Finding and Applying for Jobs

We know that career decision-making can be stressful; perhaps you even worry that you need to know what to ask before you speak with us. At Cornell, where there are a variety of career offices that you can visit, it might seem like you need to know where to start before you can start. But you don't need to figure that out in advance. All of the staff across the career community at Cornell are dedicated to helping students. So just start wherever it's comfortable for you. That might be in our office, Cornell Career Services in Barnes Hall, or with the Career Development Canvas Toolkit.

A&S Career Development counselors specialize in helping liberal arts students determine their goals and provide the tools to achieve them. We support current A&S undergraduates and young alumni. It's never too early to start thinking about your future. Below are brief descriptions of the resources available on a range of career development topics. 

Career Exploration

Your choice of major does not lock you into a particular career path, but rather opens up a broad array of careers! Check out the Canvas module for career exploration. After you have the basics from the module, our career counselors can help you create an individualized action plan for clarifying interests, skills, and values, then connect those to particular majors or careers. We can also help you set goals for your time at Cornell, show you resources and help you develop a strategy for your job search. Schedule a career exploration appointment.

Networking

Meeting new people, getting to know them, and learning from people you already know is part of what you do every day. In the professional world, this is called networking. Networking should be an on-going process that is an effective way to learn about career options and gather advice for achieving your goals. Check out the Canvas module on networking to learn the basics, and once you’re ready, explore the networking opportunities listed below.

Schedule a networking support appointment for more information about ways to connect with alumni for informational interviews.

Career Conversations

A&S Career Development regularly offers “Career Conversations” for students to interact with alumni in small groups. During these sessions students can learn about career paths directly from Cornell alumni and ask questions. Search on Handshake for “Career Conversation” to find upcoming events.

Office Hours

A&S Career Development hosts a variety of alumni, parents, recruiters, and friends throughout the year for one-on-one Office Hours. These sessions are meant to provide career insight and guidance, including resume and cover letter reviews. The dates and times vary throughout the semester, as do the career fields of interest. Students can register for Office Hours on Handshake. Office Hours will be posted as a “Job”—search for “A&S Office Hours” in the Jobs tab on Handshake to find upcoming events.

Career Connections Committee Networking Events

During winter and summer breaks, A&S alumni offer events in NYC and DC for A&S students to meet alumni and learn about careers. Winter events are aimed at students who are still exploring options and often consist of panels, information sessions or treks/tours. Summer events are aimed at students with some experience in a particular field and are typically evening networking receptions. Event dates are typically announced in November for Winter and May for Summer events. Students should look for them on Handshake and register there. Learn more about ASCCC winter and summer break events >

These events are sponsored by the Arts & Sciences Career Connections Committee, Arts & Sciences Career Development and Arts & Sciences Alumni Affairs & Development.

**Funding for students to travel to ASCCC events is available for Arts & Sciences students. Applications for funding are due early to mid-December. Awards will be made on a rolling basis.

Munschauer Career Series

The Munschauer Career Series was endowed by the former director of the Cornell University Career Center, John Munschauer, to provide funds for A&S graduates to return to campus to benefit students' career education. This annual program allows students to learn from alumni of note about a specific occupational field, individual career paths, and the choices one makes over the course of a career.

Past Munschauer speakers have included:

  • Will Gluck '93, film director
  • Jeff Zalaznick, Psychology '05, founder of Major Food Group restaurants
  • Natalie Bridgeman Fields, Government '99, Founder and Executive Director of Accountability Counsel
  • Jeffrey Gettleman, Philosophy ’94, East Africa bureau chief for The New York Times
  • Dan Cohen, Psychology ’05, Executive Producer of Stranger Things and Arrival
  • Eliot Kang, Government ’84, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Security & Nonproliferation, US Department of State
  • Joe Brown, English ‘02, Editor-in-Chief of Popular Science magazine.

Other Opportunities to Network with Alumni Include:

Professional Documents

Professional documents include resumes, cover letters, personal statements and other professional correspondence (such as thank you emails and follow up emails). Frequently, these documents offer your first impression to a potential employer. Resumes give recruiters a quick overview of your academic and career background; cover letters can help you secure an interview; and other correspondence (thank you letters, follow up, etc) can open doors to future opportunities. Knowing how to write these important documents will be extremely beneficial throughout your career. Check out the Canvas modules for Resumes and Letters (includes cover letters and other correspondence) to get started. Once you have document(s) drafted, we welcome you to schedule an appointment for a resume/cover letter review or personal statement review!

