Missed the Master or Career Skills week? Or didn’t even know this was going on? Don’t worry, I got your back. This year, I knowingly signed up for a reminder once the registration opened. Luckily for me, I was therefore able to sign up for all kinds of sessions that I am interested in. So, I thought, why not share some of them with you?
It’s important to know that the Master’s Weeks and Career Skills Weeks are two different things. The Master’s Weeks went from February 8 to February 20. As the name suggests, most sessions are meant to give students an insight into different Masters at the UvA. But they also offered workshops that help students with their master choice, and that discussed everything from studying at the UvA to housing in Amsterdam.
The Career Skills Week, on the other hand, offered workshops to improve skills needed in the workplace from experts in the field. But also, sessions on how to improve one’s CV or LinkedIn were given by the career advisors of the UvA. Even one-on-one career advice sessions were offered, on which I will share my personal experience with you, too. Don’t worry: such sessions can always be signed up for throughout the year
So, here are some of the sessions that I had signed up for:
- Art of decision making in your career
In this workshop, we learned about Otto Taborsky’s process of decision making. Read through it and see for yourself, where exactly in the process you are currently at:
- Realise you have a decision to make.
- Accept the insecurity of “not knowing”.
- Explore your options.
- Compare your options based on values most important to you. (Here is a test from the UvA)
- Make a decision.
- Do it!
If like me you are still stuck on what you even want, then the next workshop may help you further.
- Individual Coaching Session
This was a one-on-one session with a career advisor at the UvA. In this meeting I was able to share all my interests, values, ideas, and where I am currently stuck in my personal decision-making process. I was given advice, practical tips such as mind-mapping my interests, but even contacts that may help me further. That being said, if you are stuck in your decision making process, I would highly recommend you to register for a session with a career advisor. Maybe this will help in finding out what you want, so that you can start looking at possible options (step 3 in the process).
If you have read my first article you know that I am all about networking. This is also a great way to explore possible options. How so? Well, one thing we were asked to do in the session was, to take a piece of paper, put our name into the middle, and write out all different kinds of groups we have been part of (sports clubs, volunteering, work…). Once done, we were asked to write out the three most important people as part of these groups. You will see that you already have a vast network, especially so if you remind yourself that all these people have a network of their own that you are connected to.
We further learned that 70% of job offers are not visible and that it is therefore important to be aware of what networking can do for you. Make use of LinkedIn to see whom of your contacts work in a field that interests you, check out their profile on how they reached that goal or even ask them some questions. A big tip: Do not ask for a job! Ask your questions and build up a conversation first. Otherwise, people will feel used. If you don’t have LinkedIn or your profile could use some improvements, this sort of help is also offered by the career advisors!
- Boost Your Master Choice
The session started with showing us that we believe career choices are a straight line, while in reality they have many bumps and curves. This misconception is exactly what I wrote about in the article: “A misconception – of Life (Part 1)”. Surprise surprise, we next talked about Taborsky’s process of decision-making model and that to go through the model, it is most important to “start with you”.
Make a mind map using terms such as knowledge and skills, values, qualities, dreams, feedback from others, experiences, career ideas and so on. Look at this YOU and then look at either possible masters out there that fit this YOU, or the job market. In the latter case, find possible employees, sectors and jobs that interest you, and then see what specific masters you may need to work in this field. From here compare the Masters based on requirements, content, positive and negative. If you are now aware of the options but are stuck in comparing them, then perhaps the competence test of the career advisors will help you further.
Do you need more help with your master choice? Then check out the UvA Online House. Here you will find help with making a master choice, videos that describe the different master programs, all sorts of information on studying a Master at the UvA, and you can even chat with current students from specific programs.
Cover: Jon Tyson