Frequently Asked Questions

• When should I visit one of the campus career centers?
• Do I need an appointment?
• Can graduate students take advantage of career services?
• What careers are open to someone in my major?
• What is the difference between an internship and a co-op?
• How do I get an internship or co-op?
• When do I start looking for a full-time, professional job?
• How do I create a resume?
• What is the difference between a resume and a CV?
• I have an interview next week. How do I get ready for it?
 

When should I visit one of the campus career centers?

Ideally, you should start exploring careers as early as your first year, so that you can apply for internship and research opportunities well before you start your eventual job search. However, we can work with you at any time during your college years, and for six months after your graduation.

Do I need an appointment?

It depends. For answers to quick questions, or to have your resume briefly reviewed, you can take advantage of your college career center’s  walk-in hours. The Career Development & Professional Connections Hub in Goodell 511 provides walk-in services Monday-Friday, 1pm-4pm, to students in BDIC, Education, Nursing and University Without Walls (UWW). 

For more in-depth help, including discussion of self-assessment, career exploration, and job search strategies, as well as interview practice and assistance with your resumes, cover letters, you are welcome to make an appointment with a professional career advisor, specialized to your college.  Students in BDIC, Education, Nursing and UWW may make an appointment with an advisor in the Career Development Hub through Handshake, or by calling the Hub at 413-545-2224, or by emailing careerservices@umass.edu.

For more in-depth help, including discussion of self-assessment, career exploration, and job search strategies, as well as interview practice and assistance with your resumes, cover letters, you are welcome to make an appointment from 9am to 5pm weekdays with one of our professional career advisors, specialized to your major.  To make an appointment with the career advisor specializing in your field of interest, log on to Handshake with your SPIRE credentials.  You may also make an appointment by calling Career Services at 413-545-2224, or by stopping by Goodell 511.

Can graduate students take advantage of career services?

Graduate students may activate their Handshake account to use our online database of jobs and internships at any time.  Our website also has a lot of helpful information and is available to all members of the UMass Amherst community.

Check your college’s career center to inquire about individual appointments.

We encourage both graduate students and post-docs to take advantage of the Graduate School's Office of Professional Development (OPD) workshops

What careers are open to someone in my major? 

The truth is — with a good plan in place — there are many different careers open to someone in your major, no matter what it is. There are some majors that do not have a direct link to the world of work, and many people do not pursue careers that relate directly to their degree.

Major in whatever you enjoy.  You will be happy, engaged, and you’ll perform better in class. What matters most are the skills you develop in completing your degree, your achievements, and the work-related experience that you gain along the way.

Using the Guide to Undergraduate Programs, you can click on any major, then click on “Career Opportunities” to view examples of career paths for that major.  You can also browse What Can I Do with This Major?, which allows you to look up your major and see the range of career options most commonly associated with it.

For other career ideas, consider taking the assessment Focus2.

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What is the difference between an internship and a co-op?

Both internships and co-ops are ways of acquiring field experience, which is the number one thing potential employers want to see on your resume.

There are many ways to fit field experience into your college education.  See the Internships and Co-ops section of our website for much more information.   See our calendar to attend one of our informational workshops on Handshake and Internship essentials and get additional questions answered.

How do I get an internship or co-op? 

Students find internships and co-ops in different ways.  Some secure positions on their own, through faculty, friends, family members, or others they know.  Others will find and apply for positions through our UMass Amherst Handshake database of job and internship opportunities, updated daily. 

Students also get field experience by directly contacting organizations for whom they’d like to work, while others work with their career advisor to strategize an internship or co-op search process.  Students can participate in field experiences either part-time (or even full-time!) during the academic year, or during the summer months.

Learn more at the Internships and Co-ops section of our website.

When do I start looking for a full-time, professional job?

The job search, as most students imagine it (networking, researching employers, sending resumes, etc.), should begin at the end of Junior year or the beginning of Senior year.  But the career development efforts that will make your job search successful begin NOW.

Taking your career development seriously requires you to invest your time exploring potential careers, starting and expanding your professional network of contacts, and building your skills and experience through involvement in student clubs, community volunteerism, internships, co-ops, part-time jobs, and summer experiences.  In many cases, it is through these opportunities that you will discover options for post-graduation jobs.

How do I create a resume?

There are several resources for writing resumes and cover letters, including resume samples from different majors and a template for crafting cover letters, in our Resumes and Cover Letters section.   You can revise an older resume or start by simply making a list of your experience and skills.  Check with your college’s career center to see when resume reviews are available.

Some majors have requirements specific to that field, such as a Lab Skills section for certain science majors, or class projects for engineering majors.  You can make an appointment with a career advisor specialized to your major and get a more in-depth review and discussion of your resume.

You will need a separate resume (and cover letter) for EACH opportunity to which you apply, and it will need to be customized to address the needs of that specific job or internship description.  If you upload your resumes into Handshake, only one version of your resume will remain “visible” on your Handshake public profile.  

The Career Development Hub does NOT recommend using free "resume builder" templates that you may find online.  While they are easy to create, they are not easy to customize.  Using a resume builder also increases the risk that your resume will look just like other ones made from the same tool, when your goal is to stand out from other resumes.  Your best bet is to open a blank Word document and begin. 

What is the difference between a resume and a CV? 

A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is a specialized and extended resume that generally has more extensive details about your work experience and your skills.  A CV is often multiple pages and includes publications, academic conference presentations, teaching experience, and public service.  Usually, a CV is only necessary if you have an advanced graduate or professional degree and you are seeking a job in academia, scientific research, or applying for grants and fellowships.  The vast majority of undergraduate students will have no need for a CV, and should instead focus on developing several targeted resumes.

A resume is a one or two page document specifically tailored to the job or internship opening for which you are applying.  Most employers want only as much information as needed to demonstrate that your skills and experience match the needs of the job description.

Be aware that some people will use the terms CV and resume interchangeably, which can be confusing. A faculty member may refer to your resume as a CV when they really mean your resume. Outside the United States, employers may refer to all resume-like documents as CVs.  Make sure you know what kind of document is expected, and ask if necessary.

If you do need to create a CV, please make an appointment with a Career Advisor specialized to your major.

For more on resumes see our Resumes and Cover Letters section.

I have an interview next week. How do I get ready for it? 

Start by reading our Interviewing section, where we offer extensive tips and guidelines.  Also read about the importance of Researching Employers in advance of your interview.

Our Inside Interviews handout offers practical advice, some sample questions you may be asked, and tips for providing answers that are both on-point and memorable.  It also discusses interviews conducted by phone and by Skype or Zoom.

You can also make an appointment with a career advisor in your college’s career center and request a practice interview session. 

 

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