Did you graduate in 2016 or later? If so, you have the opportunity to participate in a peer support group for CSSW alumni. Spearheaded by Alyssa Zakarian ’21, Syma Sambar ’21, and Ashley Leeds ’20, the group meets every second Sunday at 2:30 PM ET and every third Tuesday at 7:30 PM ET via Zoom.
Drop in to talk about social work, get advice on how to handle tricky situations in the workplace, or listen to the experiences of your CSSW colleagues. Guest speakers will be announced as well. To join in, register here. By doing so, you will also be subscribed to the CSSW Peer Sup listserv where you will receive information on group discussions, job opportunities, and latest trends.
Whether you’re just starting out, seeking a new opportunity, or looking to advance in your career, managing your online presence is essential. A strong presence can enhance your reputation, visibility, and consideration for prospective opportunities; the alternative can hurt your employability and career altogether without your even knowing!
You don’t have to be an expert to ensure that the image you’re projecting is in line with how you want others to see you. Check out some of these tips from Idealist on managing your online presence. You can also review LinkedIn’s overview on building an effective profile, networking via the platform, and much much more.
Did you know CSSW has a LinkedIn group for students and alumni? Join today to connect with your peers, learn about opportunities, and expand your network!
Everyone talks about how important it is to build your professional network to advance in your career, but getting started can feel awkward or intimidating.
If that feeling is holding you back, remember that networking is just another form of relationship building–a process rooted in genuine curiosity and a desire to get to know the other person well. To begin:
Think about what you’re interested in talking about or who you might want to learn from or share your aspirations with. You can start the conversation with those you know, such as your peers, professors, mentors, current and past co-workers, and field supervisors. They may even recommend others to reach out to.
At the same time, don’t be afraid to cold contact those you don’t yet know. Online networking platforms liked LinkedIn make it easier to connect with others, particularly those within your school network, such as CSSW’s LinkedIn Group, and other interest-based communities.
Don’t limit yourself to “networking” platforms and events either. Any opportunity where you can engage with others with shared interests and goals, including social and community events, volunteer activities, and online forums, is a prime way to bridge a new connection.
Whomever you choose to connect with, make sure that the engagement isn’t one-sided or transactional. Just like in any meaningful relationship, even if you’re the one asking for insights and advice, you can demonstrate your respect and appreciation by letting them know how their support impacted you or sharing information and resources that may be of benefit to them.
In honor of First-Generation College Student Day celebrated yesterday, we would like to a give special shout-out to our first-generation students and alumni who are continuing to blaze a trail for themselves, their families, and communities and making their mark in the field of social work!
If you are currently pursuing opportunities as early career professionals or seeking to advance to leadership roles, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Know that you have a lot to offer. Start by embracing the knowledge and strengths you’ve built. Your resourcefulness, determination to succeed, and ability to both navigate uncertainty and complex systems and adapt to changing needs are all qualities that employers highly value. Keep a record of your unique skills and accomplishments and practice sharing them with others so you can feel confident conveying them to prospective employers.
Build a support system. A healthy support system can offer validation and a safe space to bounce off ideas and concerns. Continue investing time in developing your trusted community of mentors, professionals, former supervisors, peers, faculty, and college administrators who can share resources, information, and potential access to opportunities. To find community on campus, check out the events hosted by the Graduate Initiative through University Life and reach out to the student leaders of the CSSW’s First Generation Lower SES Caucus.
Be proactive in seeking resources. Continue to use resources inside and outside of Columbia to increase your knowledge around job searching, networking, negotiating salary, and advancing in the workforce. For instance, you can learn about the unspoken rules of the workplace and how to get ahead in your career from this HBR IdeaCast episode, Career Rules You Didn’t Learn in School, take a self-paced salary negotiation program with AAUW online, or attend the National Urban League’s professional development webinars. You can also participate in networking and leadership development activities through professional organizations such as the Network for Social Work Management. Links to similar resources are also readily featured in our enews, blog, and Career Connect resource library.