PERSONAL STATEMENTS

Personal statements provide a similar role in the graduate school admissions process that the cover letter does in the job search process. Personal statements are your chance to show your interest in a graduate field and program. It will tell the admissions committee about yourself, your experiences, and how they relate to your chosen career field. In your personal statement, you should talk about your long and short term career goals and how the graduate program will help you accomplish them.

The personal statement and statement of purpose are very similar. Both want you to write about the particular program and why you want to apply there, and why you want to study that field and go to grad school at all. In a statement of purpose, you would talk more about the research you want to do/projects you want to work on, and in a personal statement, it is more about why you want to study that discipline and your motivation for applying to grad school. The important thing is to read the directions each school gives you though, and answer it using their prompts. Research the school and give specifics about what makes that school right for you. They want to know why you are applying to their school, not just this kind of program. For many research-based programs (especially PhD programs), they want you to name the specific professor(s) with which you would like to work.

KEEPING TRACK OF YOUR PROFESSIONAL DOCUMENTS

Along with resumes, cover letters, and notes mentioned above, you may also be asked to provide writing samples, transcripts, faculty recommendations, or a portfolio of your art and design work. You can keep track of these documents through a credential service such as Interfolio or by creating a folder on your computer specifically for these documents.

ETIQUETTE & METHODS

These tips are true regardless of the correspondence you are writing:

  • Proofread everything, no matter how short.
  • Use a professional e-mail address
  • Make certain that attachments have a relevant title.
  • Be sure to have an appropriate greeting and closing in emails.
  • Include a subject line in emails.
  • Always follow through on what you said you would do.
  • When deciding the best way to contact someone, approach with formality. Email and phone are both good ways to start, but don’t text, instant message, or friend someone you don’t know. Use titles (Mr., Ms., or Dr.) and avoid slang or abbreviations. If you have a mutual connection, ask to be introduced.

Interviewing

An interview is your chance to shine and elaborate on the experiences that prepare you for the goal you're seeking. The interviewer will ask about your qualifications in relation to a specific position. There are different types of interviews depending on the industry and stage of the interview process. Check out the Canvas module on interviewing to get a basic overview of what to expect when interviewing for jobs/internships. Once you've got the basics and are ready to get some practice, we welcome you to schedule a Practice Interview. We offer practice behavioral and case interviews.

  • Case interviews are commonly used for consulting jobs and case questions are sometimes used for interviews in other fields such as marketing. It takes practice to answer these questions well – we’re happy to help you practice. Schedule a Practice Case Interview. Here are some case interview preparation resources:
  1. CQInteractive walks you through cases and brain teasers
  2. Websites for consulting firms often have prep materials (Ex., BainBCGDeloitteMercerMcKinseyOliver Wyman, and PwC)
  3. Management Consulting Prep
  4. Victor Cheng’s book Case Interview Secrets and website
  5. Management Consulted - They have a "Free Resources" tab too
  • Technical interviews are common for jobs in financial services and in computer science. Students can practice technical skills for CS interviews at sites like HackerRankPrampLeetCode, or GeeksforGeeks. The College of Engineering Career Services offers technical interviews for students in all colleges. 

International Student Resources

Cornell attracts students and scholars from all over the world. As of fall 2019, our student population included 5,560 international students from 117 different countries. International students make up nearly 50% of the graduate student population and almost 24% of the entire student population on campus. Cornell Career Services distributes the International Student Career Resources Newsletter to  help you stay up-to-date with events and job opportunities. Check out the Canvas module for International Resources.

Career Fairs

Career Fairs are a great way to connect with a variety of employers, learn about available opportunities, and get your resume in the hands of recruiters. At Cornell, there are multiple fairs hosted throughout the year, some general and some industry specific. Be sure to check Handshake for the most up to date information about upcoming fairs and the employers who will be present. 

Preparing to attend a fair is very important! Check out the Canvas Module on Career Fairs for tips and resources on preparing yourself for a successful career fair!

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