Whether you’re searching for an internship, applying to graduate school, or looking for a job after graduation, here are some resources to help you along the way.
- How To’s
- How to Apply to Grad School
- How To Create a Resume
- How to Search for a Job
- Truman Resources
- Useful Links
How to Apply to Grad School:
Most grad school applications are consistent in requirements and have the same basic components:
- GRE or other standardized test scores
- Letters of recommendation
- Admissions essay(s), also known as a personal statement
Your transcript provides information about your academic background, including your grades and overall GPA, as well as the courses you’ve taken.
You will need to contact Truman’s Registrar’s Office to request to have your transcript sent to each graduate program to which you’d like to forward a transcript.
You should begin this process early to allow time to process your request and send the transcripts (sometimes as much as 2-3 weeks). You should also check to make sure your transcript has arrived at each of the programs to which you’ve applied.
Graduate Record Exams (GREs) or Other Standardized Test Score
Most graduate programs require standardized exams such as the GREs and law, medical, and business schools usually require different exams (the LSAT, MCAT, and GMAT).
You can take standardized tests early, such as the spring or summer before you apply, to help guide your school and program selection and to ensure that your scores arrive before the any deadlinse.
Letters of Recommendation
The quality of your letters rests on the quality of your relationships with professors. Make a good impression on professors, make research contacts with faculty, and seek out experiences that will set your apart from other students.
Take care and choose appropriate references. Remember that a good recommendation letter helps your application tremendously but a bad or even neutral letter will send your graduate application into the rejection pile. Do not ask for a letter from a professor who knows nothing more about you than the fact that you got an A – such letters do not enhance your application, but detract from it. Be courteous and respectful in asking for letters and provide enough information to help the professor write a helpful letter.
Letters from employers can also be included if they include information on your duties and aptitude relating to your field of study (or your motivation and quality of work, overall). Examples of letters NOT to include are those from friends or family. Such letters are a poor attempt to impress the committee members who instead look for students who have proof of a real passion and involvement in work pertaining to their field.
The admissions essay is your opportunity to speak up for yourself. Carefully structure your essay. Be creative and informative as you introduce yourself and explain why you want to attend graduate school and why each program is a perfect match to your skills.
Before you begin writing, consider your qualities. First think about who will be reading your statement and what they are looking for in an essay. Not only are they committee members. They are scholars who are searching for the kind of motivation that implies a dedicated and intrinsic interest in the matters dealt with in their field of study. And they are looking for someone who will be productive and interested in their work.
Explain your relevant skills, experiences, and accomplishments into your essay. Focus on how your educational and occupational experiences such as research led you to this program. Don’t rely only on emotional motivation (such as “I want to help people” or “I want to learn”). Describe how this program will benefit you (and how your skills can benefit the faculty within it), where you see yourself in the program and how it fits into your future goals. Be specific: What do you offer? Some programs require students to complete one or several admissions essays on specific topics, such as addressing questions to illustrate applicants’ critical analysis skills. Always answer the question.
Although not part of the application, some programs use interviews to get a look at finalists. Sometimes what looks like a great match on paper isn’t in person. If you’re asked to interview for a graduate program, remember that this is your opportunity to determine how well a fit the program is for you. In other words, you’re interviewing them, as much as they are interviewing you.
The process of applying to graduate school is stressful, regardless of your competence and preparation. Take control of the process by understanding the requirements and viewing the application process as a series of tasks to complete.
How To Create a Resume
The hardest part of writing a resume can be getting started. One method is to set a clear goal or career objective, and make sure your resume reflects that objective. You don’t necessarily have to state your objective on your resume, but write a summary statement to show how the particular job matches your career goals.
A resume should be tailored to the job you are applying for; utilize the verbs and phrases used in the job description to showcase your skills and ability to complete the required job. The content on your resume may be the first things your future employer ever learns about you.
When writing your resume, remember to:
- Be truthful. State your abilities accurately.
- Target your audience. Highlight skills and activities relevant to the job.
- Keep it brief. Limit your resume to one or two pages, and use fewer words to make it easier for possible employers to scan through.
- Write and rewrite. Plan to write several versions of your resume before it feels right.
- Peer Reviewed. Having others look at your resume can help catch any mistake you may have missed. The Career Center can help you create or review your resume.
- Be professional. Print your resume on high-grade paper using a quality printer.
- Be accurate. Proofread your resume (and have a friend do the same) for any errors.
- Follow up. Call or send a letter to the employer to restate your interest in the position.
How to Search for a Job
As a current or future Truman student, it may be time to consider your career path. By learning how to research options, realize your strengths, and acquire new skills, as well as muster the courage to make a change, you can discover the career that’s right for you. It is important to find a job that you enjoy and find meaningful.
