ESS 216: Career Center
This week on The (Not So) Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer we talk with Katie Crawford, a Career Center adviser. She goes over upcoming Spring event offerings from the Career Center, as well as tips if you are still on the job/internship hunt. Make sure you check out the important links below and make sure you are signed up to receive CareerMail in your inbox each week.
- Handshake: all Berkeley students automatically have an account
- CareerMail Newsletter– Opt-in through Handshake: Click on name, click on career interests, click on which CareerMail you would like to sign up for – doesn’t have to be a specific major, you can choose any CareerMail you are interested in.
- Check for Career Center appointments on Handshake. They are only released two weeks in advance.
- Big Interview
- Berkeley Career Network
- Engineering Student Services Newsletter Archive
LAURA VOGT: Hello and welcome to The (Not So) Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer. My name is Laura Vogt, I’m the Communications and Events Manager for Engineering Student Services and I’m doing this series the beginning of the semester on College of Engineering resources for undergraduate students. Now that you’ve been here for one semester as a new student or if you’re even if you’re in your second, third, or fourth year, there might be some resources that you have yet to try or even might not realize that they’re available. And this week we’re talking with Katie Crawford from the Career Center and finding out what resources are available this spring. Katie can you please re-introduce yourself to our podcast listeners.
KATIE CRAWFORD: Sure. My name is Katie Crawford. I am the Assistant Director for Engineering and Physical Sciences in the Cal Career Center. So that means that I manage our team of counselors who are responsible for providing career services to all students in the College of Engineering.
LV: Excellent. Thank you so much for joining us today. I know you’ve done this a couple of times now and it’s always great information for our students.
KC: Yeah excited to be here. Feeling like a seasoned pro.
LV: Let’s start with just kind of an overview of what is the Career Center.
KC: The Career Center is the only place on campus, the only department that is 100 percent dedicated to helping students figure out what they want to do when they graduate. And then we help them step by step, get to that place. So we provide one on one counseling services for students who have questions, from I’m not sure what I’m going to major in or I know what I want to major in but I’m not sure what I can do with that. We help students create a plan and then we help you execute it. So those are the whole gamut of coaching services. Ready made critiques cover letter critiques, interview coaching, just simple job search; one to one we help you create a plan so that you will be successful no matter when you see us. Some students will see us the first day of the freshman year and some students won’t see us until after graduation. That second part is not ideal. That’s why I’m excited to be here today.
LV: And I know throughout the semester we’ve got a lot of Career Center events that you work with Engineering Student Services on and then you also have ones that are just based out of the Career Center. What exciting events do we have coming up that we might want to tell students about?
KC: Yeah, as we speak today, we have our first annual STEM career fair going on. We have our Winter Internship and Job Fair coming up on February 20th starting at noon at the RSS. That is a great opportunity for students to sort of one-stop shop. Make their way to RSS and have the opportunity to see over 100 companies in one day. Now obviously that’s not realistic but many companies that our engineering students are interested in will be at that fair. We have our semi-annual engineering speed resumé critique, so we’ll have employers coming in providing students with resumes critiques here and Garbarini Lounge in the Bechtel Engineering Center. Aside from that, we actually have a whole gamut of events for students that are career focused. And again, we’re the only department that provides only career services for students who are wanting to figure out what they want to do in the future or are focusing on their careers. Students can find all of those events inside Handshake. So you’re probably going to hear me say the word Handshake another six thousand times during this podcast.
LV: What’s the actual website address for a Handshake?
KC: It is berkeley.handshake.com.
LV: Do you have to do anything special to sign up for it as a Berkeley student?
KC: All Berkeley students automatically have a account on Handshake. So we pulled our information from the steward information system. All they have to do is go and log in to Handshake and they’ll be prompted to answer some questions to help Handshake understand their needs better and fill out a profile, kind of like LinkedIn. And once they do that, they’ll have access to all the jobs and internships that any employer who’s seeking a Berkeley student wants to make available to Berkeley students. So at any given time we have over 10,000 jobs and internships available specifically for Berkeley students within that system. It’s also where we house all of our events and workshops and career fairs and students can sign up for those inside Handshake as well.
LV: I know you also have CareerMail that you send out but people have to sign up for it.
