If you’re just thinking about enrolling at Temple University, your career probably seems a long way off. But those four years will be over before you know it, and then it’ll be time to land a job. Will you be ready? For students who work with College of Liberal Arts (CLA) career development advisors, the answer is yes! Discover what you can do with your major, what career is right for you, what the best approaches to resumes, cover letters and interviews are, and how to tie your career plan to your academic plan.
What Can I Do with My Major?
All CLA programs teach you a core set of critical thinking, problem-solving and communication skills. The most important thing about your college major, then, is that it interests you. When applying to and registering at CLA, you don’t have to sweat how your major will translate to a career. No matter what you study here, you’ll be ready to launch a career after graduating.
You can get some ideas as to which careers are best suited to which majors at our What Can I Do with This Major site. But remember that your options are varied regardless of your major. You’ll also have ample opportunities to build cross-discipline skill sets through incredibly flexible electives, minors and double majors.
How Do I Know What Career Is Right for Me?
With so many options, how do students decide what path to head down? The first step is completing our required one-credit CLA 1002 professional development seminar. CLA 1002 helps students develop career readiness and professional communication skills while they gain an understanding of how employers will value their liberal arts degree.
Students also learn about internship opportunities during CLA 1002. Internships are like career incubators: they let you sample jobs and industries so you can decide what you enjoy (and don’t enjoy) doing.
Finally, students should get help refining career goals and finding job opportunities from CLA’s professional development advisors. You should start thinking about this as a freshman and begin meeting with our advisors as a sophomore. In one-on-one meetings, they’ll listen to what excites you and what you think you’re good at before making career suggestions.
What’s the Right Approach to Resumes, Cover Letters and Interviews?
The global, digital age we live in has brought innumerable changes to hiring practices. But almost any job you apply to is still going to require a resume, a cover letter and one or more interviews. Mastering just one or two likely won’t be enough to win a job. You’ll workshop each element with Professional Development, so you nail your application, ace your interview and maximize your chances of getting hired. You’ll receive personalized feedback to help you through each step, but below you’ll find some quick tips to start thinking about right now.
- Tailor your resume to the position—think strategically about the particular skillsets the employer will want to see from a candidate.
- Use action words in describing experiences and always try to demonstrate how you excelled in a given assignment or task.
- Think about transferable skills. The type of experience you include is important, but how you market your skillset is what can elevate your candidacy for a position. Minimal experience? Think about skills you’ve honed in the classroom: researching, organizing, presenting, etc.
- This is where you really can speak to your experiences and explain why you are the best fit for a given position. Stay professional in your style and be sure to touch on keywords you see in the job description.
- Ensure the cover letter aligns with the position. Similar to the resume, this document must be tailored to the employer and the specific job description. Avoid generalities and be specific about your experiences. Do not just say you did something. Talk about the result of what you did.
- It’s a writing sample! Employers want strong writers, so ensure the grammar is correct and that you don’t make any tense mistakes, grammatical errors or misspellings.
- First impressions are lasting. Good eye contact, a firm handshake, a pleasant greeting when you enter the room—it all matters. Enter with confidence, but understand it is perfectly normal to be a bit nervous too.
- Flip the interview process around. Things get a lot less stressful when you change your mindset. You want to ensure this employer is a fit for you. You also want to ensure the supervisor and team aligns with your work style and personal preferences. When you take all the power away from the interviewer and realize you, too, are interviewing them it makes things a bit less intimidating.
- Be ready for the common questions. Train and prepare for questions that you know are coming your way. Rehearse your answers to a point where you memorize them and they can come off as conversational. If you answer the first few questions of the interview well, that’s going to boost your confidence and ideally carry momentum throughout the rest of the interview.
How Do I Tie My Academic Plan to My Career Plan?
As a CLA student, you’ll learn valuable skills that can help you land and thrive in a job regardless of your major and career goals. But once you’ve worked with Professional Development to figure out those goals, you may find that there is a specific skill or three that you need to learn. CLA’s Academic Advising team is located right next to the Professional Development team, and you’ll benefit from the two working collaboratively with you to put you in the best position possible to start the career that excites you after graduation.