Hi, I’m Ella! I’m the CES Peer Advisor in the Arts and Humanities, and I’ll be writing about my job search in hopes of helping other students with theirs. I’ll share the ups and downs of life and work as I prepare for post-grad, and tell you about some of the ways CES can help you, too.

Fall semester went by too fast. I kept telling myself that I’d start exploring career paths each week, but then I found myself—during winter break—at the very beginning of the process.

Although I feel like I’m behind, that isn’t really true. Many organizations that offer positions for humanities majors have later application deadlines than tech companies, so December and January are a great time to start applying.

Right before break, I met with almost every Career Advisor at CES to get an idea of what I should be doing right now to plan for my post-graduate life. Here’s a bit about me to give you some context on my job search:

I am a senior at Puget Sound studying English and Religion, and I’ve been the CES Peer Advisor for a year. I’m from Minnesota, but I’m trying to stay in the Pacific Northwest after graduation. I would love to live in a large metropolitan area—preferably Seattle, but I wouldn’t pass up an opportunity in another city.

I’m looking to begin a career before going back to school within the next five years, and am searching for non-profit, journalistic, and advising roles. My goal is to gain some hands-on experience (and start paying back my student loans) before enrolling in a Master’s program.

The biggest issue that I’m running into while looking for jobs is the scope of my search–I’m open to working in a number of different environments, which makes looking for a specific job surprisingly difficult. The best advice I gained regarding this problem, from  Elizabeth Wormsbecker, is to…

…begin by looking for jobs in one specific area of interest, then use the tricks you learn in that process to make your next search more efficient.

Many of the Career Advisors also recommend that you…

…take some time to articulate your skills and values in order to help prepare yourself to complete applications and interviews.

The advisors at CES use a three-part model for career counseling–Assess, Explore, and Act.

I’m currently in the Assessment phase. This is where you really open up your career search by defining what you want from a job. What city do you want to be in? What are you looking to gain from a first job? What are the skills you want to use? How do your values, personality, and interests influence your job search?

One thing that’s helped me is to write down different five-year plans. Then I spend time looking at the work I’ve put in over the past three and a half years at Puget Sound, what I’m interested in, and how I can apply that information to each of my plans. I write down everything I can think of, judge how excited I am about that plan, and try to anticipate what challenges I’d face if I decide to go that route.

Jake Nelko recommended an exercise called “Odyssey Planning,” which comes from a book by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans called, Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life—available for check out from CES’ Career Resource Library.

With the Odyssey Planning Worksheet in mind, I’m taking a few weeks to define my interests and to explore what is most important in my life for the first five years after graduation. When I finish, I’ll let you know what I’m doing next!

If you have any questions about your own job search, or anything career related, CES Advisors are taking appointments and I’m back for drop-in hours. As always, feel free to call our office or send me an email at efrazer@pugetsound.edu.

Photo Credit | Ken Aviananda ’17
© 2018 Career and Employment Services, University of Puget Sound