Please know you are not alone if you are dreading the next time someone asks you what your plans are for after graduation. While it may seem like everyone you know already has a job or graduate school lined up, I can assure you that is not the case, and there are seniors from Dolan to the beach freaking out about their futures. Now that you are confident it isn’t just you, the next step is to break up something as scary as a job search into smaller goals you can knock off in the next 75 days.
Repeat after me: You start when you start.
This may sound obvious but there is no sense in beating yourself up for not thinking about what you’re going to do after Fairfield earlier – it literally won’t do an ounce of good and will likely keep you from doing anything at all. What you need is a little forward momentum and then suddenly you’ll be the one giving tips to your friends about how to job search. So let’s talk about small things you can start doing RIGHT NOW that will help you feel like you’re making progress on the whole “being an adult” thing. By the way, I totally stole this mantra from Lindsey Pollak’s amazing book, “Getting From College to Career”. I know you have a lot of textbooks to read but I highly suggest you shell out $12 and set aside some time to read it.
1. Start doing some research about possible careers
If your main source of panic regarding the job search is, “I don’t even know what I want to do with my life! What kind of jobs are out there for people with my major?” then this is definitely where you want to begin. You will want to first think about your interests, skills, and personality and what type of entry-level positions would be a good fit for you. You should consider taking the Meyers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Strong Interest Inventory to get a clear sense of your personality type and interests.
If you’re more interested to know what jobs people typically get with your major then you should check out “What Can I Do With this Major?” You can also use the Alumni search function in LinkedIn to see where Fairfield alums with your major have gotten hired.
2.Research industries and companies.
Once you get a sense your interests your next step is finding particular industries and companies that interest you. You can start on our website and you can also use the Company profile pages on LinkedIn. One thing I love about those pages is there is a section called “People Also Viewed” which tends to give you the top 6 competitors for the company you are currently viewing. For the most part, you just found 6 other companies you should be considering applying to. See, this isn’t so hard!
3. Polish your resume and LinkedIn profile
Your resume is the cornerstone of your job search so you want to make sure that it is flawless and in the digital age we live in that goes for your LinkedIn profile as well. If you’re starting from scratch, I would suggest coming in to drop-in hours (Tues-Fri, 1:30-4pm) to meet with a Career Peer Adviser who has been extensively trained on resume development. Once you have a good foundation, make an appointment with a career counselor to make sure everything is perfect and to learn the ins and outs of LinkedIn.
4. Develop relationships with professionals. Informational interviews are your new best friend.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70% of all jobs are found through networking. This is exactly why we suggest investing a significant amount of your job search to developing relationships with professionals in your industry and not simply submitting your resume to every job you find online. You can start connecting with the people you already know: family, friends, friend’s parents, professors, former teachers, etc. Remember, no one can help you unless they know what type of job you are looking for and why. Then you can move on to people you don’t know but have something in common with like Fairfield alumni. Finding alums on LinkedIn, connecting with them, and setting up informational interviews will certainly lead you to some great advice and potentially to some job opportunities. Don’t know how to find alums on LinkedIn? We’ll show you!
5. Create something.
Never in the history of humankind has it been easier to publish your own thoughts and have them be seen by millions of people in an instant. It’s called, wait for it, the internet. You live there already so why not contribute something? Start a blog. Too daunting? How about a Tumblr? Whatever you do, create something that showcases your personality, writing skills, etc. Extra brownie points for content that’s related to your future industry.
6. Either clean up your social media or put your privacy settings on Def Con 5.
If you have any interest in entering fields such as marketing, public relations, advertising, etc. then having an active social media presence is in your best interest. However, this presence needs to be a completely positive representation of who you are which means thinking twice before posting anything that might be considered inappropriate. According to a survey conducted by Reppler, 69% of employers rejected a candidate because of what they saw about them on a social networking site. Don’t let that be you.
If your future career has nothing to do with social media then you can certainly just try to make it impossible for strangers to see your posts, tweets, etc. Please note that even the highest privacy settings will not prevent an off-color comment from going viral so do not post anything you wouldn’t want to see on Gawker.com the next day. See here and here.
7. Come see us.
Now it is time for the shameless plug: for the love of everything good in this world, please pick up the phone and call 203-254-4081 to schedule an appointment with one of us in Career Planning. We chose our professions because we love helping students but we can’t help you if you avoid us like the plague. We look forward to meeting you!
