Career Preparation is our curriculum composed of important skills and experiences that will provide you with the tools to pursue your goals. Read more about these skills below.
Career preparation starts the day you arrive at Williams. Early engagement will help you understand yourself, your options, and your personal exploration journey at Williams. Here, career exploration is not an end goal but rather a series of personalized experiences and connections that start your first year and prepare you for your career journey.
You don’t need to know what you want to do before you come to talk to us! We are here to help you navigate the career preparation process from our resources to introducing you to career communities and connections to preparing you with key skills to be a strong applicant.
Below are the learning outcomes that we help students attain during their four years at Williams! We teach these skills through workshops, written and verbal communications, and advising appointments, and you'll also learn from alumni and employers.
- Use Handshake (profile, appointments, events, searching, applications)
- Use EphLink (profile, searching, connecting, searching for alumni sourced opportunities)
- Conduct Career Research by Career Community (website, career sites, LinkedIn, alumni, employers)
- Identify and communicate personal skills, interests and values
- Self-reflection and experience reflection skills
- Verbal and written communication using industry-specific language
- Engage the alumni community through informational interviews
- Application skills
- Searching for opportunities
- Cover letters
- Prepared for life after Williams
- Life-long connection to Williams as an alum, employer, etc.
Come talk to us! You don’t need to know what you want to do in your professional life to come to talk to us.
In your first appointment with the '68 Center, here's what we'll cover:
- We'll talk through using Handshake:
- Log-in; make appointments; update profile; select community visibility; select career interests; register for events
- We'll discuss how to use EphLink:
- Log-in; search community function; "helpful tips" page; joining groups; job shadow program; exploration questions younger students can ask alumni
- We'll share an overview of our model and what we mean by "Career Community":
- The ‘68 Center is organized by career community. Just like how you don’t need to choose your major when you arrive at Williams, you don’t need to choose your career community! You can begin to learn about career communities on our website and by attending events you are interested in, like alumni speakers and our Career Treks.
- We'll show where to find career community info and our resume/cover letter resources on our website.
- Finally, we'd love to get to know you a bit more in this first meeting. What are your skills, interests, and values? What goals do you have? What excites you about career exploration and what makes you nervous?
Below are additional questions that you can ask us as well as some FAQs:
- I’m not sure how to get started because I’m interested in so many things (tip, lots of students don’t know where to start, so trying new experiences and reflecting on them will help you find your unique path)
- How do I fit career exploration in with all of the other things I have to do? (tip, all the things you do on campus are PART of your career preparation)
- I want to find an internship. How do I start? (tip, Handshake is a good place to start, and also schedule a meeting with an advisor to learn about industry-specific resources)
- I’m a sophomore trying to decide my major(s); I’m thinking of three majors to help me be more marketable to employers, does that make sense? (tip, major doesn’t equal career and courses are one way but not the only way to explore interests, so you don’t “need” to add the major for employers, but we can help you think through the skills you need for the fields you are interested in).
- I’ve never made a resume, can we work on that? (tip, college resumes should be one page; first years will have information from high school on the resume)
- I’ve heard of cover letters, but I don’t know what they are (tip, most first years have never written a cover letter. It's all about connecting your story with what the organization is looking for)
- Career Systems
- Handshake seems overwhelming, can you help me navigate it? (tip, Handshake is a great resource because it has so many opportunities, but it’s also important to know how to use it for your interests--remember to update your Career Interests in the drop-down menu with your name and use the filter function on the jobs tab to select internship, industry, skills, etc.)
- LinkedIn? Do I have to? (tip, LinkedIn has many advantages for conducting career research on organizations and finding alumni. You can “follow” organizations to learn more about their jobs and internships and search for Williams alumni by typing Williams College in the search bar, selecting alumni on the left menu and narrowing by location, major, field, etc. You can also import your LinkedIn profile to EphLink, our mentorship platform.)
