During the Spring of my first year at Wagner, I began having advising sessions with OCS staff, and as a result, have been engaging in comprehensive assignments to make me thoughtful and proactive about building the career path of my choice. I am so grateful to OCS. They have been especially helpful this year as I narrow my focus, prepare for and succeed during interviews, and accept or decline offers.
I have used class assignments to find out more about issues on several occasions. I wrote a paper on small business assistance that prompted a research center to apply for a grant to study the same issue -- they received the grant, and I ended up with a full-time, summer research position and the opportunity to co-author the study.
My goals have become more clear and tangible. I have done a lot of self discovery of my talents and limitations.
Reading daily, weekly, monthly publications/ newspapers/ journals is extremely important in my field. I have to stay current on what are the important topics that are affecting the mental health research field in order to inform my own research.
Because of my interest in NYC issues, I read the Gotham Gazette almost every day. It provides a good summary of city issues and politics. It has led to useful academic sources of information and has also proved useful in interviews.
It was crucial for me to get an internship my first year because I had zero public sector experience. I worked very hard to get an internship at NYC Office of Management and Budget, and partly got it because I was willing to work unpaid. I then worked at CHPSR my second year in a research function, which was huge for me.
I find working full-time while going to school part-time creates a good system of checks and balances in terms of how things work in the 'real' world, and it provides an opportunity to bring new skills from the classroom to my job.
If you keep seeing job postings in your field asking for skills you don't have, it means it's time to assess yourself and see what you can do to improve.
The feedback I received from OCS regarding revamping my resume was invaluable. Resumes are very personal documents, and their unbiased feedback helped me focus my resume more appropriately.
I found informational interviews very helpful. The alumni I met with gave generously of their time and made very specific suggestions that assisted me with my job search. In fact, I believe one of the reasons I have my current position is because of the contacts I made through informational interviews.