Top Tips for College Students, Graduate School and Job Applicants on Making The Most of The Fall Season

The end of summer signals a new school term and a renewed sense of purpose for taking the next step toward your authentic health career. Here are top tips on making the most out of this new season for college students, graduate school and job applicants.

1. Write Down Your Goals and Vision: You are more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down and go over them on a regular basis. In a study at Dominican University in California, students who wrote down their goals were 42% more likely to achieve them than those who did not write their goals down. Whether you want to get an A in your public health seminar or you want to attend four networking events in the next month, writing your goals down and sticking to a timeline of when you want to achieve them will improve your chances of success. Check out this MyHCN blog post for help on writing down your goals.

2. Update Your Resume: Before you go to your next networking event or send your next job application, update your resume! Speak to a trusted former professor or mentor for advice on how to present your best self on your resume. Be sure to include details of your summer internship, fellowship or job. Update your contact information and be sure your resume is a reflection of what skills you bring to the table. Be sure to highlight the actions you took and the results of your work, volunteer and leadership experiences (not just your list of responsibilities). Check out this MyHealth Career Navigator video on how to make your resume stand out.

3. Keep Track of Your Application Deadlines: If you have submitted your application to graduate schools over the summer, now is a good time to check that each school has received your transcript and letters of recommendation. If you have not submitted your application yet, be sure that you are on track to submit before the deadline and that all your transcripts and supplementary material are sent on time. Be sure to also let your recommenders know the deadline for submitting letters.

4. Email Your Professors: September is a good time to update your favorite professors on your summer and keep the line of communication open. Professors love hearing from former students. When it comes time to ask for recommendations, the professors you keep in contact with are the ones who will help you. 

5. Attend a Graduate School Fair: Many graduate schools are hosting open houses and diversity panels in the coming months, so be sure to take advantage of the chance to speak to an admission officer or student about the school. Graduate students at these school fairs are welcoming and candid about their experiences, so this is a great chance to get information that you can’t find on the internet. Plus, it is always good to visit graduate schools before applying to them because you get a better sense of campus life and it makes for a great conversation starter during interviews. The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health will host a free graduate school fair on Thursday, October 26 in Philadelphia, PA. Schools in attendance include the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health and Boston University School of Public Health. 

6. Update Your Professional Wardrobe: In preparation for upcoming interviews, networking events, graduate school and job fairs, take advantage of great deals to update your wardrobe. A sharp blazer or a nice pair of shoes can boost your confidence in any situation.

7. Take Stock of Your Mental and Physical Health: New Year’s is a great time to make resolutions to improve your health. But the end of summer can also be an ideal time to make a pledge to take better care of yourself before paper deadlines and interviews take over your life. Visit your primary care physician if you have not done so already this year. Make a commitment to join a gym or start a daily journaling practice. Explore meditation, mindfulness or yoga practices. There are a ton of free apps and resources available to get you started. 

8. Practice Your Interviewing Skills: If you are waiting for interviews from graduate schools or companies, now is a good time to brush up on your interview skills. Practice with a friend or visit your career office for interview help. Check out the MyHCN webinar on interviewing skills. Also read this blog post, "Tips and Advice for a Successful Interview."

9. Talk to Your College Advisor: Catch up with your advisor and discuss what classes you are taking and ask for advice on how to make the most out of your fall term. This meeting is a good time to make sure you are on track to graduate on time. Meeting with your college advisor can seem intimidating, but he or she is just human. Talk with them about any anxiety you are having about this semester, and they will be open to helping you. For those of you out of school, talk to a trusted mentor or someone advanced in your chosen career path to advise you. 

10. Apply to Internships and Fellowships: Summer 2018 may seem like a far way off, but many applications will go live in the coming months, including the Health Career Connection Internship Program. Keep track of deadlines and be prepared to ask for recommendations from professors and past supervisors.  

11. Do Something Fun: As you work to build your authentic health career, make time to do something fun and new like going apple picking or trying a new restaurant with friends. A little R&R goes a long way. 

Photo by Amanda Sandlin on Unsplash

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