KC: I’m so glad you asked. Yes. So my name regularly pops up in engineering students inboxes. I like to apologize for spamming but it’s not spam. It’s all career related information that we find important. So I send a weekly newsletter from the Career Center. It’s called CareerMail and it’s all events, workshops, panels, and career related opportunities that happen both at the Career Center and around campus and even off campus. I curate that newsletter, send it once a week and students have to opt into it, it’s not automatically sent to engineering students. They can go into Handshake, click on their name, click on career interests and right there, they’ll be able to answer a question that asks what CareerMail they would they would like to sign up for. There’s something like twelve different options based on the industries that students are interested in so they can sign up for the engineering career mail. They can also sign up for things like the social impact career mail or the business related career mail. You don’t have to be a specific major to sign up for those but they’re just meant to help sort of curate a list of opportunities for students because we know on Berkeley’s campus, at any given time, there are hundreds of opportunities for students to take advantage of and it can be overwhelming. So we try to curate ones that are just specifically for engineering interested students.
LV: I’ll put those directions onto our welcomengineer.berkeley.edu podcast site. It will be easy to find. I know we’ve got a lot of students that are getting ready to graduate this semester. Do you have any tips for what those graduate students could do if they’re still looking for a dream job?
KC: Yes absolutely! Like I said, I meet with students one-on-one in addition to planning and facilitating all of the career related events for engineering students. So I meet with students all the time every single day who are graduating in May and are still job searching. So first of all take advantage of the Career Centers resources if you haven’t already. I met a student at an event two days ago who fully admitted he didn’t even know there was a Career Center on campus. He was a freshman, that’s fine, but now he knows. So take advantage of the Career Center resources step one definitely make sure you’re taking advantage of all the resources within Handshake meet with a career counselor if you can. There are many ways to make an appointment with a career counselor and if you’re not able to make an appointment, if there are no appointments available because there there’s only one of me right now. My best advice is to check back early and often on Handshake. We only put appointments out two weeks in advance. They populate throughout the week and I release most of them at 9 a.m. so you can check appointments at 9:00 a.m. Monday through Friday and hopefully snag one that we do have. A couple new resources that are available through the Career Center which I find really exciting especially for engineering students. One is called Big Interview and all of these resources can be found on the Career Center’s website and I’m happy to give them to you if you want to put them on the site as well. Big Interview is a brand new resource for students who are interested in learning more about how to interview. There’s a resume curriculum, a cover letter video curriculum and it actually allows students to do mock interviews, so they can interview online virtually. The questions are curated based on industry and job and then they can either play them back for themselves or they can send it to their advisors or to anyone who wants to give them some feedback. It’s a pretty cool resource and it’s brand spanking new. So we’re pretty excited to be launching that. And then the other piece of advice to graduating seniors is don’t rely on just submitting your resume online.
LV: Is there something specific they should be doing rather than just a submitting a resume?
KC: Yes. So you know it’s 2019. Gone are the days when you can just create a resume a press submit and cross your fingers and hope for the best. And that is because applying online has gotten really easy. So the recruiters we work with are encountering this issue. Two days ago a recruiter at Data Bricks told me that at any given time there are over a thousand resumes on her desk And by on her desk I mean her virtual desk.
LV: But how do you sort through those?
KC: Exactly, the problem is you don’t. They rely on an applicant tracking system which is like an A.I. that does its best to pass through resumés and find keywords and phrases to guess how qualified a student is. That’s why tailoring a resume to the position description is absolutely 100% crucial. But then once that applicant tracking system has filtered in the best candidates then a recruiter will look at that resume for maybe 10 to 20 seconds. So because of that a lot of resumes could fall through the cracks. What we are encouraging students to do, is do things like take advantage of face time at a career fair and take advantage of info sessions that are happening on campus. Any opportunity that you have to get in front of a human and let that human know you and market yourself about what makes you special and unique. What your skill set is and then follow up with that person and what will happen is that recruiter or that alumni that you’re working with can help the referral process, so that you can sort of move up the pack of resumes and not fall through the cracks. So it’s the networking, where I hate the word networking, I know it’s got a lot of weird connotations with it but we really encourage students to start making connections now through those events on campus as well as LinkedIn and Handshake now has a networking feature and we now have the Berklee Career Network which is a brand new alumni student networking platform.
LV: Would you suggest to the student to try to find a mentor in the specific industry that they’re interested in? Do you think that would help at all?