Meredith Tornabene, Associate Director
Do you dream of writing for a magazine like Glamour some day? Obsessed with fashion blogs? Want to work in fashion, entertainment, or media? Well, if you asked yes to any of those then you should consider getting involved with Her Campus.
So what exactly is Her Campus?
Her Campus is an online magazine aimed at female college students. The website is divided into six sections: style, beauty, health, love, life, career, and high school. Any questions you need answered, you will find them throughout this wonderful website. But wait it gets better, they added the feature of “My Campus”, where colleges across the nation have the opportunity to have a HC chapter on their campus. And, lucky for us, this is what Danielle Tullo and Amanda McKelvey did!
Amanda and Danielle at the HC Fairfield Launch Party
The two juniors got approval to launch Her Campus Fairfield, allowing them and their writers to post articles aimed towards the Fairfield women! Since the launch, there have been numerous amazing articles on the Fairfield page including why you should study abroad, cute Olympic athletes, a party playlist, and many more.
To boil it down, if you want to do something that has to do with creating content around fashion, pop culture, entertainment – so do a lot of other people. Writing for Her Campus at Fairfield will give you the opportunity to actually get some experience writing about those topics. This is a very powerful way for you to build your brand & resume. Just imagine that you are in an interview with some folks at E! for a VERY competative summer Internship. Like they do for all of their applicants, they do a very quick google search before you come in. To their surprise, they find some concrete examples of your WORK and notice that you consistently write about pop culture – BOOM, they’re impressed.
Her Campus Fairfield Page
Also make sure to get your daily dose of HC Fairfield at: www.hercampus.com/fairfield
Career Peer Adviser
In recognition of the 2014 Olympics I thought I would use an Olympics analogy that applies to a lot of things in life. For our purposes, consider the interview. Why would anyone no matter where they are in the job search process, consider going on an important interview if they have never prepared. Interviewing is a skill that is built over time and requires practice.
My first recommendation would be to visit the Career Center and spend a session reviewing the interview. What are direct, indirect, stress and behavioral interview techniques? What is the simple “trick” you use in a behavioral interview? Have the counselor review some of the most commonly asked interview questions. If you are unsure about how one might go about researching a company your counselor can guide you on that in addition to offering pointers on dressing appropriately for the interview. Then, as you are leaving that meeting, schedule a time to come back for a mock interview. What a concept!
A mock interview is an opportunity for you to simulate a real interview without the added pressure of knowing a job is actually on the line. A company and position is selected that you will research (ideally within an industry you are interested in pursuing) and prepare as if it were the real deal. Typically they will run about 20-30 minutes and the interviewer can provide valuable feedback on how you handled yourself. Could you have provided stronger responses? Was it clear that you knew the organization and you did your research? Did you say like/um/uh too much? How about that annoying habit you have of staring at the ceiling when answering the question? You see where I am going with this? This experience will help better understand the interview itself and where you might need some work. Consider doing several of these interviews until you feel confident.
A wonderful resource the Fairfield Career Planning Center has made available to students is InterviewStream. In the privacy of your own room you can go through a mock interview while filming yourself. How do you think YOU will do? I dare you. Go to www.fairfield.interviewstream.com
Want to practice with friends who are all going through the process also? You all have to be honest with each other (but in a nice way), and each have the list of 100 most commonly asked questions. Take turns asking each other questions and critique the response. After a while it becomes second nature.
Remember, you never want to go into an interview sounding as if you have memorized all of your answers and nothing is spontaneous; but to go into the interview knowing how you might respond to almost anything thrown your way is where you want to be.
Finally, when the time comes and you get that interview…and you know you will…take the time to prep. Don’t be that person that thinks their great personality and ability to hold a conversation will get you through. Chances are you will be left wondering what happened.
To boil it down, Olympic athletes don’t go into their event unprepared… so you shouldn’t either.
Director, Career Planning Center
The rules are simple:
1. Follow @FairfieldCPC on Twitter
2. In 140 characters share how Fairfield University has helped you on your “Road to Stagcess.” #Stagcess is more than just a hashtag. When students graduate from Fairfield University they will forever be a Stag. We want students to tell us how Fairfield has cultivated them on their personal journey throughout college. Whether it be preparing them for a future career, helping them grow socially, or even on a deeper personal level. In the tweet student must use the hashtag #stagcess in order to be entered into a drawing to win an iPad Mini.
