Making the Most of Informational Interviews

Does the idea of conducting informational interviews feel intimidating?

Consider thinking of them as “curiosity conversations”—opportunities to make meaningful connections with folx in your field and gain insights and advice that will help you move forward in your career development.

If you missed our information interviewing webinar last week, here are some key takeaways:

    • Clarify your interests, needs, and goals to assess what knowledge and insights will help you move forward in your career exploration.
    • Identify contacts from your network who possess the background or expertise in your area of interest, including through the CSSW LinkedIn Group or career mentoring program for students.
    • Prepare a brief overview of your professional experience and an agenda for the meeting to ensure you leave with your “must” takeaways.
    • Ask thoughtful questions that can provide actionable insights and build upon what you already know.
    • Make sure to follow-up with a thank you note and keep the contact up-to-date on your progress.

You can find the presentation slides in Career Connect within our Document Library under the Workshops / Webinars / Presentations folder.

Welcome Fall 2020 Students!

The Office of Career Services and Leadership Management would like to extend a warm welcome to our Fall 2020 class!

We look forward to meeting you and discussing your career plans as you further your education and training to promote social justice, equity, inclusion, and the overall well-being of others as anti-racist practitioners.

Want to get a head start on the conversation? Join us on Thursday, September 3 at our Career Q&A session for new students! See details within your Orientation materials.

Career Connect

Later this week, you will be receiving access to our exclusive career management system, Career Connect!

Please keep an eye out for a welcome email from: swcareer=columbia.edu@mg.gradleaders.com (It’s not spam!). It will include instructions on how to schedule appointments, register for future career events, access career-related resources, and more.

Asking Powerful Negotiation Questions

Establishing your value and asking for more is not a selfish act, says Alexandra Carter, Director of the Mediation Clinic at Columbia Law School and author of Ask for More: 10 Questions to Negotiate Anything. Instead, it primes others on how to value you and those who will come after you.

Negotiating is also more than asking for a higher salary and includes intangible benefits such as recognition for your achievements and mentorship and training opportunities. Asking questions is the most underutilized practice in a negotiation strategy, notes Carter. Some powerful questions she suggests asking yourself in any negotiation process are:

    • What’s the problem I want to solve and how? This can help frame what you want to ask for and how you ask for it.
    • What do I want from this negotiation? Consider both tangible and intangible needs.
    • What am I afraid of? Air out your emotions and hesitations by writing them down. Once you acknowledge your feelings, you can move forward to creating a strategy with confidence.
    • Where have I successfully advocated for myself or others in the past? In evaluating the strategies you’ve used and simply thinking about a prior success, you are more likely to do better in negotiating.

Remember, whatever you want to ask for, keep it optimistic, specific, and justifiable. Learn additional tips including how to boost your confidence going into a negotiation by listening to this episode on the How to be Awesome at Your Job podcast.

Written by Rawlisha Pena, Assistant Director of Career Services and Leadership Management, August 25, 2020

Welcome Advanced Standing Students!

Welcome Advanced Standing Students!

The Office of Career Services and Leadership Management would like to extend a warm welcome to our Advanced Standing students!

We look forward to meeting you and discussing your career plans as you further your education and training to promote social justice, equity, inclusion, and the overall well-being of others as anti-racist practitioners.

Want to get a head start on the conversation? Join us on Thursday, July 30 at our Career Q&A session for new students! See details within your Orientation materials.

Career Connect

Later this week, you will be receiving access to our exclusive career management system, Career Connect!

Please keep an eye out for a welcome email from: swcareer=columbia.edu@mg.gradleaders.com (It’s not spam!). It will include instructions on how to schedule appointments, register for future career events, access career-related resources, and more.

Expert Advice Shared in the Job Search Forum

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives on many levels, leaving many uncertain on how to approach the changing market and job search.

To address these concerns, over the past three weeks, we welcomed members of the CSSW community and other experts in the field to provide insight on how to tackle the search process during these challenging times.