The offices of Career Services and Leadership Management; Development and Alumni Relations; and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are pleased to invite students to our 4th Annual Communities of Color Virtual Networking Event on Thursday, October 28.
All those who identify as students of color/BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) are encouraged to participate!
This is a great opportunity to meet and mingle with a group of distinguished alumni of color, learn about their career paths and trajectories, and get tips and advice on navigating your own path as a professional of color in a dedicated virtual support space.
The list of featured alumni can be found below.
Thursday, October 28 6:30 – 8:00 pm ET Platform: Zoom
Pre-registration is required.
Sign up here using your LionMail account by Tuesday, October 26. We ask that you only register if you are able to attend.
As highlighted in an article by Live Career, “learning how to connect with your peers, professors, and community is crucial for both personal and professional development”.
Professors, in particular, are invaluable resources from whom you can learn more about different areas of interest and opportunities within the field.
Wondering how to best connect with them beyond the classroom? Here are a few tips to keep in mind, whether you’re just starting the program or continuing:
Research your professors to get a better sense of their background, interests, and achievements
When reaching out to schedule a meeting, provide a very brief overview of your goals and interests and why you want to meet (e.g. what you hope to learn)
Make the most of the time you have with them by coming prepared with targeted questions
In all your interactions, whether virtual or in-person, be open, sincere, and mindful of how you communicate
Ask for feedback and keep them updated on any developments, especially if you’ve followed through on any advice they gave you
Professors will likely be more receptive to your outreach while you’re a student, so be sure to take advantage of the opportunity before you graduate. This also applies to building relationships with peers, supervisors, and administrators. Investing in this effort will not only help you stand out and stay memorable, but it can also potentially open doors for years to come!
Whether you’re just starting out in your career or thinking about making a move, following a plan will help you move forward and help you get to where you want to be. This article by the Wall Street Journal offers 3 easy steps to help you get started with forging your career path:
Engage in self-reflective activities to help identify your core values and strengths – consider what lifestyle is most important to you, what attributes have remained constant, and what expertise you’ve developed over the course of your academic and professional life
Seek trusted advice from mentors and professionals in your field to learn from their career paths, discuss your career goals, and/or tap into their professional expertise to learn about the industry
Identify and develop the key skills and knowledge most in-demand within the areas you are interested in and be able to articulate how you can contribute to potential employers
Still need advice on how to get started? Schedule an appointment to meet with a career advisor or check out the career guides and resources posted in our Document Library within Career Connect.
The idea of networking can be anxiety-provoking for many, no matter what career stage they’re in, leading some to avoid it. Yet, it still remains the number one strategy to land opportunities and an essential component of one’s career development.
Networking is more than talking to strangers; it is a process of building relationships towards a mutual exchange of support, resources, and information. It is also a way of letting others know your skills and passions and getting noticed in the field. (You can’t get noticed if people don’t know you!)
Not sure how to get started? Then lead with your curiosity.
Perhaps you’re wondering what you can do with your degree or concentration or how others with similar backgrounds and experiences landed their roles. Or maybe you’re still exploring and want to know different opportunities you might find meaningful. Find people with direct knowledge of your interest area and start a conversation:
Faculty, supervisors and colleagues in field, peers, and alumni currently working in your field of interest
Recruiters, hiring managers, and organizational representatives hosting information sessions and related recruitment and networking activities
Don’t forget that professionals outside your immediate scope of interest can also possess valuable insights, including how to effectively transition from student to professional, advance to leadership positions, or maintain work-life balance and self-care.
If the idea of networking and informational interviewing still feels intimidating, remember that you don’t need to know everything to have a fruitful conversation. Asking questions like “How do I get started?” or “Where do I go from here?” are acceptable conversation starters, particularly with social work educators and alumni. The main goal is to start somewhere!