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.Important Links
- 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 your host, Laura Vogt, the Associate Director of Marketing and Communications in the College of Engineering. Today I’m so happy to have Katie Crawford from the Career Center with us. Katie, please introduce yourself and tell us more about your role at UC Berkeley and what the Career Center does for our students.
KATIE CRAWFORD: My name is Katie Crawford. I’m an Assistant Director for Engineering and Physical Sciences at the Career Center on the counseling team. So that means that I am responsible for providing all the one-on-one career counseling and career coaching services for students in the College of Engineering, as well as, all of our resources – including events throughout each semester to help support students in what we call it the Career Center the three Cs. So the Career Center is a pretty large department here on Berkeley’s campus and we aim to support students in providing you with career clarity, career competitiveness, and career connections. So that is through a variety of things in my role, obviously, I have a counseling role. So that’s one-on-one work with students and event management. So we provide lots of workshops panels. We get alumni on campus who graduated recently, or possibly even 20 30 years ago, to come in and share their experiences with students and get them connected. So all the work that we do is meant to help students be successful once they graduate.
LV: And I know one of the things when we talk about the Career Center that comes up a lot is Handshake. Can you tell us a little bit more about a Handshake and what it is?
KC: You know in our attempt to help students prepare, give support and be empowered to be successful in attaining careers that they really care about we have a platform called Handshake which is a platform which houses all of those resources that I mentioned earlier. It’s a job search platform specifically for Berkeley students. So anytime an employer comes to campus or contacts us anyone on campus really who wants to hire Cal students, which as you can imagine we have some of the best engineering programs in the world and they’re literally beating down our doors to get to our students. So we get them into Handshake, they create their profiles and then they post their jobs and internships. So that’s a big piece. It’s also a space for students to interact with each other in a professional way. It’s like LinkedIn specifically for Berkeley students. It’s also where we host all those events that I just mentioned including recruiting events, networking events, events where you can just come and learn things, like how to write a resume or how to actually attempt to be successful at a career fair. So all of those things are in Handshake too. If you’re a freshman listening to this podcast you will be able to access the system in August. I believe that’s the same for transfer students as well. August 1st and then you’ll be able to go in and explore and it’s something we suggest that you open up and explore every day because it’s also somewhere where we share lots of resources.
LV: How can the students get a one-on-one appointment with a career counselor?
KC: Yeah that’s a great question. So we have two counselors right now who are seeing engineering students. So you’ll be able to log in and make an appointment with one of those counselors which is me and one of our other counselors Elizabeth Sanders. The way that you do that is by logging into Handshake and then you’ll click Career Center. It’s a tab at the top of the page and the drop down menu will have make an appointment as an option. Then when you click on that you’ll see a number of different options for appointments you can make and you’ll choose Engineering and Physical Sciences and that’s where Elizabeth and I will come up. We also have resources for international students. So we have an international student career counselor so they can make appointments with her as well. Her name is Jim Quan. And those appointments are really great for students who have specific questions about their career clarity about a specific job search strategy goal setting. If you’re looking to have yo ur resumé critiqued for the first time or you’re just wanting to talk about your job search for the first time you’re better off actually making an appointment with a peer advisor which is just drop in style so you don’t actually have to make that appointment ahead of time between 12 and four Monday through Friday starting two weeks into the school year. In August you’ll be able to make drop in appointments there and it’s first come first served. So those students are highly trained. I used to supervise them. I may be a little biased but they’re really great and they’re really great. Her main cover letter critiques and just general questions and it’s your peers. So you’re seeing a fellow undergrad who sort of walks the walk and talked the talk.
LV: I know that we do a lot of events together between engineering student services and the College of Engineering and the Career Center. And one of the ones that is my most favorite that we do that’s kind of a big event is our career conference that’s going to be the second Saturday of the semester this year and we do it on Saturdays which is a little scary for some folks but also it gives you time to be here and not have to worry about going to a class at the beginning of the semester. Can you tell us a little bit more about it.
