Halloween is upon us. For international students, this might mean your first time experiencing the joys of a holiday dedicated to costumes, candy and a healthy dose of frightful fun. For others, this might mean a moment of panic as you look at the calendar and realize it’s October 31st and you need to put more time into your internship or job search.
Either way, the Career Strategies & Engagement Team scares about you (sorry, couldn’t resist the wordplay!). Below, we tackle four common job hunt fears and share our advice for a Happy CSE Halloween…
#1 Networking: Networking is a major part of professional culture here in the United States, but it can be intimidating. Whether you’re attending an in-person event or reaching out to a cold contact online, it’s never easy to initiate conversations that feel authentic not transactional. We recommend practicing with alumni. Search for people in the industry or role you aspire to and send a short but warm note asking for a virtual or in-person coffee chat. If the contact agrees, do your homework and come up with a list of thoughtful questions to drive the conversation. Do not make the other person do the conversational heavy lifting and do not ask for a job referral. Instead, use your time to start developing a real, human connection with that person to grow over time.
Pro tip: The Rise Together Mentor Network in B Connect features alumni who have already volunteered to mentor current students. Networking won’t be a nightmare if you reach out to these warm leads!
#2 Indecision: Sometimes not knowing exactly what you want makes you freeze faster than a black cat walking across your path. It’s human nature to put off the things that scare or confuse us. The good news is you don’t need to figure out your entire future overnight. You just need to reflect on the type of work that interests you and start there. What classes appeal to you most? Are your strengths more quantitative or qualitative? Most people’s career paths are not a linear line and your first job won’t be your last. Don’t let indecision stop you from action when it comes to applying for roles.
Pro tip: CSE Connect has Career Communities to help you explore different industries. Each community features events, jobs, news and alumni spotlights to help you get a better sense of the opportunities specific to that field.
#3 Interviewing: Even if you dress like a vampire for Halloween, you want to nail your interviews… not put a nail in the coffin. The best way to do this is through research and practice. Know who you’re interviewing with and what they do. Understand the company, department and role to the best of your ability and then ask smart questions to fill in the gaps. And, most importantly, take advantage of the many interview prep tools and resources available to you through the CSE. Since many first-round interviews are virtual these days, make sure to check out Big Interview for important online practice.
Pro tip: Want industry-specific practice in a supportive environment? Join Weekly Finance Interview Practice with Jennifer Voldins or Weekly Case Practice with Geri Brehm. Sign up for either (or both!) through your Thursday CSE Newsletter.
#4 Imposter Syndrome: Halloween gives us permission to be someone else for one night, but what about the other 364 days in the year? At some point, we’ll all be plagued by feelings of self-doubt. Just remember, you are a smart, capable person (you got into Brandeis after all!) and deserve career success as much as anyone else. A great way to build confidence is through experiential learning opportunities. Do a Field Project or an internship to gain professional experience in a setting specifically designed for education and personal growth.
Pro tip: Utilize the “CSE Connection” label in Handshake to identify curated employment opportunities. Since these employers are specifically looking for Brandeis International Business School candidates, you already have a leg up on the competition and can feel more confident that you’re suited for the role.
Want more spooktacular tips related to the job application and interview process? Check out Halloween at Handshake: Busting Common Job Hunt “Urban Legends” as Handshake unpacks myths that might haunt your career search!