How’d I do?

Oprah once said that one unifying behavior of her guests all those years hosting her show was that once the cameras were turned off, they asked, “How’d I do?”.

So it turns out that graduate students and celebrities are similar (well, in this way at least). “How’d I do on this job sim” is one of the most common questions we hear as career advisers from graduate students who have completed job sim deliverables. It’s also phrased as “Can I use this exercise as a tool to assess my competency?”

We designed the InterSECT library for career exploration: to help you explore your interest in building skills for each career field. The job simulations are intended to serve as a bridge between an informational interview and an internship or course. If the job sim sparked curiosity (you found yourself in a google black hole, opening dozens of tabs, because you had to know more about the task at hand), we encourage you to pursue additional training or education in that career field.

“But Thi, am I on the right track?” one student asked me after I gave her this response. If you are eager to know how well you did on an exercise, we encourage you to set up informational interviews and ask the professional to discuss the tasks you worked on. Here are some sample questions to ask the professional:

  • How do you know if someone does a good job?
  • What do you look at when you are evaluating an intern’s progress on this type of project?
  • (show the simulation, if they have the time) This was the data set in the job sim. Would you look at a data set in this way? What different resources or methods would you use?
  • How do I develop my skills and get better or faster at this?