- Talking to people
- I’ve heard a lot about the alumni Network at Williams but I’m not sure how to use it as a first-year/sophomore (tip, in your first two years, know that alums want to support you and help your navigate Williams; EphLink & LinkedIn are good ways to research this network. We can also help you write a sample message to an alum--check out the resources for mentees)
- How do I talk about myself when I feel like I don’t know anything yet (tip, it’s okay to say you are exploring! We can help you come with a few sentences that focus on your strengths, interests, and values)
- I’d like to message an alum on EphLink because their job seems really interesting, what do I say? (Tip, ask them questions! Ask how they got started, what they like about their work, tips for what to do at Williams to help explore that career field. After this conversation that focuses on information gathering, it’s appropriate to ask if the alum is aware of any internships at their organization if you’d be interested)
- Funding/Summer Opportunities
- Can first years and sophomores get funding? (tip, our internship funding through ASIP is available for all years; we can help you decide when is the best time for you to apply. Summer fellowships and summer science research depending on interest may also be available. Fellowships also has a list of more department-based summer opportunities)
- As a first-year, I’ve heard that I should have an internship every summer, is that true? (tip, internships are one way to explore and first years can find internships. You can also use your summers to build skills like language or software programs; engage in your personal community; or combine a part-time with job shadowing and informational interviewing)
- I’m interested in doing research for a faculty member this summer. How do I ask? (tip, we can write a sample email together. Talking to faculty about opportunities and asking for help is a skill we can help all students build)
Meet With Janine
Use Handshake to set up a half-hour appointment.
Director of Career Education
- We'll talk through using Handshake:
By taking small, intentional steps, you will achieve your goals. In your first and second year, don't think, "I need to find a career" or even, "I need an internship." Rather, start creating the small habits that will make the overall goal easier to achieve. We recommend the below checklists and timelines to get started.
In your junior and senior year, you'll continue to gain specific skills in your areas of interest and learn how to connect with alumni and employers.
These checklists are guidelines, and sometimes you may be feel like you need to start the process over as you learn more about yourself and your interests shift. That is completely fine! As you become more comfortable with self-reflection and the skills of career exploration, you'll be able to quickly apply the tools of career preparation to your new area of interest. At the '68 Center, we're happy to help, no matter where you are in the process!
- Academic courses
- Choose classes that you are curious about and try new subjects
- Talk to people & start to form your personal advisory board
- Mentors can include peers, faculty, alums, family friends, your Dean, and your Career Advisors at the ‘68 Center!
- As you move through your time at Williams, ask questions of these folks about how they navigate their career choices like finding internships, applying for jobs, asking for help, navigating lived experiences.
- Our hope is that you will leave Williams with a list of people that you feel support you and your growth and with whom you can continue to ask questions and brainstorm ideas.
- Volunteering and civic engagement (CLiA)
- Student organizations and clubs
- Attend Career Events, including the Fall Job & Internship Fair
- Read Alumni profiles on LinkedIn and Ephlink
- Job shadowing on EphLink
- Attend a Career Trek
- Part-time jobs on campus or in the community
- Summer or Winter Study Internships (need funding? Look at our funding program for summer internships)
- Summer fellowships -- several open to first-years and sophomores
- Get to know our career communities and learn about career fields.
- Read internship descriptions to learn more about what skills employers are looking for.
- Academic courses
The below is a sample journey of a student through the Career Preparation process at Williams, complete with applying for things they did not get and having moments of self-doubt. This is all part of the process, and our goal is to give you the tools to learn more about yourself at each step of the journey and know all the options available to you, so you can quickly have a plan "B" if your first choice doesn't materialize. This is just a sample and your journey may look very similar or different!
