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.
The ‘68 Center is committed to ensuring that all students have access to experiences that help them secure a successful outcome post-graduation. By engaging with our office early, students will have the tools to learn about a range of career and co-curricular experiences to develop skills and apply knowledge to be competitive for opportunities during and after Williams. Our goal is to prepare and empower every Williams student to achieve their career goals.
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.
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.
Assess yourself & 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 or StengthsQuest would be helpful for your career exploration
- 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
- 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 Career Fair (get tips on how to get the most out of employer events as a first-year and sophomore)
- 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
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. We recommend drafting a resume and then bringing it to an appointment or quick questions for review.
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. Here are some preparation questions to ask us and your mentors:
- 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. We offer headshots during our fall Career and Internship Fair!)
- 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 her 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 Emma
For quick questions, stop by the '68 Center 1:00 - 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Each walk-in meeting is 15-minutes. If you’re ready to discuss career options, resume and cover letter, job applications, or interview skills, use Handshake to set up a half-hour appointment.
Emma Cutrufello, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Director of Career Preparation Programs