3. If the contestant tags a friend into their “Stagcess” story, they will be entered TWICE in the contest. The drawing for the iPad Mini will take place at the Career Fair on Thursday, 2/27.
Message us on Twitter with questions.
Deciding to become a lawyer is a major life decision and deserves careful thought. Make no mistake: going to law school will change your life. In deciding whether you should pursue this path, you should follow your instincts and consider the following questions as you explore if law is the career for you.
Should I go to Law School?
Law should be your career if you are hardworking, energetic, analytical, like to argue, enjoy reading and have excellent writing skills. If you have a passion for the law, that will carry you through the many difficult days that you will encounter in law school and in your career. Your career should be something you love not something you chose for the money you think you will make or the prestige you think it might bring you. If you are hesitant about law school you probably should consider waiting rather than going on directly upon graduation.
What kind of skills do I need to be successful in Law school?
Excellent reading and writing skills are essential to success in law school and beyond. The ability to speak confidently in public and to think critically are invaluable. Only those with a strong work ethic need apply. You should spend your undergraduate career acquiring a honing these skills to prepare yourself for law career.
What should I major in if I am planning to go to law school?
There is no required major for law school. Students major in areas as diverse as History, Politics, English, Psychology as well as Accounting and Nursing.
Is your heart in it?
Finally, check in with your intuition. What is it telling you about this move? Law school might make all the sense in the world, but if it isn’t right for you, no amount of effort will make it more right or less wrong. Take your time with this question. Envision yourself in the law school atmosphere and as an attorney (or whatever goals you have in mind after graduation). Can you see yourself happy and functioning at your peak in both scenarios? If so, then start researching schools and sign up for the LSAT. But if not, then realize it’s better to know now than three years (and many thousands of dollars in debt!) later, and move on to the next challenge.
Join the St. Robert Bellarmine Society
The Society is open to all undergraduate students interested in a law career. If you are considering law school you are encouraged to join. The Society offers programs and events to help you decide if law is what you want to pursue and offers information to help you prepare.
On Tuesday, March 4 the Pre-Law Society is sponsoring 2 events. Contact the Career Planning Center if you plan to attend and or wish to become a member of the St. Robert Bellarmine Pre-Law Society.
Financing Law School
Stephen G. Brown, Assistant Dean, Fordham Law School
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
What is the First Year of Law School Like?
Presented by Fairfield alumni who are currently attending law school
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Associate Director, Career Planning Center
The spring Career Fair is quickly approaching! This semester’s fair will be held on Thursday, February 13 from 11am-2pm in the RecPlex. The Career Fair is a unique opportunity to find out about internships, full-time job opportunities, and to network with professionals in a variety of industries. In order for you to get the most out of the fair, we’re going to cover the common Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) but we’re also going to go over what we’re calling Frequently Said Complaints (FSC’s).
FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)
Who is coming?
If you log into Stags4Hire you will see a Career Fair section in the bottom left corner – click on the “Spring 2014 Career Fair” link and then click on the “Registered Organizations” link in the top left. This will give you the most current list of companies registered for the fair as well as the majors they are recruiting. While you’re on Stags4Hire, check out the internships and jobs that have been recently posted!
What do I wear?
Ideally, you will wear a suit. If you don’t have one here with you, consider taking a quick trip home to pick it up or ask your parents to ship it to you if you live far away. You can also find affordable suits at Marshall’s which is conveniently on the Stag shuttle route. If you have a car, check out the Good Will on the Post Road in Westport for some hidden gems. If you can’t get a suit, then you should dress as professionally as possible. No jeans or sweatpants, please.
What do I bring?
Copies of your resume, preferably on resume paper. Don’t have a resume or need to spruce yours up? Stop by drop-in hours Tuesday-Friday from 1:30-4:30pm and all day on Feb. 12. Have a great resume but no resume paper? Stop by the Career Planning Center to pick some up. You may want to bring a portfolio to put your resumes in and also so you can take notes as well as hold any business cards you collect.
What do I say?
You want to do as much research about the companies as you can before the fair which will help you ask better questions. You can start off the conversation by saying something, “Hi, my name is Lucas Stag and I’m a senior Psychology major with a Marketing minor.” What you say next can be totally up to you. Maybe you give them an idea of some of the things you’re involved in on campus, tell them about a relevant internship experience, or a related class. Perhaps you mention something you saw about the company when you researched them. You can talk with them about why you are interested in that particular industry as well. Most importantly, be yourself!
