Informational interviews are a great way to get advice and learn from a professional in a field you’re interested in. Each semester, Career Services offers the Buffs Interview Buffs seminar series where students can watch an informational interview with a CU Boulder alum. Open to students from all majors, these events allow you to learn how a fellow Buff got started in their career and steps you could take now to start preparing for your career path.
Two recent events featured interviews with Alvin Angeles (Astro’21), space education specialist at the Space Foundation and Kate Whiteley (Jour’98), vice president of corporate communications and production at Caesars Entertainment, Inc. Here are some takeaways they shared in their informational interviews to help you start preparing for life after CU Boulder.
Explore and take courses that interest you
CU Boulder is one of the few universities that has a dedicated space emphasis, regardless of a student’s undergraduate major. Alvin shared that taking the Pathways to Space course (ASEN 1969) and completing the Space Minor program were helpful in starting his career.
Exploring your interests and taking courses that align with your passions can open the door to opportunities after graduation. At CU Boulder, you can customize your academic experience by completing dual majors, minor programs or certifications. And with over 85 majors, minors and certificates, there are many academic paths you could take! Meet with your academic advisor or a career advisor to explore how additional courses may fit into your academic journey.
Work on building foundational skills
Both Kate and Alvin spoke about how having good communication skills has been crucial in their work. Alvin shared that in his industry, people are needed to “bridge the gap” between hard science and education, and that part of his role is using communication skills to educate the public about discoveries in space. Kate expressed that both written and interpersonal communication skills are vital and top skills for communication jobs and any job anyone enters.
Foundational skills, like communication, are relevant skills to any job in all industries. These skills are often strongly desired in job candidates as well. Internships and part-time jobs are great ways to build professional skills, but aren’t the only way. There are many opportunities at CU Boulder that offer the chance to work on building certain skills. To learn more, check out the Skills for Success program through Career Services. This self-paced program helps you identify the skills you have, learn about the skills you’ll need to develop and find opportunities to build skills.You’ll also learn how to talk about your skills at every stage of your job search.
Get involved and try new things
Kate and Alvin both encouraged students to step outside of their comfort zone and try new things. Alvin encouraged students to get involved with research and volunteering on campus. During his time at CU Boulder, he volunteered at Fiske Planetarium and shared that getting involved allows you to gain experience and meet mentors who can help with future ambitions.
How you get involved during your time at CU Boulder can demonstrate a number of things to future employers. Getting involved shows commitment, initiative and collaboration. These experiences can add depth to your resume and online profiles, and also give you great stories to share during interviews to demonstrate your strengths and skills. Over the summer, think about how you’ve gotten involved so far on campus and consider other options to try something new. Whether it’s volunteering, joining a student organization, applying for a leadership program or attending student events, there’s something for everyone.
For more tips to help you with your job or internship search, check out weekly programs and workshops from Career Services. These free workshops will share best practices for resumes, networking and more.