Flash mentoring is back – Sign up to get career advice and support from alumni!

The Office of Alumni Relations and Office of Career Services and Leadership Management are pleased to resume our career mentorship program for the spring semester!

The program will run from Monday, February 1 through Friday, May 28. Requests will be accepted until Friday, May 14.

 

Mentoring Program Overview

Through this program, students can request to connect with up to 3 alums per month for 1:1 conversations to:

    • Gain insights and perspectives about a career path, field, organization, or industry;
    • Get advice about career planning, searching and applying for jobs (including resume writing), networking, interviewing, or navigating life after CSSW; OR
    • Seek support in general from someone who’s been in your shoes as a student

Interested?

    1. Fill out this mentoring program interest form. On the form, you will find a link to a directory with a list of more than 300 alumni volunteer mentors who are eager to meet you! Select the one you’re interested in meeting. Note that you will have to complete this form for each request.
    2. After submitting the form, you will receive an email confirmation as well as an introductory email from Jennifer March from Alumni Relations connecting you to the alum of choice within a few business days. If you don’t hear from Jennifer in that time frame, please email her directly at [email protected] to follow up.
    3. Once you receive the email, it will be your responsibility to arrange a meeting directly with the alum using the contact information provided. While Zoom meetings are recommended, you can choose a platform that works best for both you and the alum.

Remember: This is NOT a forum to ask for a job or a recommendation for a job, but rather an opportunity to gather valuable information based on their knowledge and expertise.

After the initial meeting, it will be up to you and the alum to decide whether to continue to stay in touch.

Questions?

For general questions about our alumni mentors, please email Jennifer March at [email protected].

For guidance on how to prepare for a meeting, refer to our Informational Interview Guide. You can also view free, on-demand webinars on informational interviewing (and other career development topics) from LinkedIn Learning, or schedule an appointment with the career team to discuss further.

We hope you take advantage of this special opportunity!

Job Search Tips and Resources for Students

We know this is a hectic time for everyone, whether you are strategizing your post-grad job search or looking for summer opportunities. If you’re seeking some direction, see some highlighted tips below to get you started. Additional tools and resources, including links to 50+ job search sites, are also available within Career Connect.

Graduating Students

Getting started can be the hardest part. Break down the process into smaller, achievable parts and create a timeline and action plan using organizers to track your progress. This will allow you to recognize and celebrate mini-wins that you achieve along the way, which in turn can help you stay motivated and focused.

There is foundational work that can be achieved now as part of the process, which includes 1) building a target list of organizations and opportunities you’re interested in based on your skills, interests, and goals, 2) networking to learn more about them, and 3) preparing resumes that highlight relevant skills and accomplishments. You can also register for upcoming employer events, including our MSW Job Fair on Friday, March 26, to learn more about different organizations and opportunities.

International Students

Job searching can be a multi-hurdled process for international candidates seeking to work in the US, which requires additional knowledge and action steps. Review these tips for guidance. Make sure to also attend ISSO’s workshops on Optional Practical Training (OPT) if you haven’t already, and get in touch with their advisors to learn more about legal steps for pursuing employment.

If you need more support, we welcome you to join our Job Search Support Group for International Students, which will meet bi-weekly on Wednesdays starting February 3 until March 31, from 12:00 to 1:00 PM. You can choose to attend as many sessions are you want. Join us via Zoom.

Continuing Students

Summer is a great time to practice a new skill, find meaningful work, and build connections with professionals in the field. Review the career and volunteer pages of organizations of interest for the most up-to-date information on potential opportunities. Most of these organizations do not post on school job boards but may do so on sites such as Idealist. Volunteering is always a substantive way to build experience, if a feasible option.

For those who are more experienced in the field, sites like Taproot offers skills-based and pro-bono opportunities for organizations in need, and UN Online Volunteers and Columbia Global Centers offer remote opportunities with international organizations. Visit our fellowships page to find sample opportunities. Note that the pandemic may have impacted the needs and capacities of many organizations and the opportunities they are able to offer during the summer.

Making the Most of Virtual Recruitment Events

Want to learn about organizations seeking your talent? During the spring term, a number of employers will be hosting recruitment and information sessions on opportunities for graduating students and alumni.

Take advantage of these events to connect with recruiters and hiring managers, learn about their organization, gain insight into what they’re looking for in candidates, and enhance your chances of landing a job!

Here are some tips to make the most of the events and to stand out:

    • Research the organization beforehand to get a sense of their services, impact, and the communities they serve.
    • Be prepared to share a quick introduction about your interests, strengths, and career goals.
    • Present your best self to make a strong first impression by following good video meeting etiquette, which includes keeping an appropriate background and dressing for the workplace (i.e. no pajamas!)
    • Prepare and ask thoughtful questions that demonstrate your knowledge, interest, and curiosity to learn more about their organization, values, and culture. You can also inquire about opportunities for growth, training, and professional development, as well as transferable skills they value, especially if you are a career changer or don’t yet meet certain requirements.
    • Have an updated resume readily available. Some employers ask for resumes before or after the event. Follow the instructions provided by the career office or employer on how and where to submit your resume for consideration.
    • After the event, follow up to personally thank them (BONUS: Reference something you learned from the session to make yourself even more memorable!)

NOTE: Some events may be presentation style, while others, interactive. Be prepared to engage accordingly. We recommend keeping your camera on or at least when asking questions but understand if that may not be feasible for some. Engagement can also include commenting in the chat and unmuting to ask a question when appropriate.

Navigating the Job Search During Challenging Times

The global COVID-19 pandemic, sociopolitical climate, and accompanying distress — particularly for BIPOC communities that have been disproportionately impacted — have brought added challenges to an already stressful job-hunt process. For those graduating next spring, these challenges may feel particularly pressing.

The importance of self-care cannot be understated, especially during these times, and we encourage prioritizing it in your search and overall career management strategy. This may include monitoring your energy; setting mini-goals, and adjusting them as needed; as well as finding support and community within and outside of your personal, professional, and CSSW network, including one-on-one appointments with our office.

Students can receive additional support through our mentorship program, a new initiative started in the spring that facilitates connections to alumni for career insights and advice. BIPOC-identified students can also participate in our upcoming Communities of Color event, an annual program designed to connect and engage students and alumni of color in candid career conversations within a dedicated support space.

See below for more tips and resources on navigating the job search, as highlighted in last week’s webinar:

    • Treat job searching as a process. Allow time to reflect on how you can contribute to an organization so that you can tailor your search for opportunities that speak to your strengths, interests, and values.
    • Break down the process into smaller, achievable parts. These may include clarifying your goals and direction through a self-assessment, establishing your target list by conducting research on organizations that have missions that you care about, and learning more about career options and opportunities through informational interviews.
    • Create a timeline and action plan using organizers to track your progress. This will allow you to recognize and celebrate mini-wins that you achieve along the way, which in turn can help you stay motivated and focused.

Remember, you’re not alone on this journey — there’s a community you can turn to for support. Take a moment to assess what networks and supports might be most helpful for you, not only for landing a meaningful role but also for maintaining your momentum and well-being for the long haul.

If you missed our webinar, you can find the presentation slides in Career Connect within our Document Library under the Workshops / Webinars / Presentations folder.

Career Advice from VNSNY Community Mental Health Panelists

Last week, our office sponsored a panel discussion with VNSNY and their community mental health professionals to learn about their career paths and what led them to this work.

If you missed the session, here are some key takeaways:

    • Meet and build relationships with folx in the field, because networking is still one of the most effective ways to land opportunities.
    • Seek mentors and supervisors who are invested in your development. Surrounding yourself with a strong support system is key to growing and advancing in an organization.
    • Take risks by being open to new opportunities or exploring new paths—these experiences can help you build career agility, find meaningful work, and expand your professional network.
    • Take ownership of the job you have right now; it will not only help you build character and skill sets for your current role, it will also prepare you for future ones.
    • Make sure to prioritize self-care. When interviewing, ask questions about initiatives that are in place to support the well-being of employees and the agency as a whole.

