A graduate student recently asked me, “What do I do next?”. She planned to do more informational interviews, but wanted to know how to make the most out of this entire InterSECT experience. It was wonderful to hear that she planned to do informational interviews, because students and postdocs tell me that it’s the most useful part of the InterSECT experience.
In terms of next steps after doing a job sim, here are suggestions depending on your goals.
If you want to get context for the job simulation, I strongly encourage you to talk with a professional in that career field about the job simulation tasks. The job simulations are discreet tasks that may represent one particular type of organization or firm. For example, are business analyses and presentations the same for pharma companies versus start-ups? Do writers pitch articles differently if they work in a non-profit organization versus if they freelance? An informational interview can help students and postdocs learn about the actual workplace and how team dynamics might affect a role.
If after doing the job simulation (and the informational interview), your goal is to discover a different career path, yes, please try other simulations! To help you narrow down the types of careers or skills you enjoy, pay attention to the types of data you like to work on or the websites you like to read (e.g., business-related, finance, or regulatory or user experience).
If your goal is to delve deeper into a career area and build a network, consider creating your own job simulation. For each job simulation, we encourage you to interview 2 or 3 professionals. In addition to learning about the job itself, now you have a co-copyright on a job sim to add to your resume. Several students have created job simulations from internships they already completed as a way to spread knowledge.
Whatever step you decide to take next, remember to reflect on your goal and whether your next step will help get you there. Let us know what works for you!