Katie Crawford joins us today for the Not So Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer podcast from the Career Center to introduce us to the events, programs and resources that are available to students in the College of Engineering. Hear her tips on what you should be doing this summer to get ready for the first career fairs that happen in September. Also, learn some tips and advice of how to prepare for your post-Berkeley career before you get to Berkeley in the fall.
- Visit career.berkeley.edu to begin researching the best ways to create your resume and start getting to know the Career Center.
- Beginning August 1 sign-in to Handshake and visit the events calendar and signup for the Career Center’s weekly newsletter.
- Create or update your LinkedIn profile.
LAURA VOGT: Hello and welcome to The Not So Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer. I am Laura Vogt, the Communications and Events Manager for Engineering Student Services. Today I’m so happy to have Katie Crawford from the the Career Center with us. Katie, please introduce yourself and tell us what the Career Center does for the students of UC Berkeley.
KATIE CRAWFORD: Hello thank you for having me again.
LV: And let’s have you introduce yourself for all of our new students.
KC: Sure. So as Laura said, my name is Katie Crawford. I am the Career Counselor leading our engineering team at the Cal Career Center. So that means that I am the career counselor who sees all of the students within the College of Engineering including freshmen through graduate students and also run all of the programming career related programming for this population.
LV: What are the Career Center’s goal for Berkeley students?
KC: So in an ideal world the Career Center would love to see every student on campus graduate and walk across that stage with their dream job. That dream internship or their dream graduate school acceptance. So in an ideal world that’s what would happen and that is the reason, the sole reason we exist. We’re the only department (on campus) that solely exists to help students find their dream jobs and dream careers.
LV: So your point of being here, everything that you do, that’s what your endgame is.
KC: Yes. So we are very, very student centered office. My position is extremely student centered and everything we do is meant to help prepare students to figure out what they want to do and then once they figure it out we help get them there.
LV: I was trying to think of like how to separate subjects to talk to you today. And when I think about the Career Center I think of three main things that you do, and you’ll probably want to add to my three things, you have the career conference that you do with Engineering, the Career Fair and career workshops. So you want to tell us a little bit about each of those.
KC: Sure. The first item that you mentioned is our Engineering Career Conference. This year’s will be the sixth annual Career Conference for engineering students. So that’s for any student who is either in the College of Engineering or interested in the College of Engineering or engineering positions. So that’s a day where students can come in and primarily we we target juniors and seniors although freshmen and sophomores are also welcome as well as graduate students. And we have a couple of keynote speakers we provide breakfast and lunch. We provide a couple of different workshops that are all put on by employer partners from different areas of engineering and those topics cover everything from sort of career exploration within engineering, all the way to interviewing techniques with a recruiter at Intel or how to approach a career fair with a recruiter at Google. Then we end the day with another keynote and then networking with Cal Engineering Alumni and a lunch. So that’s a great opportunity to really kick start recruiting in the fall.
LV: And that’s one of the only things that we do on a Saturday but it’s because it’s a full day. We want you to be able to be present for the entire time and not have to run off to another class or anything.
KC: Exactly. So that is a full day. But it’s a very very worthwhile and we get great evaluations every year from students. So we’re excited to be there. We hope you are. The next thing that Laura mentioned were career fairs. Career fairs are open to all registered students, freshman through graduate students again. They are great days to come in and meet with feasibly hundreds of recruiters and alumni who are working at companies and they have jobs and or internships in their pockets. So they are there, they pay money to be there, in order to gain access to you our students. And so those start on September 5th is our first stop, second week of school. So we hit the ground running. Recruiting starts very early in the fall for all schools. We are not excluded from that. So that is the EECS Career Fair on September 5th and then we have a string of career fairs that are going to happen throughout the semester. And you can find them all in Handshake, which we’ll talk about more in just a little bit.
LV: And for the career fairs, kind of going hand in hand that we have these set of workshops that you do.
KC: Yes. So a point to be made for all freshmen and transfer students and really all students is we have about 14 career counselors for about 40000 students. So although we do one on one appointments with students, we do a lot of targeted programming in order to make sure that even if students can’t get in for a one on one career counseling appointment, that you’re getting all the information that that they need. So the way that we tackled that and scale that is by providing lots of workshops and programming centered around resumes, cover letters, how to approach a career fair, and how to follow up from a career fair. We have a resume critique event where employers actually come in and look at resumes. So it’s not just us counselors. We also have connections events for students to get connected with alumni. So all of those events can be found in Handshake and they’re a crucial part of making sure that you take advantage of the Career Center.
LV: We’ve talked about Handshake a couple times now. So I think we should probably dive into that a little bit more. What exactly is Handshake and why should our students make sure they’re taking making use of it.
KC: Well Laura a handshake is when one person extends their hands and the person takes it and shakes it. No, actually, Handshake is the Career Center’s platform. So if you think about CalNet, which every student knows about by now, as your academic portal, Handshake is on the other side. Their career portal. It is where employers can post jobs and internships and students can find them and apply for them. It’s also where the Career Center puts all of our events, workshops, career fairs. There’s a calendar feature where they can actually go in and RSVP for things a couple of weeks in advance. It’s also where we house all of our resources. So it’s what should go up on your dashboard right next to Cal Central and Facebook or I don’t know if students use Facebook anymore, whatever else you would have in your dashboard. It’s definitely something we encourage students are on and go on often.
LV: Does Handshake also have some resume tips or anything along those lines?
KC: Yeah great question. We have a resources section under the Career Center tab where we house a couple of different items, one of which is our Job and Internship Guide, which is sort of like your job and internship – I don’t want as a bible – but it’s definitely it’s a book that walks you through everything from how to job an internship search, how to write a resume, how to prepare for interviews and everything in between specifically for Cal students. So that’s in their Handshake, as well as, a couple other things within the resources section including Vault and Going Global, which are two other items that also have resume advice as well as other pieces of career advice.
LV: How many of the workshops that you’re doing are actually, I know we do a lot together with Engineering Student Services, right. How do we decide what the topics are going to be? What do we know people need to come and listen to?
KC: Every semester we actually at the Career Center get together with Engineering Student Services and we put our heads together and we look at the timeline of when employers are looking for our students and we look at what students are coming in with questions on and we provide programming on that so that we can provide it to the masses. So resume is a big one. Looking at how to take your experiences and freshman maybe sitting here thinking what experience do I have. So we help those students translate what experience you do have on paper. So that’s a big one. And then other topics throughout the semester are spread out based on the timelines of the employers actually.
LV: And I know one of my favorite events that we is we have the Cupcakes and Headshots which were making headshots so you could put it on LinkedIn and so we need to make sure that your LinkedIn profile looks good not only with your headshot but with everything else you put into LinkedIn and so on the same day you can go to the LinkedIn workshop and then head on over and you’ll see me and I will take a headshot of you.
KC: Yes. This is such a fun event that Laura and I have collaborated on for a couple of years and I think sometimes students think that I’m being paid by LinkedIn to be such a cheerleader of LinkedIn. But it is truly one of the most powerful tools that college students have at their fingertips and it’s free. So that’s a great day to come in if you’re just not sure you’re utilizing it effectively. If you’re one of those students who has the ghostly shadow photo not an actual photo it’s just a great day to come in and ask questions. Learn how to maximize LinkedIn and get an awesome professional photo taken by Laura
LV: I know we’ve had some of our students when they make up their own business cards and things along those lines, you can use your LinkedIn is the address that you want people to check you out.
KC: Exactly yeah. Not every student is going to have their own personal website. That’s a huge undertaking. But what LinkedIn does is it creates a platform that’s really easy to fill out. It’s just like filling out a profile on any other website and it can be as verbose or as basic as you want it to be, although we obviously encourage students to have a really great filled out profile. But yeah. It’ll almost act like your personal website but there’s so much more to it.
LV: It’s kind of nice in the sense of a resume you’re constantly having to add to or take off because you don’t want the resumes to get too long you’ve got to put all the highlights in the top on those that because it’s in this chronological delivery system for you. It makes it a little bit easier that you can leave some stuff off or you can leave information on you don’t have to constantly take things off.