Below are some of the strategies that were shared:

  • Make sure you’re taking care of yourself first and going at your own pace. This pandemic is already emotionally and physically taxing, so don’t feel like you must be going at full speed during the job search. You don’t want to overwork yourself, as we must be able to take care of ourselves to be able to help others.
  • Be flexible and open to opportunities that may seem out of the norm. Take into consideration positions that at first glance may not be your first choice (title, salary, location, etc.), but could lead to better opportunities. Remember, every experience is a learning experience.
  • Be innovative. Build and market your brand to the current needs. Think thoughtfully and strategically about these needs and how you can offer a solution. Think outside of the traditional social work box.
  • Network! Network! Network! Keep in contact with your CSSW community and connect with those throughout the social impact space. Virtual networking platforms like LinkedIn are an easy way to stay connected and build new connections.***Continuing and graduating students currently have access to 1:1 career mentoring with an alum every Thursday from 6:00 to 7:00 PM until May 28. For more information, check your email or review this program overview (UNI login required).***

If you missed the series or any of the individual sessions, feel free to refer to our notes and handouts from the sessions (UNI login required).

Thank you to the Office of Field Education for collaborating with us on this event, to all our guest speakers, including last week’s guests, Andrez Carberry, Head of Global Talent Supply and Diversity and Inclusion at John Deere, Cassandra Walker, Human Resources Recruiter at Henry Street Settlement, and Iris Groen, Talent Acquisition Manager at the Jewish Board, students who attended the series, and Pam Picon for providing the comprehensive synopsis and notes!

Interviewing Skills Workshop Recap

Getting called for an interview is a positive sign in the job search process. With the focus on virtual interviews, our workshop last week covered tips and strategies on how to prepare for an upcoming interview and questions to anticipate. Tips included:

    • Connect with alumni who either worked at the organization or are in similar roles to gain insights into the organization’s culture and challenges
    • Test your technology ahead of time, choose a quiet, well-lit space to conduct your interview, and limit any distractions (learn more about video interviewing here)
    • Anticipate behavioral and situational-based questions and prepare answers that show how you’ve demonstrated pertinent skills

If you missed the event, you can review the presentation slides posted in Career Connect within our Document Library under the Presentation/Workshop folder.

Job Seeker Resources

Are you looking for ways to improve your job search? LinkedIn has compiled a number of FREE self-paced online courses to help you navigate your job search, network virtually, and cultivate resilience in the process. Additional resources from LinkedIn are available on their Student Portal.

You can also find a compilation of other information and resources shared over the last few weeks, as well as newly added ones in this COVID-19 Resources Folder (UNI log-in required).

Resources to Support Your Job Search

We know that the job search process can feel even more stressful as we cope with the uncertainty that comes with the impact of COVID-19.

While many organizations are focusing on their own operations, needs, and services during this time, one thing to remember is that the fundamentals of job searching are still relevant.

This includes actively searching for opportunities, particularly through your existing network, engaging in virtual community forums or social media platforms like LinkedIn to increase your visibility, and proactively seeking advice from professionals in the space on how to best position yourself for target roles.

There are also employers that are still actively hiring, including those focused on addressing current public health needs.

For additional insights on strategizing your search, check out the following articles.

Job Search Tips

As many of you begin, or in some cases continue your job and internship search over spring break, keep the following tips in mind:

    • Anticipate delays in employers responding back. The COVID-19 situation is still evolving and many organizations are changing the way they conduct business and deliver their services. The safety of their employees is also a priority, so the hiring process may be delayed. This does not mean abandoning the search. It just means managing your expectations and timeline with getting hired.
    • Be prepared to interview via phone and videoconference. While neither can replace in-person interactions, these opportunities can allow you to review and/or take notes during your conversation and help you stay focused while you are speaking. Check out additional virtual interview tips here.
    • In conveying your strengths, highlight your ability to adapt to changing needs and expectations and/or your experiences working virtually (if relevant to the organization). Flexibility and technical skills are often cited among top attributes sought by employers.
    • Update and strengthen your profile on LinkedIn, a powerful tool for job searching and networking. Start by adding your recent experiences and accomplishments and composing an eye-catching headline and summary that concisely convey who you are and how you can help support an individual or organization’s needs and goals. Additional resources on leveraging LinkedIn can be found on LinkedIn for Students site.

Appointment Updates

We hope everyone is staying safe and well.

In an effort to ensure students seeking career support have access to our services, we are adding additional appointment slots to our calendar. We are also replacing drop-in hours with regular appointment slots for the time being.

All appointments are available via Zoom or by phone. You can request to meet by logging into Career Connect and clicking on Advising > General Advising > Add Appointment. For more detailed instructions on how to book an appointment, please review this tutorial. The site also contains an extensive virtual library of resources. We encourage you to take a look. For general questions, please email swcareer@columbia.edu.

For the latest developments and guidelines shared by the school and university in reference to COVID-19, please refer to the following sites: