Welcome to Career Services @ the Soll Center for Student Opportunity! The team is devoted to helping you grow personally and professionally during your time at CMC. We have a variety of programs and services for all students. Whether you are a first-year student, a senior, an international student, or someone transferring into Claremont McKenna College, we are here for you and want to be a part of your journey. Please stop by our office (across from the Hub) to learn more or review some highlights below.
GETTING TO KNOW YOURSELF
What is your unique combination of skills, talents and values? What motivates/inspires you? In what environments do you thrive? While these questions can be daunting, the answers to them will lay a foundation for every professional development decision you ever make. Your four years at CMC are the ideal time to invest in getting to know yourself and we encourage you to start this personal investigation from the moment you walk onto campus!
An assessment is a great place to start when diving deep into the question, “Who am I?”, but it is not a one-stop-shop for career development. For example, the assessment is not going to tell you what career you should pursue. The Center’s Career Coaches can work with you to identify what is important to your self-exploration and recommend the proper test for you.
Individualized career coaching is a hallmark of CMC Career Services.
The Career Services team is organized according to eight interest clusters. While all Career Coaches are generalists, each is also assigned to one or more topics of interest. This allows them to deepen their knowledge, network and expertise in certain areas.
Your personal brand describes your unique value proposition to an organization, group or person. You can manage your brand through social media, voicemail and your "elevator pitch."
Handshake is a one-stop personal and career development tool designed just for you. Handshake allows you to create a personal profile reflecting your individual interests, receive information from Career Services and search for on-campus jobs, internships and full-time positions with employers. Through Handshake, you can access the on-campus recruiting program (for events and interviews) and job search database, and view and sign up for workshops, information sessions, career fairs and special events at all 5Cs.
Company research, exploratory networking (i.e. connecting and speaking with people in your own and the CMC network), having informational interviews with alumni and parents, internships, job shadow, and participating in on-campus recruiting activities are some of the many ways that you can explore your interests and start to build out your network.
Use occupational research to begin “ruling in” and “ruling out” specific industries, geographies and roles.
Networking is a critical skill in today’s world but, often, it can feel uncomfortable reaching out to people that you don’t know and asking for help. One of the big advantages of studying at CMC is that you are surrounded by peers, alumni, parents, faculty and administrators who are all willing to be part of your network during your exploration and recruitment.
Internships, whether paid or unpaid, are a very important part of your personal and professional growth. They are a key way to learn about what you want, as well as what you do not want, before you commit to a post-graduate career.
Career fairs/expos/meet-ups are all events that bring a cross section of employers to campus for an interactive introduction to students. This is often a first contact and exploration opportunity to begin your career exploration process.
A Job Shadow is an opportunity that allows CMC students to gain an insider’s view into a specific role within an industry (“interest cluster”), observe on-the-job activities and participate in hands-on learning experiences in the workplace. It is an excellent way to observe first-hand a typical day on the job.
Info Sessions with employers on campus are very important networking tools. They allow employers to add a face and personality to the resume and cover letter that you submit for an interview. Your first impression with a company is often the Info Session.
The Soll Center for Student Opportunity, Career Services, and other institutions/departments across CMC, offer annual Networking Treks which are 2-5 day experiential trips to Industry Centers across the country that take place during the Winter, Spring and Fall breaks.
DESIGNING YOUR FUTURE
Once you have researched your interests and explored your options you can start devising an organized plan that outlines the timeline, people, documents and other preparation necessary to pursue your goals.
The Personal Implementation Plan is a practical tool that outlines the actions that you need to take to achieve your career goals, including clarifying your goals, targeting organizations, identifying contacts you can reach out to, and keeping track of your outreach.
Your resume is your key marketing and branding tool. Once you have a draft of your resume ready for initial review, please upload it into the VMock software. This automated system will give you detailed, line-by-line feedback on the format and content of your document, including key competencies that employers look for when scanning resumes.
Action verbs are a critical component of your resume and any other scholarly documents that you are writing.
The cover letter is the key tool to demonstrate why your skills and background make you a good match with the position for which you are applying.
If you’re planning to apply to graduate school, it’s best to apply early—it will increase your odds of being admitted. There are many components to graduate school applications, including personal statements, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and graduate admission tests.
Employment applications can seem daunting but they usually follow a similar format. The data that you supply on the application is often the same data that is used during your background check so it is important that it is both comprehensive and accurate.
Dressing for Success may sound like a cliché but it is a critical consideration when meeting with potential employers and program directors. Your attire is another important aspect of your brand. It is important that you make every effort to have the proper dress for the type of job you are seeking.
Interviews are an essential part of the job search process and success often depends on the level of preparation that you put in. Different types of interviews require different types of preparation, although there are some interviewing techniques that are easy to master, such as the S-T-A-R method.
Thank-you letters are an incredibly important element of personal and professional communication. They should be written after any kind of interview (i.e., job, graduate school, fellowship), after someone has facilitated an introduction for you or whenever someone has gone out of their way to assist you.
Congratulations - you’ve reached a major milestone – a job offer! It’s decision time! All of your good efforts planning, networking, researching and preparing have paid off. Now is the time to evaluate the offer and negotiate salary (where applicable). The most important thing is to never renege an offer once you have accepted it.
Many of these links with further instructions for logging-in can be found on the Resources page of Handshake.
Essential tools for securing internships and jobs:
Research Sites on Jobs and Industries:
Graduate School Resources: