Frequently Asked Questions


WHEN SHOULD I START THINKING ABOUT MY JOB SEARCH?

Job searches can take an average of 3-6 months. For career changers, it may take longer. We encourage students to sign up for Career P.R.E.P. after your first semester, and to follow this step-by-step job search process.

HOW DO I KNOW MY RESUME AND COVER LETTER ARE STRONG?
The best resumes and cover letters are targeted to the position, accomplishment-driven, and focused on the value you can bring to the organization. In addition, it is important to use “key words” from the job description so that online HR systems will “pull” your resume from the hundreds they may receive. To schedule an appointment for resume and cover letter review, and any other general career advising, please contact sphcareeroffice@bu.edu.

HOW DO I CONNECT WITH ALUMNI FOR NETWORKING AND INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWING?

You will have the opportunity to meet and network with SPH alumni throughout your time in school. In addition, we encourage students to meet with alumni during your job search for “informational” interviews. These can be invaluable as you fine-tine your career goals and seek to build networks in your chosen field.

I AM UNSURE OF THE KINDS OF PUBLIC HEALTH SETTINGS AND/OR FUNCTIONAL AREAS I SHOULD EXPLORE. CAN THE CSO HELP ME WITH CAREER-RELATED RESEARCH?
The CSO has a web-based Career Library broken down by concentration and sectors. Please visit our Career Library.

HOW DO EMPLOYERS POST JOBS WITH THE CSO?
Employers post jobs on SPH Career Link. This tool also allows employers to search for resumes of SPH students and graduates. Most jobs stay posted for 30 days, unless otherwise noted.

HOW CAN THE CSO HELP ME WITH USING SOCIAL MEDIA?
Besides our workshops, we can assist you indvidually with establishing a strategy to use social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc) for networking and managing your online reputation. To schedule an appointment, please contact sphcareeroffice@bu.edu.

CAN THE CSO HELP ME FIND A PRACTICUM OR INTERNSHIP?
While the Career Services Office often discusses what would be an appropriate practicum or internship that will build your resume, students should meet with the Practice Office for help with this process.

WHAT IS A FELLOWSHIP? ARE THESE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS OR FOR GRADUATES?
Fellowships are for SPH graduates, and often feel like a cross between an internship and a job. They are designed to give you additional training in the field of public health, and may lead into a permanent position with an organization.  Read more about fellowships.

I HAVE APPLIED TO SOME JOBS OF INTEREST TO ME.  IS IT OKAY TO CONTACT THE ORGANIZATION ABOUT MY CANDIDACY?
Unfortunately, many organizations do not have the resources to follow up with every job candidate who applies to their openings. If you have a personal or professional networking contact there, it can be helpful to ask them for an update. Some Human Resources departments are open to receiving a follow-up call or email. While you may try that route, do not take it personally if you don’t receive a response.

CAN I APPLY TO JOBS THAT REQUIRE MORE YEARS OF EXPERIENCE THAN I HAVE?
It depends. While the organization may not consider you at first, if they don’t receive a lot of applicants of interest, they may decide to consider you despite your being less experienced. If it is a sought-after organization, then likely they will not consider you since they will have many qualified applicants from which to choose. The best strategy here would be to use your networks to refer you.

AN EMPLOYER HAS ASKED ME TO SUBMIT A WRITING SAMPLE.  WHAT SHOULD I SEND?

  1. The writing sample needs to be your own work (unedited).
  2. It generally is 3-5 pages.
  3. This could be something you have written professionally (job or internship) or course work.
  4. The topic should be as relevant to what you are applying for as possible.
  5. If it is part of a larger document, the section you use should make sense on its own.
  6. Samples include research paper, strategy document, policy brief, grant proposal, donor communications, and marketing content.

DO YOU HAVE A LIST OF TEMPORARY AGENCIES AND STAFFING FIRMS?
There are many temporary and permanent staffing firms that specialize in administrative, clinical research/affairs, and healthcare management types of positions. See a few listed below.

-        PSG (Boston)
-        Spherion (U.S. & Canada)
-        Manpower(Global)
-        Kennison & Associates (Boston)
-        Beacon Hill Staffing Group (national)
-        Kelly Services|Healthcare Resources (global)
-        Kelly Scientific Resources (global)
-        Randstad (global)
-        Propel Careers (Boston)
-        Aerotek (global)