Our podcast this week, The (Not So) Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer, is a check-in with the Career Center. Katie Crawford, Career Center advisor, joins us to talk about upcoming events, what to expect & how to prepare for an internship fair, and what to do if you are offered multiple jobs. You can also make an appointment with Katie or one of the other career advisers online or drop in to see Katie on Wednesdays from 1-4pm in 230 Bechtel.
LAURA VOGT: Hi my name is Laura Vogt and I’m the communications and events manager for Engineering Student Services and this week on the (Not So) Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer, we have Katie Crawford from the Career Center. Katie can you introduce yourself again since it’s been a few weeks since you’ve been with us.
KATIE CRAWFORD: Sure. It’s great to be back. I’m Katie Crawford. I am one of three engineering career counselors over in the Career Center and I’m our team lead. So I do all of our drop in hours over here in Engineering Student Services and I provide a majority of the career counseling services for our College of Engineering students.
LAURA: Now that we’ve gotten into the semester we’ve had some career fairs, I know you’ve had some resume workshops – What do we need to worry about now? Are there more career fairs that they need to do, are there more things that they have to worry about on their resumes?
KATIE: Yeah I’m so glad you asked. So one of our biggest career fairs of the year is coming up on October 11th which is our internship fair. So it’s one of two internship-specific fairs for students and much like many of our other fairs, this one has a large majority of companies that are looking for engineering and tech students. So that’s a great opportunity for students to look for internships. There are a couple companies that will be looking for full time entry level students as well. And we also have a number of programs coming up that are not necessarily career fairs but career connections events. So we have a career connections for students interested in data science, which is an opportunity for students to network with individuals – mostly alumni – who are working in that industry. We also have a couple more coming up that they may be interested in including finance. We have non-tech roles in tech and all of those can be found in Handshake in the events category.
LAURA: So going back to the internship fair is it different to prepare for an internship period then to prepare for one where you’re looking for a job, or what do you need to do to make sure that you’re going to present yourself in the best way?
KATIE: Good question. So much like the internship search process really does mirror the job search process, internship fairs mirror regular job fairs. So if you went to the Career Fair it’s going to be very very similar. So we suggest that all students look up the internship fair in Handshake if they haven’t already to see what companies are going to be there, and you can actually drill down into that list and see what those companies are recruiting for. So once you’ve done that you can do your research and really impress those companies by being able to talk about them and why you want to intern for them. So obviously students want to have copies of their resume, have their minute long elevator pitch or as I like to call it their one-minute TED talk ready for those employers, and just be ready to really show off their skills, their resume, and market themselves the exact same way that they would at a career fair.
LAURA: And for your career connections, is that the same thing where they should bring resumes to those?
KATIE: Good question. So they definitely can bring resumes. The way that these career connections events work is we have about 15 to 20 alumni who come in 6-8 p.m. it’s free for all networking. We set up cocktail tables and students are able to go from table to table and talk to alumni who are working in the positions that they may want to go into someday. So it’s not a recruiting event. So these aren’t necessarily individuals who are looking to hire. However, they are definitely people who have great connections and if they’re willing to take your resume, we definitely encourage students to bring it but not expect to give it out as if they would at a career fair. So it’s great for students who are just exploring careers. It’s also great for students who want to make connections in the industry that they’re going to be going into very soon.
LAURA: And is there a way for students to work on their resumes still.
KATIE: Yes absolutely. So we have a couple of different resources that are available for students if they’d like to work on a resume.Whether you’re a student who’s never created a resume and you’re working on your first one for the first time or you’re a senior and you just want to have yours polished and ready to go for your next recruiting event or interview, et cetera, et cetera. So first of all we have drop in hours at the Career Center between 12 and 4. Those are with our awesome peer advisors over at the Career Center on Bancroft. And those are great for resume critiques, cover letter critiques. Two of our peer advisors are actually College of Engineering students which is pretty cool. So they’re very well-versed in the engineering resume. They can also make 30 minute appointments in Handshake and that would be with me, Angie Lowe, or Santina Pitcher. We’re the engineering trio over in the Career Center. So those are the actual appointments. However those are not their only options. We also have a job search essentials series in which we help students build their toolkit, and one of those tools is obviously resumes and cover letters. So those are hour long workshops that we do at the Career Center, and we actually have one coming up on resumes and cover letters on October 9th. So note that that is two days before the internship fair. So that’s October 9th at 2:00 p.m. And that’s a great opportunity for students to learn a lot in one hour. And then we also have lots of resources online as well including resume samples.
LAURA: Fantastic. So are some of our students have done the career fair and might possibly be getting their job offers. What happens if you get more than one job offer, and how do you make the decision? What do you look at and what should you base it on?
KATIE: Yeah that’s a great question. So in the College of Engineering, every year, we have more and more students who are getting multiple offers. Obviously we have amazing programs. Employers know it and they’re fighting for our students. So if you find yourself in a position in which you have multiple offers on the table, first of all, good problem. Second of all, you definitely want to evaluate what is most important to you. So there are a lot of things that go into an offer. There’s a salary, there’s benefits, location, the actual work that you’ll be doing, how well you fit with the culture of the company, and for each student those things vary in priority. So it’s really important for each student to know what’s most important to you, and what do you need out of a job, and then really weigh them out pros and cons – and don’t be afraid to negotiate. So the great thing about having multiple offers is that you now have some pretty great terms for negotiation. And students shouldn’t be afraid to do that. Employers expect you to negotiate, so by negotiate, I mean salary, you can negotiate remote time, flex time, vacation time. You can actually negotiate start time as well, so that’s a whole other idea there, and you can also negotiate your decision time, so how long you have to make a decision if you are weighing out different options or even waiting for another company to get back to you. So there are lots of things to weigh. We work with students all the time if you want to come into the Career Center because you have some questions. We are more than happy to sit down with you in a 30 minute appointment that you can make in Handshake and really just talk it out with you, lay everything on the table, and help you see things from different angles and make the best decision. So we’re not ever encouraging students to think that there’s only one right decision. There’s a best decision for you, and we can help you sort of sort through that.
