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Internships, Careers and Life After College

Melanie Adams, Assistant Director of OU Career Services and the liaison to CIS students, is here to help with all things career related for life after college. Have job or internship questions? Need help with your resumé? Let her know! Her office is located in the Oklahoma Memorial Union, Room 323, with walk-in hours Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1:30-4 p.m.

Whether you are looking for an internship or planning for graduation, Adams recently shared some key advice to make your process less stressful.

CIS: What are a few pointers that International and Area Studies (IAS) majors should keep in mind when building their resumés? MA: Highlighting their study abroad experiences, language abilities, and cross-cultural/global knowledge. These are all elements that make our IAS students stand out against other candidates, as well as gives them measurable advantages.

CIS: How early should IAS majors start the job hunt prior to graduation? MA: I hope students are working with me about internships during the semesters they are not planning to study abroad. This helps them learn early on how to use our resources to optimize their opportunities. In turn, this takes some pressure off during their senior year when preparing for permanent employment upon graduation. They should focus on networking, attending career fairs and expanding their search. Waiting to learn about these strategies, tools and resources in the last semester of a senior year is not going to have the same results, nor will it be a positive experience. CIS: When interviewing for jobs, what are the biggest mistakes that people should avoid and what are some must-dos? MA: The biggest mistake people make in interviews is not being prepared. It is important to research the company, know their culture, values and mission statement. Research their successes and challenges, as well as research the position/role you are interviewing for in order to ask quality questions at the end. Which leads us to the must-dos: you must ask solid and informed questions at the end that have nothing to do with salary, vacation, pay, etc. You also must practice! We offer mock interviews to help prepare how you will answer tough questions and use strategies for answering them confidently regardless what they throw at you!

CIS: The art of the hand written thank-you card vs. the thank-you email: what are your thoughts? MA: Handwritten thank-you cards are always appreciated after an interview. However, after a career fair, networking event, etc., an email is not only appropriate, but it also allows you to attach a resumé for immediate consideration or for that connection to pass onto the interested department.

CIS: Can you discuss the importance of internships and networking? MA: Internships and networking have great value in not only exposing you to the industry, but also learning from experienced professionals who can provide useful feedback on how to approach your professional journey intentionally. Students who do not have internships are more than likely to be disadvantaged in their applications. Networking provides you a solid connection to the profession/industry in which you are seeking employment and can offer professional guidance and connections that otherwise would not be available.

CIS: Any additional advice you would like to share with our IAS students? MA: YES! It is imperative that we meet for a resumé critique; discuss your cover letter, interview and career fair strategies; and optimize your search efforts through OU’s Handshake and other online job platforms to which you have free access. Additionally, scheduling a mock interview will ensure you are better prepared and equipped for a real interview.


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