After identifying a specific job/internship or graduate program you want to apply for, take the time to dig deeper and make sure this is actually the path you want to take. In this exercise, you will answer a handful of questions to learn more about the details of your potential future choice.
It is important to know what financial commitments you are about to make, if the lifestyle suits what makes you happy, and if there are next steps you need to consider taking. While you likely won’t have to answer every single one of these questions for every career choice in your life, it is a good guide to offer considerations that may have slipped through the cracks.
If you are going the “Job Track,” please answer the set of questions labeled “JOB.” If you are going the “Grad Track,” please answer the second set of questions, labeled “GRAD.”
Copy and paste the questions, and answer them in “complete fragments.” In other words, you do not need to restate the entire question, but make sure your answers are actually complete. Ex:
What is the title of the position in the job posting?
Teaching assistant for High School Math
What is the expected salary for this position?
Starts at $45,000, but if I advance to Manager it averages $70,000.
What daily/hourly time commitment would this job be?
Entire school day, 7 am to 3 pm, and occasional planning in the evenings.
*Note: There are three types of questions in these lists: recall, research, and conjecture. Recall questions are those that have clear-cut answers you can find in the job posting or on the graduate program website. These often include title of position/program, tuition, hourly commitment, etc. Research questions are those that require you dig a little deeper. You may need to call the organization for an answer, or you may need to look up similar positions. For instance, if there is no listed salary for a Technical Writer I, you will have to research the average salary of a Technical Writer I in whatever city you’re applying for. Lastly, conjecture questions are those that ask you to think critically and engage. These cannot be found on the website, and they will take a little bit of digging around. You may need to ask mentors or people in the field to get a better idea.
1) What is the title of the position in the job posting?
2) What is the expected salary for this position?
3) What daily/hourly time commitment would this job be?
4) What type of vacation time can one expect?
5) How are you asked to apply to this position?
6) What specific information and skills does one need for this position?
7) Are there any additional certifications needed for this position? If so, what are they? If not, how can you develop yourself professionally to become even more in-demand?
8) What do you know about others who work in this profession? What are their lives like? (Consider hours, family life, stress, future, travel, etc.)
9) What are key words in the job posting? (These are words that signify organizational values. They are often repeated in job postings or on websites.)
10) Where in the organizational structure does this position fit? Is it important to know specific details about the “lead” or head of the organization?
11) What is the mission of the organization?
12) What does the organization value?
13) What is the organization’s background? What issues are they currently facing?
14) What experience or strengths do you have that can indirectly help you in this position?
15) What is the job market like for this position currently?
1) What is the college/university and degree?
2) What is the expected tuition for this program?
3) What are the opportunities for financial aid in this program?
4) How long would the program supposedly take?
5) Who is a professor you’d like to work with in graduate studies? Why?
6) What types of undergraduate requirements are needed?
7) Are there any additional skills or experience needed (or recommended) for this program?
8) What types of jobs would become available to you upon completion? (Not only what jobs you want, but others too.)
9) What do you know about others who have this degree? Did they find it difficult? How was the graduate experience for them?
10) What are key words in the graduate application? (These are words that signify organizational values. They are often repeated in job postings or on websites.)
11) What kind of opportunities outside of the classroom could you find in this program?
12) What is the school’s background? What issues are they currently facing? (Note: This is not the university or college background, but the background of your specific program!)
13) What experience or strengths do you have that can indirectly help you in this program?
14) What challenges might you face in being admitted?
15) What is the current job market for jobs in this field?