Activities to Explore Purposeful Work


If you do work that you are interested in and that uses your strengths and skills every day, you will find meaning and purpose in that work. Doing a self-assessment to understand your transferable skills is a first step in that exploration. Understanding your transferable skills and strengths won’t point you to one specific career you “should” pursue, but it will give you a good perspective about yourself to explore many types of work (academic, volunteer, and career) that interest you.

ACTIVITY ONE: Complete SkillScan – even if you did it three years ago!
Move quickly through your answers; don’t think too long on each skill, but go with your first thought. 

ACTIVITY TWO: Reflect on your top Skill Categories

  1. Go to your report and click on the Personal Skill Chart to see your top Skill Categories.
  2. Are you surprised by your ‘top 4’ or ‘lowest 2’ skill categories? Why or why not? 
  3. Navigate to the next section of your Skill Set Portfolio. Skill Sets describe your specific strengths within your Categories. Pay attention to these specific strengths.

ACTIVITY THREE: Reflect on your Skill Set Themes

  1. Consider your Skill Set Themes and think about roles you have had in your life that have given you the most satisfaction.
  2. Which skills in your Themes did these favorite roles or activities require?


ACTIVITY ONE: Update your Career Interests

  1. Navigate to the upper right-hand corner of the screen and click on your initials or photo
  2. Select the Career Interests option
  3. Select any and all areas that interest you. Purposeful Work and Handshake will send you messages about events and opportunities that most interest you.

ACTIVITY TWO: Complete or Update your Profile

Employers that recruit college students for jobs and internships may search Handshake for potential applicants. Check your Settings & Privacy selections to see who you can view your profile. If your profile is visible to employers, you’ll want to keep it updated with your latest experiences.

ACTIVITY THREE: Upload your Resume

Upload a current resume to the Documents section. You’ll be ready to quick-apply to any opportunity posted in Handshake.

Delete old documents or adjust the visibility. We are happy to review and give guidance on your resume! You can email it to 

ACTIVITY FOUR: Search for Opportunities

Experiment with searching the Jobs section in Handshake. The Jobs section contains jobs, internships, on-campus student employment, and other opportunities.

Try using our favorite search functions:

  1. Geography – pick a city and state to focus your search in one location
  2. Industry (under All Filters) – what broad fields seem appealing? Narrow the search based on the industry
  3. Function (under All Filters) – what king of job responsibilities might be of interest? 
  4. Type of Opportunity – select full-time job, internship, fellowship, part-time or on-campus


Visit the Resources area in Handshake. Navigate to the Career Center menu on the left side column and then click on Resources. Explore the Resources Library.

ACTIVITY ONE: From the Resource Library, select Vault (formerly Firsthand), and discover what it is like to live a day in the life of any profession.

  1. Explore the Industry Guides section and identify one industry that interests you.
  2. Read the guide to find answers to the following questions:
    • What are the entry-level job titles in that industry?
    • What skills and experiences are required for that work?
    • What is the typical hiring timeframe for that industry?

ACTIVITY TWO: Check out Going Global to discover what it is like to work in another country. Examples:

  1. Office Protocols in Malaysia
  2. Interview Advice for Austria
  3. Cost of living information in Saudi Arabia


Although Bates alums are excited to talk to you networking may feel intimidating. If that is the case for you – you are not alone. Please schedule an appointment with a staff member in the Center for PW to talk about how you can prepare for informational conversations with alumni.

To reach out to Bates alumni eager to mentor and connect with you, begin with LinkedIn.

ACTIVITY ONE: Connect on LinkedIn

  1. Watch our LinkedIn Webinar on YouTube 
  2. Create or update your LinkedIn Profile
  3. Join the Bates College Alumni & Friends group
  4. Explore the Alumni search tool for alumni based on where they work, what they do and what they majored in

The Bates alumni network is powerful. Bates alums love to connect with current students and

ACTIVITY TWO: Learn about previous summer experiences from interns who participated in the Purposeful Work Internship Program.

  1. Check out the Summer Reflections: Blog Posts, Videos, and Podcasts


ACTIVITY ONE: Review our Resume Guide including the sample resumes.

ACTIVITY TWO: Watch the Tune Up Your Resume Webinar on You Tube

ACTIVITY THREE: Using the examples in the guide and advice from the webinar, draft a new resume or update your existing one

ACTIVITY FOUR: Send your resume draft to for review and comment!


Are you considering graduate or professional school? We are happy to help guide you. (and your favorite faculty members likely are, too)

ACTIVITY ONE: Watch Grad School 101 Webinar on YouTube

ACTIVITY TWO: Check out our Fall 2020 Grad School Workshop and Alumni Panel Series here.

ACTIVITY THREE: Set up an appointment with an advisor to strategize. Email us at