Dr. Randall Hansen is the Career Doctor. Discover more about Dr. Hansen read about the purpose of this column and find previous issues of this column at the home page of The Career Doctor.
If you have any career- or job-related questions or comments that Dr. Hansen could provide valuable assistance with please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In This Issue (9/21/01):
- Overcoming the elusive search for internships
- Finding sources for gaining experience while in college
- Best strategy for making a career change
- Taking the journey to discovering the best career path
|Q:|| D.L. Bowman writes: My daughter is a junior at the University of Dayton in Dayton Ohio and she is majoring in biology. She has a strong interest in forensic science and would like to get a summer internship whether it be paid or unpaid. She has had no luck with the local police department even though they have a crime lab here.
Where should she direct her energies to next? She has a 3.5 g.p.a. and is a member of the Beta Biology Honor society and the Golden Key Honor society so she is a hard worker and has a good head on her shoulders. Any input you could give her would be appreciated. Thank you.
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Your daughter sounds like a very good student — and she is wise to be thinking of obtaining some work experience through an internship prior to graduating. Internships are not only invaluable learning experiences where college students can hone their career interests but also one of the key methods for college students to gain ‘real world’ work experience. Tell your daughter not to give up — that she should be able to find several other opportunities using some of the methods I describe below.
So how do you find your ideal internship? It’s a three-step process: determine your internship goals prepare/polish your job search skills and find/track down internship sources.
Since it sounds as though your daughter has done the first two steps let’s jump to the third step. There are multiple sources for college students searching for internships including:
Finally you can find much more depth on all three steps of finding an internship by reading my new article: How to Find Your Ideal Internship.
|Q:||Chuck Bogden writes: I am currently enrolled in college for Information Technology. I am looking for jobs in this field but obviously to no avail. How can I gain experience to get a job in this field or how can I get an employer to go out on a limb to hire me?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Kudos to you Chuck for realizing the importance of gaining practical experience to supplement and enhance your educational learning – as well as to make you more marketable to future employers.
One of the biggest challenges college students face is gaining work experience before they graduate but the good news for you is that your field information technology is still in such demand (especially cheap college labor) that your challenge should be easier than many other college students with different majors.
Where can college students gain the necessary experience? Try these sources:
This information comes from the Quintessential Careers Job Search 101 Tutorial specifically the Gaining Experience section. You can find more detailed information there about each of the above categories as well as many other strategies for best preparing yourself for the job market.
|Q:|| Anonymous writes: Hiya. I am a college graduate (psych major) with experience as an administrative assistant in human resources and sales. I want to become a corporate trainer and organizational development specialist. I know there are graduate degrees offered in this field. What’s concerning me is that all the want ads I’ve read for training positions specify a four year degree and 1-3 years experience in the field.
How do I pursue a job which only requires an undergrad degree but expects candidates to already have the appropriate experience?
Thank you for your help!
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: One of the purposes of graduate study of course is to prepare you for work in a specific area. Thus one of your options is certainly to attend a graduate program to gain the necessary education and expertise in the field. And a graduate degree is especially helpful for a career changer that is making a move from a staff position to a professional position.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook “training specialists plan organize and direct a wide range of training activities. Trainers conduct orientation sessions and arrange on-the-job training for new employees. They help rank-and-file workers maintain and improve their job skills and possibly prepare for jobs requiring greater skill.” Read more here.
Another good source for you may be the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD). According to their Website “ASTD is the world’s premier professional association and leading resource on workplace learning and performance issues.” The ASTD site has a lot of great resource related to corporate training including job and career resources and advice. They also offer a Human Performance Improvement Certificate Program which may be an alternative to a graduate degree.
My best advice – before you make any further decisions — is to not let the job ads dictate your next move. Instead start building a network in the training and OD field. Conduct some informational interviews with professional trainers; contact your alma mater and talk with a management professor who specializes in OD; join a ASTD or some other professional association; attend a conference.
Find more strategies and directions for making a career change in my article The 10-Step Plan to Career Change. Learn more about informational interviews by going to the Quintessential Careers Informational Interviewing Tutorial.
Best of luck.
|Q:||Anonymous writes: I am a 20 year old who had to withdraw from college because of an automobile accident. My therapy/recovery is coming to an end. The free time I’ve had has presented the opportunity to question where I want to go career and college wise. I struggled for a year and a half at a small liberal arts college — my effort was minimal and my grades show it. The accident and long recovery has given me a greater appreciation for what I need to do to be successful. I’ve always been very handy and enjoy taking things apart — I would probably be a great engineer but my lack of math and science skills would make it difficult. Any advice on how to evaluate my strengths/weaknesses and where I might go from here??|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: I find it interesting that there are many people who have experiences that change their lives forever — and often for the good. I certainly hope you are well on the road to recovery and I extend my best wishes to you. But based on your own assessment of your previous college experience this accident sounds like it served as a wake-up call for you’and I wish you the best in moving ahead with your quest.
I talk a lot to my students and clients about finding their work and career passion – and that is what you need to do now. You have already taken a couple of steps in the right direction but there are more steps to take. I’m going to give you a few Web resources but first I have to tell you that this process is tough. It’s going to take some work in matching up your talents skills and interests with one or more potential careers. Be prepared to commit a fair amount of time to the process. This process is a journey and for most people not a short one.
I think a great place to start is my article Choosing a College Major: How to Chart Your Ideal Path. This article takes you through the six steps necessary to make your journey to career self-discovery. It also includes some great resources including other Websites and some useful books.
I also suggest you review some of the other articles we’ve published on Quintessential Careers specifically in our Career Planning Articles section which includes an article on completing a SWOT analysis (where you will complete an analysis of your strengths and weaknesses).