Let’s be real. Part of the reason for going to graduate school is to land that dream job you always aspired to achieve. As I see all my peers around me in suits it reminds me of when I was in their shoes just a year ago today. I cannot say enough how much Fisher College of Business has prepared me for my future career in Chicago. Maybe I’m biased, but numerous outside sources have ranked Fisher’s Career Services as leaders in the country. Ever since I joined the business school at the end of my freshman year, Fisher has encouraged me tremendously to partake in the job search early and has prepared me as best as possible. I will never forget the QUIC (Qualified Undergraduate Interview Candidate) Program, a module-based seminar followed by a mock-interview, required by all in order to interview with future employers. Graduate students can elect to go through a similar mock-interview process in order to help them in their job search. Graduate students even have their own go-to person to assist them with their job search, and he holds walk-in hours at least once a week for any questions. As I have already been through the process twice, I have a little advice to newbies going through our program:
- Take advantage of career services (cannot stress this enough!)
There are so many resources at your fingertips, just need to do a little digging on the website or schedule a meeting with a Career Services counselor!
- Make a list
Before you even start the year, make a list of five characteristics you would like of your dream or ideal job (hours, location, responsibilities, team, salary, benefits, perks, really cool office, travel, etc.). What traits are you look for in it? Rank your preferences in order from MUST HAVE IN THE JOB to eh not a deal breaker and that should help you focus.
- Go into the year with a plan
Make sure you know a little bit about your interests before starting the year. I am not saying you should know exactly what you would like to be doing but definitely have areas in mind (Do I like technical accounting? Do I want to travel? Do I want to work for a big company or small? What about hours? Location, location, location…).
- Be open-minded and listen
I know everyone is concerned with nailing the “big interview with the big firm”, but culture-wise you may fit in at a smaller firm working in a completely different department than you ever imagined. Also, make sure you pay extra attention to the job description to know exactly what your responsibilities will be. As many of you are looking for full-time jobs, internships (what I like to call trial runs) aren’t likely to occur. Doing your research, listening to the interviewer, and not being afraid to ask meaningful questions, will allow you to have the best job prospects.
- Use your peers!
Some students will have prior internships and can give you very helpful advice when going through the initial job search. Job fairs can be overwhelming so it is good to go in with a mindset of where you could (potentially) see yourself after graduate school. Talking to fellow students who had similar responsibilities will help narrow down all the prospective employers on your list so you can focus on what you really want!
Although overwhelming, the job search is such an exciting and unique time for you! Fisher is giving you the opportunity to build and extend your network and take advantage of every moment of it. It puts a smile on my face to know that so many of peers will be either working with me or at neighboring firms next year!