Career and Professional Development

The office of career and professional development at UWS offers resources to students and alumni related to business success in their chosen field. We have refined these services over the years and continue to solicit feedback to meet the needs of both current students and alumni. We provide structured assistance to empower students and alumni to reach their professional goals.

The office of career and professional development provides focused guidance in the following areas:

  • Establishing connections to jobs and employers via Switchboard or other sites as well as connections to alumni and mentors through the Alumni Mentor Network and Peer Mentorship Program.
  • Providing and offering resources and education for creating resumes and curriculum vitae, interviewing skills, contract negotiation, market analysis, business plan creation and marketing through our online toolbox, webinars and in-person sessions.
  • Facilitating opportunities for students to connect with the internal and external community to practice networking, public speaking, unique sales propositions (“elevator speech”) and other essential professional development skills.

In Preparation For Your Interview

As students and alums start to look for their first internship or job, it is important to know some of the items needed to be successful. Below are resources to help navigate searching for your new job or internship opportunity. 

Elevator Speech

Also known as a unique sales proposition, an elevator pitch is a short description of who you are, what you do and what makes you stand out from the rest. It is called an elevator pitch because you should be able to share this information with someone in the amount of time it takes to ride in an elevator. You may be sharing this information with a potential employer or a potential client. It should sound authentic and not rehearsed (but you should rehearse it!). You need to have your pitch prepared and be ready to share it at any moment or any occasion. You never know when you will be talking to a potential future employer or a potential future patient/client. It could be at a party, a networking event, or, yes, even an elevator. 

Watch this short video for more inspiration.

Informational Interviews

An informational interview is not a job interview. It is a meeting with a person who has knowledge and experience in a particular field, career or business that you’re interested in. Informational interviews are a great way to get more information about a field that you are considering, talk to experienced professionals about a business idea, or get information about a specific company or employment opportunity. First, research the career or business. Then find contact information for a few people that you would like to interview. If you don’t have actual names, you can research job titles and then ask to speak with a person in that role. You can email or call to schedule the interview. Start by saying that you are interested in a career in this field and that you would appreciate spending 15 or 20 minutes with this person to ask a few questions. The interview can be in person, on the phone or virtual. Start off by telling the person a little about yourself and why you are interviewing them. Feel free to ask them to review your resume as well. Sample questions include: 

  • What drew you to this field? 
  • What do you find most rewarding about your work? 
  • What kinds of problems do you deal with? 
  • What kind of education or training does this role require? 
  • What is a common career path in this field? 
  • How can I get more information about this career? 
  • Is there anyone else you think I should interview? 

After the interview, send a thank you note or email. Ask to join their LinkedIn network. Keep in touch. This is a networking tool! This person may be helpful in finding you a job. 

Watch this short video for more inspiration. 

Networking

Sometimes people think of networking as a difficult and uncomfortable necessity. Yes, it is difficult to try to “sell yourself” to prospective employers or clients, but networking doesn’t have to be that way. Networking can serve many purposes in many different venues. Networking is about making connections, forming relationships and learning more about your profession. It can be an information-gathering activity or a place to find mentorship. Networking is helpful whether you are looking for a job or are trying to promote your established business. Find an event that interests you and think of it as a social activity instead of putting pressure on yourself to “perform.” Networking can happen at a formal event for job seekers, but it can also happen in other contexts. It is about building relationships. 

Eager and ready to network? Here are a few ways to start: 

  • Join the University of Western States Switchboard. 
  • Choose a cause that is near and dear to your heart and volunteer to help at community events in your area. You will be surrounded by like-minded people who may help you in your job search. 
  • Join your neighborhood business association or chamber of commerce. It is a great way to make connections to people who live in your neighborhood and business owners in your business district. Letting people know who you are is beneficial whether you are looking for employment or have an established business. Volunteer on their committees to help break the ice and meet more people. You don’t have to join the chamber before attending a meeting to see what they are like. Guests are welcome at most chamber of commerce events and by alerting staff ahead of time of your planned visit, their ambassadors can help ensure that you connect with several individuals, even at your first event. Don’t be afraid to ask for more in-depth advice and connection from your local chamber staffers – they are great guides in networking. 
  • Join online groups such as Nextdoor or your neighborhood association to be part of the conversation that is going on in your neighborhood and surrounding areas. 
  • Joining organizations helps you meet people, practice professional skill-building and learn more about your profession. Professional organizations such as state licensing boards or trade associations are a great way to meet other people in your field. Often these organizations will have job opportunities posted on their website or send out emails to their members about available positions. 
  • Toastmasters International may be a good way to connect with others and build up your public speaking skills which will in turn enhance your confidence with networking.  
  • Create a LinkedIn profile so people can easily see your accomplishments and what you are looking for, and you can make connections with people in your field. UWS Alumni and Friends group coming soon. 
  • Attend trade shows, Meetups or other events in your area of interest. Talk to vendors and other attendees to get leads on people with whom you can connect about potential employment or mentorship. 
  • Moving abroad? Meet people, attend events and learn about your new location. 
  • The UWS alumni department hosts many networking events throughout the year and can help you build connections within alumni and friends community. Contact [email protected] to learn more. 
  • Keep an eye out for UWS hosted networking events! These events are great ways to connect with  UWS graduates.  
  • Ask your existing social network for referrals. Everybody knows somebody! 