If you can, avoid asking the recruiter what the company does or anything else you can find doing a simple Google search.
FSC’s (Frequently Said Complaints)
There is nothing here for Arts & Sciences majors.
There is a misconception on campus that businesses only hire students from the Dolan School of Business which isn’t true at all. What is true is that there are some companies who require a particular skillset to work there (accounting, finance, etc.) but then there are many other companies who are very interested in hiring liberal arts majors. While some liberal arts majors will end up working for non-profits, government agencies, educational institutions, etc. the vast majority will work at the same exact places where their DSB friends got hired as well.
How come X company isn’t here?
Great question! There could be a variety of reasons why a particular company is not at the Career Fair. If it’s a very popular company (and that’s usually who people are looking for) then there is a good chance that they do not need to do any campus recruiting in order to attract recent graduates to apply. If there headquarters are far away from Fairfield they may choose to recruit more locally instead. The staff at Career Planning is constantly working to attract new companies to Fairfield so please let us know if there is a particular company that you would like to see at the fair in the future.
The Career Fair should be longer.
One reason why the Career Fair is 3 hours long is because that is the timeframe that employers have requested. When the Career Fair is spread out over a long period of time, there are always lulls and down periods where there aren’t many students there and employers are left with no one to talk to which may lead them to think it’s time to pack up and leave. A shorter period of time allows employers to maximize the time they spend on campus and also encourages students to come out to the fair early.
If you view the Career Fair as an opportunity to develop your networking skills then you can certainly get a lot out of it and it may just end up leading to an internship or job opportunity. We look forward to seeing you at the Career Fair and encourage you to come by our drop-in hours if you have any further questions on how to best prepare for the event.
Meredith Tornabene, Associate Director
Every time I travel I make a point to try to chat with the person sitting next to me. Sometimes (ok, most of the time) the person is not interested in becoming my new friend. I get it… JetBlue has free TV and my positivity can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. But in my most recent flight from San Francisco to New York, I sat next a really nice young professional who humored me in a conversation about what she did – can we say Career Counselor’s dream! So kick off your shoes and enjoy my first ever Friend of Fairfield Career Spotlight.
Director of Product at Trulia
Tell me about Trulia?
Trulia is an online residential real estate site for home buyers, sellers, renters and real estate professionals. According to their about page, they are a group of “energized and happy brainiacs”. Their employees consist of “semi-pro athletes, ping-pong enthusiasts, avid surfers, chicken farmers, jugglers, knitters” joined together with a common goal; create “killer products that will improve the really hard and potentially un-fun process of finding the right place to live.” She said the best part of working for Trulia are the people, which makes sense as they were voted one of best places to work in the Bay Area.
As Director of Product she focuses on helping consumers who want to buy a new home have the best online search experience. In our conversation she asked me to go through the process of searching for a home on Trulia and engaged me in some interesting questions about how I felt about the product – pretty cool stuff! The other part of her position focuses on helping home builders connect with consumers.
She graduated from Georgetown University in 2006 (fellow Jesuit institution!). Her first job out of college was an Analyst for Citibank in the Emerging Markets team. She worked at Citibank for 3 years and built a great professional network. Next stop on her journey was University California Berkley to get her MBA. During her time at CAL, she interned at Apple on the iPhone (so cool). I asked her why she didn’t want to work for Apple post MBA and she said that they had great products and exciting projects, but she wasn’t challenged and didn’t feel like she would be able to make an immediate impact on their business. After grad school she spent just over a year working in management consulting, but was quickly wooed by the tech culture in San Francisco. Her first position at Trulia was a Corporate Finance and Strategy Manager – she was promoted to her current role just after a year with the company (impressive).
What has helped you succeed at Trulia?
She works hard, forged strong relationships with senior leaders, and shows genuine interest in the business. The relationship piece seemed to be one of the biggest factors in her upward mobility within the company. Since day one, she found genuine mentors – people who created opportunities for her and mentored her through the process. Her background was also key in her success – she was able to leverage her finance skills from Citibank and strategy skills from consulting to successfully tackle challenging problems.
Any advice for a Fairfield student interested in working in tech/for a start up?
Network! You might not get your ideal role right off the bat, but if you are likable and capable of doing the work doors will open for you. Ideally, you want to have bosses that advocate for you and value what you do – everyone needs a personal cheerleader! Clearly, if you are interested in working in Tech or for Startups there are companies all over the country, but a lot of them are in California. She encourages students to leverage their alumni base and LinkedIn to find a way in. If you are not in a technical role, sales is also a great place to start.
