“What kind of career can I get when I graduate with this degree?” is a common question during our advising sessions.
Many times, the answer ends up being another form of question asking “What do you want to do when you graduate?” – A part of figuring out what career path you want to pursue is through practical experience. Experiential learning can help you narrow down your interest. Getting good grades and learning as much as you can in your classes is important, but it is not the only key to landing a career. Not only do employers hire recent graduates with a high GPA – they also look for well-rounded individuals with practical experiences and skills that are applicable to the workplace.
In this guide, you will find information on how to make the most of your college years and develop your career potential. Explore learning opportunities by studying abroad, participating in UCDC, and attending public lecture series. Apply for internships and find options by visiting the Career Services Center Internship Supersite and the Academic Internship Program. Gain leadership experience by joining a student organization or volunteering. With that said, take advantage of these opportunities and utilize the many resources that UCSD offers.
Join a Student Organization
Gain leadership experience, participate in networking events, and learn from professional guest speakers. Take on leadership roles and build your resume with leadership skills. Examples of some internationally focused student organizations are the International Studies Student Association, Prospect Journal, and Model UN.
Explore Learning Opportunities
Explore new interests - take a class outside of your comfort zone by enrolling in a 1-unit Freshman Seminar. The workload is light and topics range from “Engineering the Heart” to “Facebook America.”
Get a Summer Job
Make the most of your summer by working. Gain office work and/or retail work experience - many employers’ value skills in customer service, ability to multi-task and to work in a team.
Connect with your Professors
Attending office hours is a great way to get to know your professors. You can gain valuable insights about academia and different professions. It is also a great way to practice networking skills.
Utilize the UCSD Career Services Center
The Career Services Center offers students access to internships, diverse career connections, and support to effectively apply for jobs and graduate school.
Imagine your post-graduation life. Does the career you want require work or internship experience? Are you considering graduate school? Do you want to take a few years off after graduating to gain work experience before going back to school? Think of options to consider. Make plans and back-up plans.
Apply for Internships
An internship will add experience to your resume and could lead to a great career. There is no better way to decide what career you want to pursue than by testing it out.
Learn to Teach English Abroad
You can become qualified to teach English abroad through the Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Certificate Program at UC San Diego Extension. With proper planning, UC San Diego students can earn a certificate by the time they graduate. A TEFL certificate, along with a 4-year degree, can open doors to teaching job opportunities around the globe. Take advantage of the many benefits to UC San Diego students such as:
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Plan to Study Abroad
Gain a global experience by studying abroad. It is a great opportunity to connect with students and employers from other parts of the world. Start planning during your sophomore year to study abroad during your junior or senior year. With department approval, you can also earn academic credit for your International Studies major/minor.
Connect with your Professors and Teaching Assistants
Instructors and Teaching Assistants (TAs) are professionals and researchers who can provide insight on various career fields. You may want to ask them for a letter of recommendation in the future, so practice your professionalism and build those connections during office hours.
Attend Career Events and Fairs
The Career Services Center and many student organizations host many networking and career development events throughout the year.
Industry Networking Night
Generally held mid-November, the Industry Networking Night, hosted by Career Services, is the biggest networking event of the year. Not all attending employers will be currently recruiting; however, this is your chance to meet with company representatives to learn more about the company and future employment opportunities. If recruiting, they will be seeking juniors for internships and seniors for full-time positions for after graduation.
Apply for an Internship
If you held an internship as a sophomore, consider exploring another career field or company with a different internship experience during your junior year. In 2013, forty-four percent of UCSD graduating seniors secured their first jobs out of college by converting their internship or previous job experience into a permanent career position.
Attend More Career Events and Fairs
Attend Industry Networking night and career fairs - this time seeking full-time employment opportunities for post-graduation.
Look for Jobs
Use Port Triton, job search engines like Indeed.com or Glassdoor, and visit company websites regularly for job and internship opportunities. Schedule one-to-one career advising sessions to make sure your resume is polished and up to date.
Connect with Your Professors
Continue to attend office hours and get to know your professors better. Professors can also offer valuable insights about the professional and academic field. They may also be willing to write you a letter of recommendation or serve as a reference on a job application.
Note: You should only ask professors for a letter or recommendation if they know you well enough and are able to recommend you based on your academic merits.
Learn another Language
If you have a lighter load during your senior year, learn another language by taking some introductory language classes. Especially with your interest in International Studies, your ability to speak multiple languages is an asset in an international career.