KC: Laura you’re asking all the right questions. Yes. So if the question is about mentorship that’s a big piece of the puzzle that the Career Center has recently in the last couple of years really dialed in on because we’re seeing students come back in and when they fill out their destination survey they’re telling us in unprecedented numbers that they’re finding their first job or their first internship through a networking connection, through a mentor that they made through just going in and talking to students who’ve recently graduated and are now working in that dream job. That dream industry or that company. So no matter who’s listening right now if you’re a first year student or if this is your last semester it’s never too late to seek out a mentor. Somebody who can help guide you through a process that they’ve already been through and give advice along the way. So we actually have alumni who every day are sort of beating down our doors trying to figure out how they can get connected with students and support them because they’ve been in student’s shoes. They put their blood sweat and tears into these engineering degrees here and now they’re successful and they want to give back. They want to teach students how they can also find that kind of success. If you’re wondering how you can just find a mentor. We used to have to say you know there’s no magic button you can just press and say I need a mentor. But now that we have the Berkeley Career Network, which you can Google Berkeley Career Network and it should be the first thing that comes up but I’ll also send you the link. That is a list of alumni who have opted in to say – yes we want to mentor your students and you can search for them by Major. You can also search for them by company and industry. What’s cool about that platform is if you’re a mechanical engineering student who really wants to work on the infrastructure team at Facebook, you could go into the Berkeley Career Network, look up who’s working at Facebook and if you see somebody interesting, you press connect and when you connect you have the opportunity to send a direct e-mail to that person’s personal email or actually schedule a video, phone, or in person meeting through the software itself.
LV: Oh wow. That is actually pretty awesome. If you’re not graduating this semester or maybe even if you are and you really want to do an internship is it too late to get a summer internship?
If you’re graduating this semester or if not graduating just anyone that’s hasn’t gotten an internship yet, do you think should they give up? Do they still have places to look?
KC: Great question. We’ve had a lot of students worried that it’s too late and I can’t say this enough. It is never too late to find an internship. I had students find them in June last year. So there is never a time when internships just aren’t available. Earlier is better. It’s never too early to start looking but spring is a great time to be looking for internships. It’s why we have a two day STEM fair the second week of classes, full of employers who are looking for internships that Winter Internship and Job Fair on February 20th is a great place to look as well. If you type in just internship and say engineering on Handshake you will come up with easily over 10,000 hits. So there are definitely opportunities out there but sooner is definitely better. So wherever you are right now it’s a good place to start.
LV: The ESS newsletter is sent out once a week and we have sections in there for job opportunities, internship opportunities, company info sessions. So if you haven’t checked out our ESS newsletter, make sure that you’re getting it in your inbox. You can also check on our website. We have it on the archive and I’ll put a link to my archive on the Welcome Engineer podcast page. If students are unable to get in to actually talked to a career counselor, do you have any student advisors that they’re able to meet with?
KC: Yes, great question. As I mentioned, finding an appointment might be a little bit difficult especially in the beginning of the semester when lots of students have career on their mind going to career fairs and applying for things. So the best option is our peer advisors over at the Career Center. They are a group of undergraduate students who have been formally trained in all areas of coaching, that we as full time, master’s degree holding counselors have. And we teach those students to be able to work with students on everything from resume and cover letter critiques to simple questions like – Hey, I’ve never used Handshake before, can you show me some tips? Or I’ve never used the Career Center before, what the heck is all of this, how can I use my resources effectively? Can you help me create a plan for the next couple years? Anything and everything. And it’s all by drop in. Our peer advisors do drop in appointments between 12-4, Monday through Friday on the third floor of the Career Center.
LV: Where is the Career Center?
KC: The Career Center is located on the south side of campus, which I understand can seem like you’re traversing the universe sometimes from the north side, but I assure you it is a 10 minute walk from pretty much anywhere you are on campus, if you’re a quick walker like I am. It’s on Bancroft, right across from the new student union, next to ShareTea and we’re on the third floor. So I might be a little biased, because I supervise our peer advisers in our office, but they’re a really great resource and especially if you have a question and you want to get it answered. Now you can always go there 12-4, Monday to Friday.
LV: Is there anything else about the Career Center that we missed or that we want people know?
KC: I’m sure that I’ve missed something and I say that because sometimes I forget the number of resources that the Career Center offers. If I can leave with any piece of advice it’s that if you haven’t interacted with the Career Center already, then do it. Even if it’s just walking over there and going to the third floor and just kind of looking around to see what’s up. Going to a career fair just to see what it looks like, check out Handshake and look at the events and go to a resume workshop. Check out a Career Connections event, where almost every week we have networking nights, where we bring in 10 to 20 alumni who are working in specific industries and for two hours, students can just casually network with those students or with those alumni. We just had our Tech for Good Career Connections event last night. There’s just so many resources available and the worst thing is when we hear that students didn’t take advantage of them when they were here and then they lose the opportunity to use those resources once they graduate. So yeah come see us, go to the Career Center.
LV: Well Katie, thank you so much for stopping by today and going over all the resources, I know there’s just so much that you do over there.
KC: No problem, I’m so glad to be here. And you know engineering students are my favorite students on campus – obviously a little biased but happy to be here and support all of them.
LV: And thank you everyone for tuning in to The (Not So) Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer. We’ll be back next week with more campus resources that hopefully you’ve tried out but if you haven’t we’re going to tell you all about it. Thank you.