Getting Good Career Advice As a Student

A student of mine just reached out because she wants to go into medical/nutritional work in international development. She was asking for some career advice. I, of course, have very little expertise in this area.

But I know how she can get it! Here’s (an anonymized version of ) what I told her. Pass this along to anyone you think could use this advice.

I think this is a fantastic course to chart. Wherever this ends up taking you, it will be a way to do a lot of good for people.

The best advice I can give here is to reach out to people currently working in these roles and ask them for time to talk. As I mentioned before in class, you have a networking superpower right now as a student. You can reach out to professionals you’ve never met and ask if they have time to answer questions about their career. You’ll be surprised at how many people say yes.

When the opportunity comes to talk with them, have good questions about important decisions you have yet to make. What skills or credentials will you need? What mistakes should you avoid? What new careers are coming into existence that are worth considering? Experts in these fields will have a wealth of wisdom.

So here’s a plan to follow:

  1. Using Google and LinkedIn, get a list going of professionals working in the fields and organizations that interest you. Find any available contact information.
  2. Write a list of good questions that will help you make decisions you’re facing now or plan a better path to where you want to go.
  3. Contact the people on your list, and follow up at least once if you don’t get a reply after a week. Beyond that, they’re too busy. If you’re emailing them, keep the email brief (1-2 short paragraphs).
  4. When you meet with these people, be a great listener, paying special attention to any feedback about parts that are hard. We tend to ignore that kind of advice.
  5. Ask them if there’s anyone else you should talk to. They can open doors you can’t open on your own.

I hope this is helpful! Let me know how this goes.


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Written by

Aaron Miller

Aaron Miller

Provo, UT