Everyone has a long term goal, what is yours?
CEO of an awesome company like Trulia.
If you are interested in working for a company like Trulia there are entry level sales positions in New York… and of course, the Career Planning Center is here to help along the way!
Associate Director, Career Planning Center
Now a days, more and more companies are turning to video calling software like Skype during the hiring process. While virtual interviews might be slightly less nerve-wracking than those done in-person – you don’t have to think about traffic, getting lost, or general sweatiness – they still require some SERIOUS preparation. Below are a few tips on how to ace these types of interviews.
Remember, it’s an interview
You need to prepare for a Skype interview in the same way you would for a face to face interview. Know the company inside and out, prepare questions, know your resume, and be ready to tackle “behavioral questions”. Here is our interview handout if you need a refresher – CLICK: CPC Employment Interview Handout 2013.
Prepare your surroundings
It’s important to make sure you are in a quiet environment that is as close to an office as possible. Clearly you don’t want to be distracted and you do not want your interviewer to be distracted. It is also very important that your equipment is set and the internet is working. I realize this is pretty obvious, but technical problems tend to be the most common issue with Skype interviews. On top of having a quiet space and having your equipment ready to go – you need to be aware of your background. Think about it… If you have your Bob Marley poster from your dorm hanging behind you that says SOMETHING. Don’t let the interviewer create any unwarranted opinions about you based on your surroundings.
The whole dress for success concept stays true for Skype interviews. This is not your opportunity to practice the “News Anchor” look… You know, professional on the top, party on the bottom. Treat it like a REAL interview and put your big boy/girl pants on. Similarly, make sure your Skype username is professional – so if you are using SccrrPlayer99, then it might be time to change it to something more consistent with your name.
The saying practice makes perfect is NO JOKE. If you have never used Skype or Google+ Hangouts before then be sure to try it out first with a friend or family member. That starts with the obvious; you need to download the program and make sure it runs on your computer and you need to have a functioning web camera with a microphone. If you do not have a computer or a webcam the Career Planning Center can help set something up. Another way to practice is to utilize InterviewStream. This is a new online resource that will help you prepare for interviews by going through a realistic interview experience where you are asked challenging questions based on the type of interview you have selected. The software records you as you respond to the questions and then loads your mock interview into your own personal InterviewStream account. You can than review it as many times as you want or send it to someone else to review. Essentially, you get to practice your interview using a webcam and then you get to review it. It really is the perfect tool to prepare for a Skype interview!
It’s all in the delivery
Obviously how you act during your interview is what is going to make the difference. Here are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Alternate eye contact between your webcam and your screen
- If you have a headset, use it – your audio might be clearer
- Smile and focus on your posture
- Slow down
- Don’t become distracted by your own image on the screen (To fix this, change your settings to disable your image showing up or simply cover up your image with a Post-It note)
- Say thank you at the end!
Hopefully these tips are useful and remember if you ever need anything we are here to help!
Stephanie Gallo (Same person, new name)
Associate Director, Career Planning Center
As finals come to an end (you survived!) and holiday break begins I bet you are looking for things to do to fill your time. How about you take some time this break to create (or beef up) your LinkedIn Profile. Below are a few tips from LinkedIn on how to make an effective student profile (tips taken from university.linkedin.com).
1. Write an informative profile headline: Your headline is a short, memorable professional slogan. For example, “Honors student seeking marketing position” or “Social Media Marketing Enthusiast I Communication Student”. For more ideas, check out the profiles of students and recent alumni admire for ideas.
2. Pick an appropriate photo: LinkedIn isn’t Facebook. Upload a high-quality photo (your profile will be 7x more likely to be viewed) of you along, professionally dressed. No party shots, cartoon avatars, or puppy pics!
3. Show off your education: Include all your schools, major(s) and minor, coursers, and student abroad or summer programs. Don’t be shy – LinkedIn is an appropriate place to show off your GPA, test scores, and honors or awards.
4. Develop a professional Summary: Your Summary statement is like the first few paragraphs of your best-written cover letter – concise and confident about your qualifications and goals. Include relevant work and extracurricular.
5. Fill “Skills & Expertise” with keywords: This section is the place to include keywords and phrases that recruiters search for. Find relevant ones in job listings that appeal to you and profile of people who have the kinds of roles you want.