LAURA: We’ve had some problems that we’ve heard of people that have backed out of job offers once they’ve accepted it. What is the, I guess, the line of what we want people to do and it sounds terrible when you hear it, so I can’t imagine that it goes over very well either.
KATIE: Yes. So we have had issues in the past with companies who come back to us because we are the Career Center. We’re the face of the students who are job searching. So when we have issues that companies come to us. So when a student accepts a job offer and then comes back later and says, “Oh hey, by the way, I was actually still recruiting for other jobs and I took another position,” what that does is it really does damage your personal reputation. The recruiting world is a tight knit community, so there’s a good chance that when one recruiter finds out that you’ve reneged on a position, they’ll let everybody else know. So that’s kind kind of personal repercussions, but that’s not the only repercussions. Unfortunately we have companies who have had multiple students renege their offers and they’ve come back to us and told us that they’re really hesitant to keep recruiting at Berkeley because it’s reflecting on the entire student body. So we’ve had some pretty large companies who hire a lot of our students let us know that they’re really concerned about Berkeley students accepting offers but still recruiting. And what that does is it costs them thousands and thousands of dollars that they’ve spent recruiting you and you’ve taken away all that time to the point in which they’re probably not going to be able to replace you. So they can’t go back to the drawing board. They have other things that they have to take care of, so that’s a huge investment that they put in you. So overall it is an ethical issue and we really encourage students to take the time to evaluate an offer. And once you’ve taken it, pull back on all your other all the irons you have in the fire, all the other applications you have out there, and you know you can still respectfully keep in touch with other recruiters that you’ve been in contact with, other offers that you’ve gotten, but we absolutely, 100 percent, do not suggest students renege for multiple reasons both personal and for their fellow Berkeley peers.
LAURA: We had an interview earlier this summer with Professor Terry Johnson, and in it he said that he’s got students always coming to him worried that they’re making the right decision, worried about what the regret is going to be if they made the wrong choice. And he specifically said you can never make the wrong choice. It’s just a choice, and where does it do with it and where you decide to go after that, it’s never going to be the wrong thing.
KATIE: Right! So it’s interesting that you say that because it can feel like taking a job from an employer is a marriage. You’re not marrying that employer because marriage comes with the assumption of forever. We all know that in 2017 we’re not staying in jobs forever anymore and I say we because I’m a part of this generation as well, right? So your first offer that you take whether it’s an internship or a full time position is a stepping stone and you may stay there for 50 years, or you may stay there for two, but they’re all growth opportunities and there are very few bad choices, like you said. And it can feel like there’s a lot of pressure on you to make the perfect decision, but the thing is you’re going to grow and learn in any position that you take. So it’s about knowing what’s most important to you and making a very calculated decision and then sticking to it and really sticking to your values. Our students are really good people. And if you truly do value the ethics of a commitment then it’s important to do that in your job search as well.
LAURA: And is there anything else that you wanted to talk about today that we haven’t had a chance to go over?
KATIE: Yeah. One thing that I didn’t mention was on October 25th we have a Civil and Environmental Engineering career fair as well. So that is specific to our civil and environmental students which is exciting. And you can also check out the companies that are going to be there. You don’t necessarily have to be a CEE student in order to go to these companies. They’ll be everything from construction management to structural engineering and everything in between. So that’s a great opportunity as well. And other than that I become a broken record sometimes, but Handshake truly is students’ number one resource for finding out about all of the opportunities that are available through the Career Center. And again we exist solely to make sure that these students get to where they’re wanting to go. We want you to be successful. It’s our only job.
LAURA: And you have a newsletter that you send out as well – is that through Handshake or –
KATIE: Yes. So if students would like to sign up for Career Mail, which is a career specific curated newsletter that I send out each week to students, you can sign up through Handshake by going into your name on the upper right hand side of Handshake, drilling down into what’s called career interests, and then finding the list of career mails that you would like to receive so many of my engineering students will get business and engineering, because they a lot of our students are interested in both, right. So that’s an opportunity, and also Handshake has a brand new app. It’s specific to students. So they’ve had an app for a while, [but] this is a new app that they just released in August that’s specifically for students who are job searching. It’s a much more user friendly version of the app. So if they go in and download it just make sure you’re downloading Handshake for Job Searching. Actually just make sure you download the Handshake app in your app store that’s yellow. So the old one was blue, this one is yellow and that makes it so incredibly easy to apply for jobs on your mobile phone, on your tablet, and that’s something big that’s come out in the last couple months.
LAURA: Oh that’s great. We’ll make sure that we’ll try to put some links up on the welcomengineer.berkeley.edu website as well. Thank you so much for coming today.
KATIE: Yeah thank you for having me. And as always this podcast has been incredibly beneficial for our students and I can’t wait to be back.
LAURA: Thank you so much. And we will talk to everyone else next week.