for experiential learning and full-time employment. The CDC offers personal appointments year-round and daily walk-in sessions during the academic year.
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