Career Advisor: Kick off Your Specialized Search

Advice for 1Ys who are planning on recruiting off-campus or are involved in a specialized search

By Natalie Wilson ‘16

Natalie Wilson '16

Natalie Wilson '16

At this point, you might be overwhelmed by the fact that your peers have nightly networking opportunities, ample lunch and learns, and a clear recruiting timeline, but don’t fret. While your recruiting process has less structure, it doesn’t mean you won’t get the internship opportunity you want. Make use of the on campus support and networks you have and consider the following tips:

  1. Develop a Target List - Think about the industry you’re trying to break into and create a list of firms in the space. Consider your priorities as you narrow down this search, whether they be geographic or function specific. For example, if you’re recruiting for social impact, that’s an extremely broad term; think about the skills you are bringing to the job, the skills you want to develop, and the type of organization you want to be a part of. As part of this target list, maintain a list of relevant contacts, internship or full time opportunities and job application deadlines.

  2. Talk to second years - Connect with a 2nd year Career Advisor or mentor who recruited in the space you’re interested in. They can be extremely helpful in connecting you with the appropriate people at their firm and sharing wisdom about the specialized search process. Share your target list with them so they can give you feedback and help you think of other firms.

  3. Setup coffee chats with target firms - Use LinkedIn, Career Services, and your 2nd year connections to set up coffee chats with employees at your target firms. Start with Booth alum, if possible, or recent MBA graduates. Be ready for these coffee chats to be anything from an informational interview to an actual interview. Come prepared with specific questions that show you have done your research and demonstrate your interest, but also be ready to walk through your resume and behavioral/fit questions if they ask.

  4. Scan GTS for Job Postings - Even if firms are not coming to campus, they often post internships to GTS under Job Postings. Check regularly to make sure you are not missing out on opportunities. Some internships have application deadlines approaching next month.

  5. Prep your cover letters - I’ve heard the common myth about cover letters that “once you’ve written one, you’ve written them all.” Don’t fall into this trap. It is important that you clearly communicate why you’re passionate about your niche recruiting area and each firm specifically. This is crucial for career switchers in order to clearly explain how your past experience connects with your future. Don’t be afraid of sharing personal stories and make sure to speak to the things you are doing at Booth that tie in with your target career.

  6. Stick with it - Document the reasons you’re interested in the path you’ve chosen, because you’re going to need to come back to them when you and those around you question your decision and the uncertainty that surrounds it.

Natalie is afraid of several things, including heights, bugs, failure, and driving, but after boarding down a volcano in Nicaragua with the best RW crew ever, she's determined to get her license before graduation!