- Learns about Career Center in summer or during first days
- Creates Handshake account and completes profile/career interests
- Creates EphLink account with profile
- Makes first appointment with advisor to learn about Career Center, discuss interests and goals and create resume
- Attends HYGT in career community(ies) of interest and gains alumni contact information
- Applies for on-campus job through Handshake
- Learns about Alumni Sponsored Internship Program from a friend and attends an ASIP workshop in the winter
- Applies for unpaid internship at a nonprofit and receives ASIP funding to support internship
- Completes internship and reflects on skills, interests and values alignment and misalignment
- Meets with advisor to discuss major choice
- Attends HYGT in second career community of interest
- Attends workshop on how to have networking conversations
- Applies for and attends Career Trek in career community of interest and meets alumni
- Uses EphLink to search for other alumni in area of interest and sets up meeting
- Applies for fellowship to support language study during summer (does not get fellowship)
- Applies for internship through CES and receives support for summer research
- Begins volunteering through Center for Learning in Action program
- Attends Job & Internship Fair and learns about future internship/job opportunities
- Learns about Study Away and applies for program for fall
- While studying away, meets with career advisor to discuss role of Study Away in career exploration
- Considers adding a second major
- Uses EphLink to find a job shadowing experience
- Applies for SPEC 21 to support a Winter Study internship with alumni they met through Career Trek
- Changes major and discusses implications with career advisor
- Conducts career research on field on interest and learns about graduate school options
- Begins to panic because it seems like jobs are being posted in August of senior year but aren’t anything they want to do
- Meets with career advisor to confirm industry timelines and update resume and prepare cover letters
- Talks with alumni found on EphLink about entry level opportunities in field of interest
- Applies for jobs on Handshake and does not hear back from them
- Attends Career Meetup and has conversation with an employer that is exciting
- Applies for job through Handshake
- Meets with career advisor on interview preparation and negotiation advice
- Gets job
- Follows up with recent alumni conversations to notify of results of job search
- Completes FDS
- Talks to advisor about planning for graduate school in the future
- Five years later, returns to give a HYGT talk to current student
- Recruits and hires fellow Ephs for jobs or internships
The '68 Center has put together a career preparation curriculum through videos to help you take actionable steps toward exploring and pursuing your career goals. These "essentials" cover everything from making decisions about your next step in career exploration to negotiating your first offer.
Assess yourself and get to know “future of work” skills. Look for themes across the below lists and come talk to us about our assessments.
- Skills and Strengths: What you do well
- Description of World Economic Forum skills for your future and how to gain them during College
- Make an appointment with Emma and ask if SkillScan would be helpful for you.
- Interests: What you are curious about. Questions to reflect on to gain insight into your interests. Look for trends:
- Skills and Strengths: What you do well
- What role do I take on when I’m interested in a topic (for example, in class)?
- How role do I play in my community or friend group?
- How do I learn best?
- How do I help others (advising, listening, connecting, collaborating, information providing)?
- What books do I gravitate to in a bookstore?
- What roles do I choose to take on in orgs?
- What am I curious about?
- Values: What matters to you
Reflect regularly on your skills, interests, and values. Think about experiences in which all three felt aligned versus experiences where you one of the categories was "off." As you complete internships, talk to alumni and employers, and read job descriptions, look for and ask questions about the skills, interests, and values that you know you want to explore, and through reflection, research and experience, you'll find the combination that works best for you!
Additional assessments that we recommend
StrengthsFinder -- this assessment based on research by Gallup focuses on innate strengths, which are combination of talent plus learning. Cost to students is $20; eligible students can apply for the Career Access Fund.
Personality Assessment -- this is a new and currently free assessment that provides feedback on how you think, how you work with others, and how you apply yourself.
Career Personality Profiler from Truity uses personality and interests questions.
My Next Move from O'NET is an interests inventory and also provides some basic recommendations for the types of work you might enjoy.
The Find Occupations feature also from O*NET is a great way to start learning about what people do in certain careers, like finance. So if you select "finance" in the Career Clusters drop-down, you can read more about the skills and education required to be an accountant, for example.
First years and sophomores will need to create a college resume, which can be used to apply to on-campus jobs, internships, fellowships and research opportunities. Your resume should be one page.
To get started, please visit our resume and cover letter resource page, which has a resume and cover letter guidebook. There is a sample template for first years. We recommend drafting a resume and then bringing it to an appointment or quick questions for review