Chijioke and Gigi

Many students say that they found their Practicum site through networking, which is not surprising since it is very similar to a job search.

Consider using this networking time to both look for a host organization and simultaneously lay the foundation for your future job search: talking with potential preceptors and contacts may not only provide good information and/or leads for your Practicum, but may also yield connections for you when you are ready to start looking for a “real job”.

Remember that networking is about building relationships, which is a 2-way street.

Excellent interpersonal skills are vital to success with your practicum, and will help open doors for you throughout your career. Likewise, as you grow in your career, you will want to be helpful and open doors for others who make a good impression on you.

Always be appreciative of your contact’s valuable time, be professional and courteous in all interactions whether written or verbal, and thank each person. Prompt follow-up is crucial.

If you do not yet have much experience in professional settings and work environments, or would like to learn more, the Office for Career Advancement is an excellent resource. These so-called “soft skills” may sound less important than other skills, but they can sometimes be more important!

  1. You can start by identifying organizations of interest through your own research or through CareerConnect, or by talking with faculty or field practice staff for leads.
  2. Review lists of past Practicum sites. Your practice course instructor may be able to let you know about past students who worked with a particular organization.
  3. Use the Alumni Database  and alumni toolto identify alumni who are doing interesting work and may be a potential preceptor.
  4. Take advantage of programs offered by the Office for Alumni Affairs and Career Advancement, such as Coffee with Alumni (includes a $10 Starbucks gift card!) and the Job Shadow Program.

Finally, have fun when you network!

Be adventurous, curious, and open to talking to a variety of people. Even though it takes time, continue to seek networking opportunities after you have found your practicum. The Boston area is exceptional for its public health professionals at all stages in their careers.