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By Marci Shaffer ’85, Professional Career Coach and Consultant

CareerBeam is a comprehensive tool to support you through the job search or career transition process, offering a wealth of resources including self-evaluations, industry information, resume and cover letter development tools, practice interviews and more. Because it is so robust, it can be a bit overwhelming at first. But, when used correctly, CareerBeam can help make your search or transition more efficient, more effective and more successful.

Before you get started, here are some recommendations for how to use CareerBeam:

  • Use CareerBeam with a goal in mind. Do you want to explore a new industry or review common interview questions? You probably have many goals or needs, but start by focusing on one. Identifying your primary goal will help you decide which tools or resources you should explore first.
  • Use CareerBeam in a tactical way. For example, download a sample thank you note or reference sheet template, and customize to suit your needs.
  • Use CareerBeam in a strategic way. For example, create a unique search for targeted companies within a 20-mile radius of your home to find detailed information on those companies and the contacts who work there.
  • Use CareerBeam as a one-time resource or a long-term career management tool. Approach the tool from where you are. Whether you’re a recent grad with some work or internship experience, or a mid-career professional with 10+ years of experience, you’ll find the information and resources you need.

So, what do you need?

“I want help getting ready for an interview.”
CareerBeam’s interview tools will help you learn how to consider the interview questions from the employer’s perspective, improve your skills of managing the interview and, for the brave of heart, create and conduct a practice video interview. All the practice interview questions offer a tip on how to best answer the question. From the homepage, click Getting the Job, then Interview Preparation.

“I’ve been in my career for 12 years and want a change. I don’t know where to start.”
Department of Labor research indicates that many of us will have three to five career changes and up to 12 employers. It’s essential for us to frequently scan and assess our strengths, interests and values, because over time they can change. The job function, industry or company culture that was appealing when you began your career may no longer meet your needs. Career exploration is the key to finding what’s right for you now. From the homepage, click on Career Exploration, then Quick Profile. It’s time to get reacquainted with yourself! Hint: If you have more time, choose Assessing Yourself for a full list of available assessments.

“I’ve always struggled with writing cover letters.” 
A well-written cover letter is essential for any job, but it’s even more important if writing is a key aspect of the job to which you’re applying. CareerBeam has excellent sample cover letters for a range of positions, experience levels and situations. View and download samples to get inspiration for your cover letter. From the homepage, click on Getting the Job, then Cover Letters, then Cover Letter Library.

“I don’t understand how networking can help me get a job.” 
Networking is key to running an effective job search strategy. Networking is important for: tapping into the hidden job market (find out about a job opening before the company posts it); building knowledge of your industry and career (how the industry is changing and what skills are most valuable); and staying ‘top of mind’ (be sure people in your network think of you for the next opportunity that becomes available). For self-paced instruction on various aspects of networking, click on Career Planning, then Networking, and scroll down to view the training segments under Networking for Your Career.

These are just a few of the ways that you can use CareerBeam to support you in your job search or career transition. Create your free CareerBeam account today to explore the many tools and resources available to you, or visit UMassAlumni.com to learn more.

Marci Shaffer ’85 is a participant in the UMass Amherst Alumni Association Career Counselors program. Contact Marci to learn more about her services, including support and resources for job seekers and professionals navigating a career transition.