OCS career advisers provide students and alumni with career advice, job search strategy, resume and cover letter reviews, and general career information. OCS career advisers also conduct MBTI assessments and mock interviews for students and alumni, as well as encourage professional communication and interpersonal skills.
During a 45-minute appointment, an OCS career adviser can:
- Establish steps that should be undertaken by advisees in order to advance their career knowledge.
- Critique resumes and cover letters.
- Conduct mock interviews.
- Help create job search strategy.
- Offer other career advice at their discretion.
- Share their general knowledge about various opportunities related to the advisee’s SIPA concentration or specialization.
Professional Development Course
Professional Development (PD) is a half-credit requirement for most SIPA students in two-year programs. As of Fall 2019, PD is an accelerated two-class sequence that includes one mandatory class on constructing a marketable professional profile (0.25 credit), and one elective class that students may choose from a cluster of five options on topics relating to career advancement and leadership (0.25 credit) – including negotiation, public speaking, intercultural relationships and professional networking.
Students who meet any of the following criteria may be eligible to waive Professional Development:
- Students on leave from their jobs.
- Students who have worked on a full-time, professional basis for a minimum of four years in a field relevant to their concentration and career goals.
- To request a waiver, complete the Professional Development Waiver Form, also available in hard copy at the OCS office, Room 420. The form must be submitted to OCS together with a current resume. Once reviewed, OCS will contact you regarding your waiver status.
- If you are granted a waiver, you are required to make an appointment with an adviser at OCS to review your resume and job search strategy.
SIPA Career Coaching (SIPACC) Program
SIPA Career Coaches offer guidance to current students and alumni who are contemplating various career choices or seeking information about particular fields of interest. The SIPA Career Coaches are not recruiters; thus, you should not ask them for jobs. However, you may ask for industry-specific information, current trends in the field, advice about entry into a particular field, and other guidance questions related to your job search.
Interested students and alumni may schedule up to three 30-minute coaching sessions per semester. During each appointment, a SIPACC coach will:
- Dispense industry-specific job advice in their field(s).
- Share their knowledge about various career opportunities related to your SIPA concentration or specialization.
- Establish steps that should be undertaken in order to advance in a particular industry.
- Offer other career advice at their discretion.
Throughout the academic year, the Office of Career Services (OCS) organizes numerous career panels and workshops to help current students with their job/internship search and professional development. These events usually focus on specific career paths, such as consulting, international development, investment banking, humanitarian affairs, or working at the United Nations. By participating in these events, students will become more informed about their field(s) of interest and have opportunities to network with people in the industry.
Washington, DC Career Conference
The Washington, DC Career Conference is an annual event whose purpose is to introduce current students to Washington, DC and inform them of employment opportunities in the area through the participation of SIPA alumni and other professionals. The Conference is a three-day event consisting of:
- Career Panels: OCS organizes 16-20 career panels on various topics featuring SIPA alumni and other professionals based in the DC area.
- Employer Site Visits: OCS offers employer site visits with a variety of companies, agencies, and organizations in the Washington, DC area. These site visits allow students to acquaint themselves with the working environment of potential employers as well as to speak directly with employers in a more intimate setting. SIPA alumni and human resources (HR) representatives are often present, providing an excellent networking opportunity.
- Alumni/Student Networking Reception: OCS hosts an alumni/student networking reception for all SIPA alumni working in the DC area and students who are registered for the Conference. Each year, this reception is usually attended by approximately 150 alumni.
- Informational Interviews: OCS provides registered students a list of alumni who have made themselves available for informational interviews. Students then independently schedule informational interviews with these alumni. This is an opportunity for students to design their own interview, learn about their career and organizational interests, and develop networking contacts.
Registration for the Washington, DC Career Conference will open in late October / early November. Current students will receive an invitation via email to register.
New York City Career Series
The New York City (NYC) Career Series serves as a forum and opportunity for students to gain direct exposure to alumni and other professionals in their respective fields of interest who are working in New York City. The NYC Career Series consists of:
- Career Panels: A series of 20-24 panels, broken down by concentration or sector, featuring SIPA alumni working in a variety of companies or organizations based in NYC. The career panels are spread out throughout the academic year, with relevant panels coinciding with recruiting seasons. Private sector panels are held in fall, when most private sector recruiting takes place (e.g., international finance, consulting, energy, corporate social responsibility). Nonprofit and public sector panels are held in the spring semester, similarly when most of their recruiting occurs (e.g, development, foundations, human rights, NYC government).
- Networking Receptions: Each semester, an evening networking reception for SIPA alumni and students will be held at a midtown-Manhattan venue.
Throughout the academic year, OCS offers numerous workshops to help students with their professional skills, job and internship search, and overall career development. Workshops are conducted by OCS career advisers, SIPA alumni, and external professionals. Past OCS workshops have included: Funding Sources for Unpaid Internships; Networking for International Students; Behavioral Mock Interviewing; Negotiating Your Employment Package; Case Consulting Interviews; Career Change; Using Social Media to Maximize Your Job Search; Finding and Establishing a Career at the UN; How to Navigate a Career Fair; Developing and Delivering Your Pitch, and Interviewing Skills.
Employer Information Sessions
Every year, OCS hosts over 200 employer information sessions, providing valuable information for students to learn about various organizations and available opportunties. Senior executives, human resources representatives, or SIPA alumni come on campus to talk about their organization's history, culture, and organizational structure, as well as to describe typical graduate-level career paths and opportunities.