In my last post I explained what brought me to IU and the Master of Public Health program. Now that I’m 71 days from graduating—but who’s counting—it’s time to think about what’s next. Though it has been fun to be at IU, I didn’t get a degree just for kicks. My goal coming into the program was to set myself up for a career in public health. Now is the time to realize that goal.
The Job Search
Currently, I am in the job search process. Before I even started applying for jobs, though, I updated my resume. I added my field experience that I’m currently completing, revised the rest, and updated my contact information. I also updated my LinkedIn profile to match my resume. Next, I spent some time thinking about the job I want and the types of places I want to work. With those factors decided, I began my search. To look for jobs, I use LinkedIn, Indeed, CareerLink, and Idealist.org. I spend probably six hours a week looking and applying for jobs. I have to admit, it is a pretty overwhelming process. At least in my field, there isn’t just one job title to look for. I spend a lot of time trying out different keywords that describe the type of job I’d like to have.
Another important part of the job search process for me has been networking both with old and new contacts. By this point in my academic career, I’ve completed seven internships. That means I have at least seven supervisors, plus other coworkers, I can reach out to to let them know I’m looking for jobs and to seek out advice. These individuals are invaluable, and many have offered to serve as my references. In addition to having these conversations, I am consciously trying to make new connections in Indiana’s public health workforce to conduct informational interviews and network.
While my immediate goal is to get a job I like which will also pay the bills, I have some long term career goals that ultimately guide my job search and decision making process. Coming fresh out of school, I have great dreams and aspirations for how I can change the public health landscape. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I’m realizing I’m going to have to start small and work my way up. In the next five years, I’d love to get some experience “on the ground” working directly with people implementing public health interventions to get a sense of what works for people and what doesn’t. I got into public health because I like working with people, and I don’t want to forget that. In the long term, though, I see myself working on systems change. I want to help shape environments that enable people to be healthy and make healthy decisions. For many, there are quite a few barriers in the way of being healthy despite one’s motivation to do so. This is a lofty aspiration, but I think it is the direction our society and public health is moving. Connect with me on LinkedIn to see what I accomplish and where my career takes me!
Rachel Brown is a second-year graduate student. She is pursuing a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Professional Health Education. Rachel loves sharing her passion for health and wellness with others, traveling to new places, and enjoying a good meal.