Job simulations allow participants to gather information and try out a particular job function of a career pathway element by experiencing it. These simulations can take place in a day or within a limited number of hours over the course of a semester. They can be self-directed or facilitated by an informal mentor. Job simulations immerse participants in tasks required by a particular career to help determine whether or not the job feels like a good fit. They can take place within a workshop, class, on campus, or at home.
Set Yourself Up for Success
We encourage you to reflect on what you want to learn from a job simulation so that the learning outcome can be achieved. The experience might guide you in deciding what to do next, and can take the form of a class, workshop, or online experience. Participants seeking to create their own job simulations should ideally align the experience with their values and interests, target it to improve a particular skill, and use it to increase their network of professionals who use these skills in their careers. We recommend participants seek out peer and professional feedback to help them reflect on next steps.
While job simulations can confirm a career interest, participants often tell us that the simulation was enough to help them realize that particular job function is not something they would like to ultimately pursue. We encourage you to “fail” with little time commitment so that you might more rapidly find the path that most suits you. The flexibility of Careers Beyond Academia allows participants to explore multiple career options.
Steps to Complete a Job Simulation
- Conduct a self-assessment to find out what types of work align with your strengths, interests, and values. myIDP can be validating for those in STEM fields. Additional assistance for graduate students can be sought through Cornell Career Services. Complete personality assessments (MBTI, Strengths Finder, e.g.) to explore your personal preferences and talents.
- Consult with the staff at our office to help guide you to a meaningful personalized experience and to connect you with peers and professionals eager and willing to assist in your information gathering, career exploration and immersion.
- Carry out some informational interviews and job simulation. Share your feedback. Reflect.
- Consider if this function is something you enjoy and want to do more of.
- Create a plan for the next steps.
Examples of Job Simulations
Many courses, workshops and immersions incorporate experiential learning that simulates work in particular career paths. Contact us with your ideas; we are happy to help you refine them for maximal impact.
Careers involving intellectual property:
Previous participants wrote disclosures with their advisors and a technology licensing officer on a new research finding that might have commercial value. Inform yourself through the Startup Guide and discuss with professionals the roadmap for launching new ventures, the licensing process, and resources within the ecosystem for potential entrepreneurs.
Careers involving advocacy to inform policy:
Experience firsthand how raising awareness and advocacy impacts lives. Doctoral students and postdocs can research a topic they are passionate about and consult with a professional organization to learn how to advocate for that issue and engage others. Other opportunities include participating in community-based Cancer Research Presentations and Discussion and volunteering at an event–a Run/ Walk for Cancer, where participants fundraise, meet survivors and learn their stories and the impact advocacy makes.
Careers involving clinical trials:
Participants can read over campus policies for animal trials and meet with an on-campus professional for advice on how to conduct a toxicity trial to test a component of their research. Then, offer to write the first draft of the protocol.
Careers involving editing:
Another job simulation opportunity is to discuss with an advisor how a particular journal or publishing house is selected for the submission of a manuscript. Participants volunteer to take a first stab at comments to an editor for resubmission of an article in a peer reviewed journal.
Careers involving communication, outreach, or teaching:
Become an NPR SciCommer, volunteer at local organizations, help curate exhibits at a local museum, advertise events, coordinate activities to encourage high schoolers to become interested in their field of study, and offer to draft a survey and analyze the results. Many times organizations are too short handed and/or lack the knowledge to execute and analyze a survey. Your knowledge will be welcomed and you gain experience for your resume.
Careers in consulting:
Other simulations can include attending a meeting of the Cornell Graduate Consulting Club to be exposed to Consulting 101, then participating in a case competition or hackathon.