Resume, Curriculum Vitae (CV), and Cover Letters

A resume and a CV are both documents that you create and submit to potential employers, but they are very different formats. Sometimes employers will specify which one you should submit to them. A resume is a summary of your education and professional experience and is limited to one or two pages. A curriculum vitae (CV) is much longer and more comprehensive and is typically used when applying for jobs in research, writing, teaching or presenting.

Whether you use a CV or a resume, choose a font that is simple and easy to read. Intricate fonts are not only difficult to read but they may not be readable by the software an employer uses. It may be tempting to use a thin font to keep your resume down to a page or two, but readability is more important. Your name and the headers for each section can be called out by using bold, capitals, italics or a larger font size. Don’t forget to proofread your documents. Watch for spelling and grammar errors. If you’re using Microsoft Word, you can edit the document by clicking on “Review” at the top and then select “Check Document” in the left-hand corner. You can also use the Thesaurus if you need some inspiration. 

Watch this short video for more inspiration. 

Check out this sample skills and assets document to help you identify your professional assets.

Resume Guide PDF

Cover Letter Guide PDF

Interviewing

An interview gives you the opportunity to showcase your qualifications to an employer so it pays to be prepared. The following information provides some helpful hints. 

Interview Etiquettes Guide PDF
Interviewing PDF

Career Development

In this section, you can find some useful resources as you progress in your career. Please continue to check this section as we will be adding more content for your professional growth and development.

Switchboard

For professional opportunities, mentorship, and advice, we hope you will consider creating an account and posting a personal ‘ask’ or ‘offer’ on UWS Switchboard. UWS Switchboard is free from spammers, advertisers, and large-scale brokers. It is a place where our community members can ask for what they need or offer what they have to share.

Retirement

Are you planning retirement from your solo practice? UWS brought together three practitioners for a facilitated discussion about retirement from the chiropractic profession – watch the video here. Retirement can be an emotionally and financially complicated topic, and although all three of these panelists are chiropractic physicians, this information is applicable to anyone who owns their own practice. The panelists are Minga Guerrero, Chuck Simpson and Joyce McClure – who all share open and honest feedback about their personal experiences. We hope this conversation provides some guidance, answers questions and helps connect you to others contemplating or actively working to retire. 

Alumni Career Showcase

Notable UWS alumni give tours of their offices and share insights on their career paths in the Alumni Career Showcase video series.

Webinars


Starting Your Own Practice

You can find useful resources below as you plan to start your own practice. 

Market and Competitive Analysis

Market Analysis 

Market research is needed whether you know exactly where you are going to open your business or if you are still trying to figure that out. Market analysis helps you determine whether your business idea is viable by looking at indicators such as consumer demand, such as: 

  • Do people want your product?
  • Are there other businesses that already provide it?
  • What is the income and employment rate of the area where you want to open your business? 

These types of economic indicators and demographics can be obtained through internet research. Here is a list of sites with statical information. You can also get valuable information by doing the research personally through surveys, questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, etc. 
 

Competitive Analysis 

Market research should be coupled with competitive analysis to determine the level of market saturation. Are there existing businesses that provide the same product or service? Who are they? How many are there? What market share do they currently have? How will that affect your pricing structure? What makes your business different or better? Use the data from market research and competitive analysis to find your competitive advantage.

Business Plan

A business plan is like a map that shows where you are going and how you will get there. Unlike a map, however, business plans change over time and need to be updated. It is a formal written document that speaks to your vision and values. It describes who you are, what and where your business is, why your business is important, who your customers are, what your financial goals are, how you plan to achieve them, and within what timeframe. This plan can be presented to bankers or potential business partners, and can also be helpful to revisit from time to time to make sure your business is on track with your goals.


Business Plan Resources:
 

Below is a one-page template from hubspot.com to help get you thinking about what kind of information you will need to include. Click on the template to download one for yourself. There are many free business plan templates on the internet to choose from. 

One-Page Business Template


The office of career and professional development is here for you.

Check back often for updated information about professional networking opportunities. We can keep you informed about professional networking opportunities, teach you how to network, provide statistics about your chosen field, help you with cover letters and resumes, and more. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Let us know!