Why is finding meaningful work important?
Since so much of our time is spent either at work, traveling to and from work, or thinking about work, it inevitably plays a huge role in our lives. If you feel bored or unsatisfied with what you do for large parts of the day, it can take a serious toll on your physical and mental health. You may feel burned out and frustrated, anxious, depressed, or unable to enjoy time at home knowing that another workday lays ahead.
Having to concentrate for long periods on tasks you find mundane, repetitive, or unsatisfying can cause high levels of stress. What’s more, if you don’t find your work meaningful and rewarding, it’s hard to generate the effort and enthusiasm needed to advance in your job or career. As well as feeling happy and satisfied, you are far more likely to be successful in an occupation that you feel passionate about.
How do you start the search?
1. Obtain job leads
The most important activity for recent graduates is finding and developing job leads, job leads are actual or potential job openings. The best job leads come from your network of contacts. They are the most current and you may be able to leverage inside information about the job to tailor your resume and interview responses to become a top candidate. Plus, employers favor applicants referred to them.
If you don’t have a big network (yours is bigger than you first think), or you don’t have many contacts in a certain industry, occupation, profession, or location, one of the most underutilized tools, especially for new grads, is the use of informational interviews. As the name implies, it’s a meeting in which you seek information (and further contacts and potential job leads) from the person you interview. Informational interviews are a powerful resource and should be a key tool in your job-search.
Informational interviews are about expanding your network. One out of every 12 informational interviews results in a job offer. That’s why informational interviewing is the ultimate networking technique.
2. Know what it takes
Different fields have different application requirements, and you need to know what those are for the field you are interested in. Do you need a resume, a cover letter, a writing sample,or a portfolio? You also need to know what these materials look like in your field and which skills and experiences you need to emphasize. A legal resume is different, both in form and content, from a management resume, which is different from a marketing resume. Don’t have a clue? Try to arrange an informational interview with a professional in the field you want to work in and learn what it takes.
3. Perfect your application materials
Always have your application materials reviewed by someone who is a better editor than you are. After editing and polishing your resume 100 times, you are probably too close to see the small problems that need to be fixed. Have your materials reviewed again whenever you make revisions or add updates. Don’t know any good editors? If not try visiting the Career Center.
4. Make that first impression count
With everyone you meet at the employer’s office, especially with the interviewer, you want to make your first impression count. Stand up straight. Look the interviewer in the eye. Smile, and extend your hand for a firm, but not knuckle-crushing, handshake. (Again, these introductory behaviors can be practiced with your friends and family to polish your behavior and enhance your confidence.)
5. Never stop your follow-up
Remember how you kept hounding that one professor to raise your grade — how you would not take any other answer because you felt you deserved the better grade? And remember how it worked? The same holds true for job-hunting in the sense that the job-seeker who regularly follows up with prospective employers are continuing to build your case and express interest and fit with the organization and will be given the most serious consideration.
Yes, it’s true that you have already invested quite a bit of time and energy from obtaining job leads, writing and polishing your resume, preparing for interviews, and taking part in the interviews. However, sometimes the difference between getting called back for another interview and getting eventually rejected is the follow-up.
Follow-up starts before you even get called in for an interview by contacting the hiring manager (after you have applied for the position) to ensure he or she has all the information needed to make a decision. The follow-ups should continue after the interview with a thank-you letter to each person who interviews you and continues later with calls or emails to the hiring manager to highlight your fit and continued interest in the organization.
Worried or stressed about life after Truman? Check out these campus resources to help you plan what comes next!
- Career Center: The Career Center website provides resources for students on a wide variety of topics, from resumes and cover letters to dining etiquette. You can visit the Career Center in the SUB 3100 to schedule a mock interview or to have an expert view your resume.
- TruPositions: TruPositions is a site that lists on campus jobs and internships available to Truman students. This is a great resource for finding a scholarship, workstudy, or institutional job while attending Truman.
Here are some resources to search for internship and career opportunities:
- Black Collegian online: Career site for African American college students
- Career Rookie: Internships, part-time jobs and entry-level careers
- CollegeJobBank: Search for entry-level jobs
- CollegeGrad.com: Search through internship postings
- Idealist: Interactive site where people and organizations can exchange resources and ideas and locate opportunities
- Indeed.com: Search job sites, newspapers, associations and company career pages
- Internships.com: Database of internships
- JuJu Job Search Engine: Job search engine
- Linkup.com: Job search engine that pulls job openings from company websites
- ZipRecruiter: Job search engine with a collection of educational content
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