KC: Exactly. Yeah there’s no length requirement for LinkedIn. So you can have as much on there as you want and to be honest sometimes students come into our office for counseling appointments and think a lot of their experience is irrelevant and they don’t include it. And we very much look at that experience and encourage students to include a lot of it because there is no length requirement and you can also include links and photos and attachments like presentations that you’ve done or you know a photo of you doing research with a professor. All of those things should be on your LinkedIn and make it so much more colorful than that boring two dimensional black and white resume that you’re thrown around at a career fair.
LV: Do you have any resume tips for students as they’re working over the summer. Hopefully have a little bit of extra time right now that maybe they can start working on that resume especially since we have those career fairs that started the beginning of the year?
KC: Yes. That is such a great question. And this goes for freshmen, transfers and everyone in between. We strongly encourage that you go to a Handshake, check out our Job and Internship Guide with samples, as well as if you go to Vault and look. So Vault is available through handshake as well in the resources section and inside the career advice section. They’ve got a lot of resources. I will tell you what I tell lots of students please don’t recreate the wheel. You are not the only student who is creating a resume for the first time or maybe just polishing one up for the first time. Google, the Internet, is chock full of really great advice and resources. You don’t have to come see a professional career counselor or a career coach like me in order to start the process. Engineering students are very inquisitive and we have some of the most incredible students in the world here. I trust that they know how to google and I can use some of those resources to create something really great and then bring it in and we can help you make it even better.
LV: So you have something to start from you’re not just staring at a blank sheet of paper.
KC: Exactly. Just get on your computer open up Microsoft Word. If you’re savvy you can open up LaTeX or InDesign or whatever it is that you want to start with but then look up examples, resume writing is weird. We don’t learn how to write that way in school so to learn how other people have done it is a really great way of starting and you can use LinkedIn to look up people in your and your same major who are at your school at Berkeley or somewhere else and look at how they’ve explained their experience. Either at a community college or even in high school. So that sounds a little stalker-y. That’s the feedback that I get sometimes. But I assure you on LinkedIn it’s not seen as stalking it’s seen as a professional development.
LV: The whole thing on LinkedIn is it’s trying to create this network so you can’t create them at work unless you’re looking for it. So if you’re was anything that you piece of advice that you had to give students this summer, what’s the one piece of advice that you want them to come away with.
KC: Yeah so I have had a couple appointments this week in my office who have students who have come in and said you know I’m a rising sophomore, I’m a rising junior and I just want to strategize over the summer so that I can hit the ground running when I get back in August. And those are the most exciting appointments that I get. But the exciting part is you don’t have to come see me to get that same advice. It’s all on our website. So comb through our website career.berkeley.edu, utilize any of the resources that you have even if you can’t get into a Handshake yet, because a point to be made is that for right now junior transfers and incoming freshmen will not have access to Handshake until August 1st. There may be a little time lapse between when this podcast is released and when that happens. But even now you can still go online and find lots of great resources to at least help you polish up a resume and start once you do have access to Handshake, please, please go into that event section and sign up for events. Once you RSVP you will get access to resources and things of that will make available before the event. You’ll get updates on times and space and you’ll also just get reminders of that happening and the career fairs as well.
LV: I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about your newsletter.
KC: Yes. I’m so glad you brought that up Laura. Once you gain access to Handshake, I want every listener, or reader I know a lot of students actually read these podcasts, and actually go into Handshake, click your name scroll down to career interests, and when you click on that there’s a question where you’ll be asked what career newsletters or we call them CareerMail, would you like to receive and when you sign up for the one that’s labeled technically it’s labeled Engineering/EECS. I believe that will make sure that you get our weekly newsletter that I care eight and that is not a self-serving statement. It’s a newsletter where we make sure that students know about all things that are happening on and off campus that are related to engineering career opportunities. So and it’s obviously and it’s free.
LV: So why not take advantage of any bit of information that you can get.
KC: Yes absolutely.
LV: Well thank you so much for coming in today. I really appreciate your time.
KC: Yeah thank you so much for having me again. We’re so, so excited every time we get a new group of students coming in into the College of Engineering we’re excited to meet you all soon.
LV: So thank you everyone for tuning into the not so secret Guide to Being a Berkeley engineer and I will talk to you again. Thank you.