A zoom-in shot of two professionals interviewing

Want to Jumpstart Your Career or Win That Internship? Cal State East Bay’s Director of Career Education and Success Shares Powerful Advice to Get You Ahead

  • BY Diego Torres
  • May 14, 2024

You’ve put in the work at Cal State East Bay and made it this far. Give yourself a high-five. But in today’s job market, you need every edge to stand out from the rest and let your academic and early career successes shine.

We asked Cal State East Bay’s new Career Empowerment Center Director, Clark Boothby, questions you have about winning that job or internship. Read on to gain Boothby’s expertise and insight so you’re prepared when the opportunity comes your way.

Q: What tips do you have for me as I look for a job/internship this summer?

A: I’d say begin with you. Reflect on what truly drives you, your core values, and where your strengths lie to pave the way for exciting opportunities.

You should explore your career path with enthusiasm. You can easily do this through or simply by listing what you view as your top strengths (hard and soft skills) and work-life value priorities (in-person vs. remote, salary.) 

Next, explore what jobs are out there for you:

  • Spend time looking for job descriptions where your skills, values, interests align 
  • Use LinkedIn to reach out to individuals in your desired field. You’d be surprised how excited some are to share their knowledge
  • Ask them about their career path and see what excites them about their work
  • While some will be happy to help, also know that not everyone may have time to help. Take it as a very neutral decline. That’s ok.  

Second, think of new ways to gain skills, experience and connections — be creative about how you gain experience and skills relevant to your field. There are volunteer websites where nonprofits post their needs for your skills today. Those are great resume-builder experiences.

Are there any free online courses or certifications (e.g., LinkedIn Learning) you can enroll in to gain crucial skills for your field? Today, the more knowledge you have, the more desirable you are to employers.

Often you can find a local chapter of an established professional association you can join that’s in your desired industry. They meet often and you can begin attending events and meetings. They love new members. These professional associations have meetups, other events, and services that cater to early career professionals like you.

The bottom line is that there are many ways to pick up new skills and meet new people, and if you want to brainstorm ideas, we at the CEC are here to help!

Q: What common mistakes do students make during an interview, and how can they avoid them?

A: Making mistakes is how we learn so that’s ok. But if you can avoid them, that’s even better. So why not avoid them?

One big mistake is not doing more research on the job, company, and industry news ahead of time. In two hours, you can learn all you need to know to sound competent and insightful.

Ask yourself:

  • Did you look up all of your interviewers and research their backgrounds (education, experience, credentials, publications)?
  • How about the company? For instance, did you type the company name into Google and see what recent news stories have been shared about them?
  • Did you read through employee reviews of the company on to see what people on the inside are saying about it?
  • Don’t worry about doing too much research — you may be surprised by what you use in the interview.
  • Also, and this is important, have questions prepared for your interviewers (shoot for three). For example, questions to ask your potential hiring manager:
    • “How would you measure my success, and what could I do to exceed those expectations?”
    • “What would you consider to be an urgent need in your area and how would I contribute to addressing that need?”
    • “How would you describe your company’s position in the industry? How would you describe your company’s challenges today in the industry? What is your area’s mission to meet those challenges?”

And one last point — please make sure you send thank you notes to each of your interviewers. Beyond just thanking them, be specific about one thing you discussed in the interview and let them know how learning about that made you even more excited about the position. That thank you note might mean the difference between you and another candidate.

Q: I understand there have been some major changes. What kind of support can students and alumni expect from the newly rebranded Career Empowerment Center? 

A: So, previously, Academic Advising and Career Education were combined into one unit.

Now, thanks to President Cathy Sandeen's creation of the Scaling Career Services Task Force with support from the Nam-Macgill Family Fund, we have a fully dedicated Career Empowerment Center  team with career experts focused on helping students develop job search skills and assist them in making connections with alumni and employers that hopefully lead to meaningful internships and jobs. 

We are completely overhauling our digital career training tools, which will be free to students (and alumni) and accessible 24/7.

For example, we will partner with a resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn optimization platform called , which should save you time and energy and help you better tailor your job application materials. We also just launched a new job search platform specifically designed to assist International students in their US job searches, called .

We will also expand the number of career events and employers we bring to campus.

Lastly, we plan to hire a team of student workers to help us grow our operations. Specifically, we plan to employ several peer career coaches whom we will thoroughly train to assist other students with their job searches. Keep an eye out for our open positions as it gets closer to the fall semester! 

All these resources belong to you if you’re a student or an alumni of Cal State East Bay. I invite you to come discover how we can help you succeed with your next step in life. Your future is worth it.