KC: Sure. I’d love to. It’s a good point to be made that the Career Center is across campus over by the student union but we partner a lot with the college of engineering specifically with the engineering student services where your advisors are located. So one of the things we collab on is our career conference it’ll be September 7th this year starting it bright and early 9:00 a.m. which again especially for Engineering Tech students not to stereotype but you like to stay up late. It’s a little early but it’s definitely worth your while. So it’s a day in which we bring keynote speakers workshop presenters from industry as well as alumni who have graduated from the College of Engineering to come in. And it’s a full day of speeches workshops and lunch breakfast networking and it’s all meant to help kick-start students recruiting season. So to support and empower you to jump in and be confident in what to expect and how to prepare for the upcoming recruiting season because recruiting for summer internships and full time positions starts really September. So we want to get you ready and it’s a really fun day. And there’s lots of food so lots of reasons to to come and interact with some really really inspiring people.
LV: And you mentioned the career fairs and that’s pretty much it’s right around the corner. You start right off the beginning of the semester. So tell us a little bit more about the career fairs and how good student it can prepare for them.
KC: Career fairs are a really big resource for students on campus. I would venture to say they are the best resource for students. If you are going to be looking for summer internships or full time positions or if you’re just wanting to explore and talk to different companies that have different types of positions you think you might be interested in some day career fairs start really early because that’s when companies are looking for our students. So our first career fair of the year for engineering students specifically is the career fair. It’s not specifically for students but it is for employers who are looking for software engineering data science technical technical roles that has traditionally been a one day affair we have changed it to a two day fair. So now it has been broken up into an internship day and a full time day. So if you’re looking for internships that’s a great opportunity if you’re looking for full time you’ll definitely want to go to the full time day and after that it’s a whirlwind of another three day career fair later in September. We have a civil engineering fair in October. And those are all really great opportunities to get connected directly with employers which we’re finding more and more is incredibly integral in a student’s short and long term success here at Cal and for the career fairs.
LV: Is there any difference between if you’re going as a freshman and a transfer student.
KC: Yes. So that’s a great question Laura. As a first year student you are absolutely welcome to attend career fairs. There are days in which we bring sometimes over 100 employers into the RSF. It’s a big basketball court area that we transform into an area with lots of tables. They setup swag. They set up their flags in their their logos and say you get a map and you know who you’re gonna go talk to and all of these companies bring recruiters but also engineers and a lot of them are Cal alums so they’re really excited to be back on campus and they want to talk to you about what they do what they’re hiring for and they want you to talk to them about what you’re looking for. So as a freshman there aren’t a whole ton of companies that are specifically targeting first year students. So you may end up having more fruitful conversations about learning how you can be competitive later but you also you can go in and you can bring resumes but we want to manage expectations and know that freshmen may walk in not having a ton of companies that are specifically looking for a first year student. But it’s still an incredible learning experience as a transfer student. However we suggest that you have your wheels greased and Brick come in guns blazing with a resumé which you absolutely have things to put on your resume from community college. And we want you to slap that Berkeley degree on their the minute you start your classes and our employers are absolutely looking for transfer students for internships. So that is that’s the difference is transfer students will definitely be expected to come to the career fair and they will definitely be recruited for freshmen it’s more of a learning experience.
LV: Well that’s good to know that there’s a little bit of a difference there. And since we’ve talked about it a couple of times now how. What is the best place or where is the best online place for students to get resumé information.
KC: I’m so glad you asked so a lot of times some students will will feel like the first step in creating a great resumé is to go straight to the Career Center which we definitely want to get you in our doors. We are your support system but we also want you to know that we’ve worked really hard to get resources online because we know that you’re probably wanting to work on some of this stuff before you even start. There are gonna be students out there. I was one of them when I was in college who was a do it myself kind of person and I didn’t feel like I always needed to go in person and I could look online and find those resources myself. So one of the best resources that we have is our resources that are on our website careered out Berkeley out to you. We are just recently uploading brand new resumé templates for different majors so there are three different engineering majors that we have showcased but it’s going to be over 20 résumé samples that are all representative of what we kn ow employers are looking for in 2019. So we’ll have those. We also have resources through Handshake and in a couple of different places but one of them is called Vault and it’s a subscription service that we provide all Cal students and once you get into a Handshake you have access to vault and that’s a place where you’ll find lots of videos articles and samples. The last is a set of YouTube videos which we’re actually developing this summer on all kinds of topics but one of them is resumé development and it will be really great especially for those first year and transfer students to find so that youtube channel can be found on our Web site. I believe and put a link on our website. Yes let’s make sure you get all the links that we’re mentioning here. Let’s put it inside the podcast link too.
LV: Are there any in-person opportunities for students to get their resumes evaluated?
KC: Yes. So I mentioned you know the Career Center doesn’t have to be your first step but if you’ve got a resume you feel pretty good about it and you just want to have another set of eyes you can get your resume a look at in-person by a peer advisor who’s an undergraduate student who I mentioned where are highly trained to work with students specifically on resume and cover letter development. They can also see a career counselor like me or Elizabeth and a 30 minute appointment although those tend to be a little bit harder to come by being that there are two of us. Another way of getting your résumé looked at is I also provide drop in appointments on Wednesdays. So I believe we are going to go back to a drop in model this year to allow students to come in on a first come first serve basis on Wednesday afternoons which is also an engineering student services has there advising drop ins and you’ll be able to come in and get a quick 20 minute appointment where you can get your résumé looked at and I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that your peers or some of your best resources.
LV: Let’s talk a little bit more about career related workshops that you have that I know we’ve already got a great calendar fill out for the year. One of my favorite ones that we do is cupcakes and headshots which before you come in and get your cupcake and your headshot you do your LinkedIn workshop and then in order to make that LinkedIn profile even better we do professional headshots for you but can you tell me a little bit more about all these workshops that you’re going to put on.
KC: Yeah I’m so glad that you mentioned that because we do have the career conference but that doesn’t end there. So we also host a number of different events. We’ll be hosting an event here in fact all our resumé critiques for computer science students or students who are interested in it will bring employers in to do quick 15 minute resume critiques the day before the fair. We’ll also be providing a three day resumé workshop series. They’re all the same workshop but we offer it three times so that students can work it into their schedules. That is the first week of classes I kind of went back in time a little bit there but the first week of classes if you’re interested in getting information on writing a technical resume from a member of the Career Center who work specifically with engineering students definitely mark your calendars so that three part series will be the first week of classes. In addition to the resumé workshops the conference and the AEC’s rhythmic critiques we will also have cupcakes and headshots which is a super fun day where we have an hour of just figuring out LinkedIn What is it how do I create a profile how do I maximize my usage of it as a Cal Engineering student and then you jump right into getting your professional headshot taken and really yummy cupcakes. So that’s a super fun event that as pretty low hanging fruit it’s fun and you get to sit listen and get your headshot taken.
LV: And so far linked in the summer I think would be a good time that if people wanted to do stuff getting ready to be a Berkeley engineer you could go in and set up that LinkedIn profile. How useful is going to profile knowledge is something that you know employers actually use regularly.
KC: Laura I’m very glad you asked. I get accused of of secretly King for Lincoln sometimes because of how much I talk about it. But it is because working at the Career Center here at Cal we have a unique position in which we also work very closely with employers and we ask the questions. What is your hiring process look like. How do you actually choose the students that you do and almost all of our employers will fully admit that they are vetting students on LinkedIn before they invite you in for interviews before they decide to hire you. They may actually look you up as soon as they get your resume may and they are also spending a whole lot of money on a recruiting account in LinkedIn where they’re actually able to go in and find you before you even find them. So because of that it really is your online living breathing resumé. But that’s not it. It’s not something just it’s online it’s also LinkedIn is an incredible place to start networking with each other with those employers who I just mentioned with recruiters with engineering alumni at Cal. It’s a really really interactive platform and it’s truly the most powerful tool that any student in the world has. But at Berkeley specifically our alumni base makes LinkedIn just an incredible tool LinkedIn and Handshake are definitely your top resources.
LV: And this summer is an amazing time to start exploring LinkedIn and then I would suggest going then when you’re in LinkedIn and personalizing your handle because then you could put on your resume and you could put it on a business card and have it not just be whatever the generic thing Wellington originally assigned you exactly.
KC: So if you just you can even just Google personalized you are all on LinkedIn and you’ll find the directions it’s very easy. And yeah I can’t say enough about LinkedIn and I really enjoy providing those workshops too because there’s more to LinkedIn than most people realize.
LV: Excellent. And we talked a little bit about how we could use LinkedIn to start networking but what other ways do students have that they can network through the Career Center with their peers or employers.
KC: Yes. So it is two thousand nineteen. Gone are the days of just getting online looking up internships and jobs sending your resumé crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. We know this for. For the engineering and technical areas but it’s truly true for every every area of industry now. So what’s the answer. The answer is networking and making connections so the minute you get to campus you’re going to have lots of opportunities to take part in events where we have alumni employers recruiters who are coming to campus because they want to meet you. So that is can that is facilitated through in large part the Career Center. So one of those three C’s that I mentioned in the beginning is providing students with career connections. So the first opportunity that you’ll have is that career conference. But we also have a career connection series where you can come to the Career Center from usually 6 to 8 p.m. and we bring in groups of 15 to 20 alumni who work in specific industries. An d you can just casually network and ask questions about what they do how they got to where they are what they would suggest current college students do to get to where they are what their interviews were like. All that stuff it’s very casual. And one of the first ones we’re doing is consulting. So if you’re interested in consulting careers as an engineer you can go to that. We also have career connections data science. We’re doing a biotech event and then the spring we’ll also do a tech for good career connections as well as other technical ones. So in addition to that we also have career fairs and info sessions galore. So on Handshake I seriously suggest once you’re in the system on Sundays set a reminder go into Handshake and look at what’s happening throughout the week we have a calendar. And mark your calendar for the things that you want to come to because I meet with companies weekly and in the last week I’ve worked with three big name companies who they’re interns and they’re alums that I met with all told us that they got their positions through some sort of networking event. The etiquette dinner is actually really great because now we’re seeing more and more employers who are doing coffee chats. Oh that’s right. Coffee chats informal lunches where they invite you know 10 students who they’re looking at for interns to just come have lunch with other employees. And you’re always being interviewed if you’re in a situation like that. So it’s really important for students to understand how to actually eat and drink around professionals.
LV: Oh that totally makes sense. I hadn’t even thought about that. I’m constantly putting things about coffee chats on our newsletter. And what’s one other way that students can keep track of like what’s happening. How do you send out announcements or anything like that.
KC: I’m glad you asked. We also have a weekly newsletter called Career mail that we send out through the Career Center. I actually curate that newsletter and I collect any and all career related events workshops info sessions career fairs anything that’s pertinent to an engineering student. We’ll be in that newsletter as well as things that are going on around campus like the newsletter that Laura sends from engineering student services departmental newsletters and things I hear about off campus as well. So that’s a really easy way of making sure that you’re in the know and you can sign up for that on Handshake. You’ll go into your career interests. You will be actually prompted to fill out those career interests when you create your profile. Don’t skip that step because you will be asked if you’d like to sign up for career mail and you want to click the engineering box. You’ll also have the opportunity to sign up for other career newsletters and including things like pre health business if you’re really interested in business environment and sustainability etc..
LV: So Katie what else do you want students to keep in mind when thinking of careers and how the Career Center can help them.
KC: Yeah I have one big piece of advice that’s very timely I really like to share on these podcasts very recent anecdotes that I’m hearing from students or employers. So just yesterday I was at a company called in video and we heard from an alarm who’s been very successful there and I asked what kind of advice he has for current students. And he said the number one thing that he would suggest which reflects every piece of advice we give students is know that your degree is really important. Being an engineering student at Berkeley is incredible. But your degree will not speak for itself. So we really suggest that students understand that what you do outside of class whether that be activity is student groups leadership hackathon is competition teams part time jobs internships sure part personal projects research all of the things you’re doing outside of classes what’s going to really differentiate you. And it’s really important to start thinking about those things as soon as possible knowing that it’s also very important to maintain a good GPA and get your feet firmly on the ground first. But we really want you to get involved in the Career Center is the only place on campus where we’re our only role is to make sure that you’re successful when you graduate. So definitely interact with us as soon as possible and we’ll help you set up a plan so that you can put those things in motion that I just mentioned and thank you everyone for tuning in to the not so secret guy and being a Berkeley engineer.
LV: Thank you Katie for coming in today and giving us all this great information about the Career Center and what amazing resources it offers our students. And thank you everyone for tuning into the (Not So) Secret Guide to Being a Berkeley Engineer and I will talk to you again next week!