SIPA's Career Advancement Center (CAC) provides students and alumni with 45-minute advising appointments, the SIPA Career Coaching (SIPACC) Program, and a Professional Development curriculum to promote proactive career management and advancement.
CAC career advisers provide students and alumni with career advice, job search strategy, resume and cover letter reviews, and general career information. CAC 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, a CAC 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 Requirement
Professional Development (PD) is a half-credit requirement for most SIPA students in two-year programs. Currently, PD is an accelerated two-course bundle that includes one mandatory two-session course on constructing a marketable professional profile (0.25 credit); and one single-session elective course that students may choose from a menu of five options on topics relating to career advancement (0.25 credit) – including negotiation skills in the workplace, effective public speaking, understanding the global workplace, networking for mid-career advancement, and using the MBTI in team and communication contexts.
All students are encouraged to complete the Professional Development requirement during their first semester at SIPA. A waiver of the PD requirement may be granted under certain circumstances:
- Students who are on leave from their jobs
- Students who have worked on a full-time, professional basis (internships not included) for a minimum of four years in a field relevant to their concentration and career goals
- Students pursuing a joint degree who have completed an equivalent PD course in another program
To request a waiver, complete the Internship and Professional Development Waiver Form, also available in hard copy at the CAC office, Room 420. The form must be submitted to the CAC together with a current resume. Once reviewed, the CAC will contact you regarding your waiver status.
All students who are granted a waiver are required to make an appointment with an adviser at the Career Advancement Center to review their resume and internship/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.
SIPA DEI Alumni-Student Mentoring Initiative
As part of SIPA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts, the School launched a DEI Alumni-Student Mentoring Initiative as a pilot program during the 2021-22 academic year. Due to its success, we are pleased to continue this program for both SIPA students and alumni volunteers.
The purpose of this program is to connect students from historically underrepresented groups at SIPA with alumni volunteers to provide career guidance and support during the students' graduate studies and professional advice for after graduation from SIPA. Preference is given to U.S. students who identify as Black, African-American, or Latinx; however, special consideration is given to other students who identify with underrepresented groups as well.
The program is a joint initiative of the Career Advancement Center, Alumni Affairs, and Student Affairs. A committee of staff from these offices make mentor/mentee matches based on student interests and other information provided by the students and alumni.
Students who have questions or would like additional information should contact Meg Heenehan, Executive Director, CAC, at [email protected], or the Assistant Director of Student Relations, CAC. Alumni who have questions or would like additional information should contact Susan Storms, Director of Alumni Affairs, at [email protected].
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:
- Employer Site Visits: CAC 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: The CAC 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: The CAC 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.
The Virtual Career Panel Series is designed as a forum for students to learn from SIPA alumni working in specific sectors. It also serves as an opportunity for students to network and make important connections for jobs, internships, and informational interviews. These are concentration-specific, two-day events with two panels per event day (via Zoom). SIPA alumni panelists are from the following concentrations: EPD, IFEP, ISP (fall semester); USP, HRHP, EE (spring semester).
Each semester, an evening networking reception for SIPA alumni and students will be held at a midtown-Manhattan venue.
(private sector in fall semester; public sector in spring semester)
Each semester, the CAC offers numerous extracurricular workshops to help students develop their professional skills, navigate job and internship search, and propel overall career advancement. Workshops are conducted by industry experts, SIPA alumni who are working professionals, and CAC career advisers. Past CAC workshops have included: Mastering Job Search as an International Student; Getting and Using the Interview Edge; Networking Strategies for International Students; Keeping Connected with Networking Contacts; Inclusive Culture in the Workplace; Interviewing Skills for International Students; Case Consulting Interviews; Finding a Job at the UN; Funding Sources for Unpaid Internships; and others.
Every year, the CAC 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.