Thanks to those who attended, as well as to our speakers Jessica Aitken, Natasha Anderson, Deborah Cho ’15, Sabrina Machuca, and Echelle Norman, and Keith Peters and Leah Blumberg for collaborating with us on this event!

You can find the presentation slides and speakers’ contact information in Career Connect within our Document Library under the Employer Events / Information Sessions folder.

Exclusive Global Career Resource for Students and Alumni

Did you know that as a student or graduate of Columbia School of Social Work, you have free access to GoinGlobal, an international career resource for both domestic and international candidates?

Whether you are interested in pursuing an opportunity across town or around the world, take a look at GoinGlobal, including their country and city career guidesdirectory of employers, H1B visa employer listings, and opportunities in 120 locations worldwide.

With the changed employment landscape due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have recently added a wealth of new resources to support your job search.

Take a look at the links found on their homepage sidebar “Job Search During COVID”:

    • Working During a Pandemic – forward thinking job search and networking tips
    • COVID Career Advice – timely news articles covering a range of topicsGlobal
    • Employment Briefings – areas of job promise in key countries

You can also find new economic information in their country career guides under “Snapshot” and “Job Search Overview.” Note every country guide has a dedicated section under “Finding a Job” about “Telework and Freelance.”

To learn more about the site’s features and resources, take a look at their user training schedule.

Gaining Insight into an Organization’s Culture

Deciphering the tenets of an organization’s culture is difficult, especially when much of it is unspoken. If you are preparing for a job interview or about to accept an offer, be sure to do your research to determine if this organization is the right fit for your values and professional interests.

Below are a few questions you can ask:

    • What does career advancement look like in your organization? What factors are considered when promoting employees?
    • In what ways are employees empowered to share new ideas?
    • What are some initiatives you have in place to promote an equitable and inclusive environment?

Find additional questions and tips in this Muse article to gain better insight into the norms and practices of an organization.

To Expand Your Job Search, Consider Your Transferable Skills

If you feel stuck or are having a difficult time finding opportunities in your area of practice, consider expanding your job search to include positions where you can apply your transferable skills.

Transferable skills are adaptable skills that can be used in multiple settings, such as emotional intelligence, problem-solving, communication, and teamwork.

For instance, while you may have experience with policy analysis, your skills such as research and writing may be useful in communications and advocacy work at a nonprofit. Your experience in direct practice or clinical work can transfer over to program development and training, where you can contribute your knowledge of best practices for addressing the needs and interests of specific communities.

To identify your transferable skills, start by taking inventory of the different skills you have used to advance a cause or mission, whether through people, projects, or data; then, brainstorm how you can leverage these skills in other contexts. You can also review skills highlighted in job descriptions and reflect on how you have accomplished similar work. Once you start building your list, you may be surprised by how many transferable skills you have relative to various roles and careers.

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!

Collaborative Care Information Session Recap with Concert Health

 

Last week, we welcomed Concert Health to present on the core principles of the Collaborative Care model and to share their experiences on providing behavioral health care remotely.

If you are interested in telehealth or opportunities at Concert Health, here are some steps you can take to be marketable for these roles:

    • Learn how to engage in all kinds of clinical interactions. Telephonic care requires a different set of skills for rapport building and demonstrating that you are present and listening.
    • Develop communication and facilitation strategies that make up for the inability to assess non-verbals in person, such as asking clients to describe their body language and how they are feeling.
    • Be flexible and open to using technology and varied modes of communication.
    • Get exposure to different populations to diversify your clinical expertise.

Thanks to Allison Kean, Virna Little, and Kathryn Sacks-Colon for their insightful presentation!

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