6. Update your status regularly: Posting updates helps you stay on your network’s radar and build your professional image. Mention your projects, professional books or articles, or events you’re attending. Many recruiters read your feed!
7. Show your connectedness: Groups you join appear at the bottom of your profile. Joining some shows that you want to engage in professional communities and learn the lingo. Start with your university and industry groups.
8. Collect diverse recommendations: The best profiles have at least one recommendation for each position a person has held. Recruiters are most impressed by recommendations from people who have directly managed you.
9. Claim your unique LinkedIn URL: To increase the professional results that appear when people search for you online, set your LinkedIn profile to “public” and create a unique URL (e.g., www.linkedin.com/in/JohnSmith).
10. Share your work: You can also add actual examples of your writing, design work, or other accomplishments on your profile, where you can share rich media or documents. What better way to sell your skills than to show employers exactly what you can produce?
Use the check list below to make sure you are on the right track! A big thanks to LinkedIn.com for all of the amazing resources.
Click here - LinkedIn Student Profile Check List
Stephanie Gallo (Same person, new name)
Associate Director, Career Planning Center
Whether you are in the beginning of your career or looking for ways to advance, if you address these four areas, you can successfully manage your career.
1. Owning Your Career
You may think that your company is going to manage your career, but in most cases this does not happen. You are responsible. What are you doing to seek out information from role models and mentors to help you determine your career path? Look a level or two ahead of you and ask that person questions like, “How did you get to this position? What was your path?” Then ask yourself, “How can I develop myself to get there?” Ten percent of what you learn is from taking classes; 20% is from a coach/ mentor/ boss;, and 70% is through on-the-job experiences. Seek out opportunities to be put on projects and to help out. Possess the motivation, show that initiative, and don’t forget to master the job you have now.
2. Create/Develop Your Skill Set
Is your company laying people off, but hiring people, too? Welcome to the world of shifting work skills. You need to take the emotion out of it and look forward to the growing industries and the skills required to be successful where the growth is. Technology, healthcare and hospitality are examples of growing industries. Assess yourself. What skills do you possess that will transfer? How can you sell that to a future employer? What new skills must you acquire to be successful? What most people want in a job is 1) challenge 2) balance and 3) authenticity and passion. Find your passion. Companies are open to employees from other industries as long as the skills are there.
3. Create Your Personal Brand
It’s amazing at how little time and energy people put into planning; whether it is for their next interview, their next career move, or even a networking event. Take the time to create short commercials about each point of your resume. What did you do, what did you learn, what was the result? Understand yourself and prepare one- or two-minute stories that tell the listener who you are and what’s unique about you. Practice! By understanding yourself and preparing your message, you are creating your personal “brand.” Once you master this, take it to social media and make your LinkedIn profile, your Facebook, and your Twitter feed portray the authentic message that you control.
4. Be a Leader
All employers want leaders in their organization. Leadership is complex; it grows over time. Anyone can demonstrate leadership. It’s not always the highest performers that employers want to hire and promote, but the ones that have the highest potential to lead. What are some ways to develop leadership? Find the holes in your organization. Where can you make the biggest contribution? Get involved; raise your hand for additional projects. Does it mean putting in extra time? Of course it does! Do the work associated with the next level. Be agile, flexible, and develop new skills. It’s a choice you make. If you are caught leading; you may be identified for that next level position! Being a team player is essential in today’s market. It’s a “we” environment. Develop an “I am here to serve, to help you/ manager/company succeed” attitude.
Interested in more? Here are some Recommended Readings:
Emotional Intelligence 2.0, by Travis Bradberry and Jean Graves
You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader, by Mark Sanborn
(Article provided to CPC by Fairfield University Alumni Relations )
Samantha MacDonald ’11 – An alumna from the Class of 2011 shares her experience.
Samantha MacDonald graduated from Fairfield in 2011 with a degree in international business and management, and promptly got a job as a mutual fund account administrator at BNY Mellon. “The job market was tough after graduation,” Samantha noted, “I took the opportunity I was given, I was lucky to find a job.”
A little over a year into her job, Samantha knew that finance was not the right field for her. She figured out that she wanted to work in public relations or advertising, but didn’t know how to go about making the change.
Deciding What to Do
Even after realizing that finance was not for me, it was difficult to decide where to go next. I learned that knowing what you don’t like is just as important to knowing what you do like. I decided to do a little “soul searching,” and combine my interests and strengths. I was always interested in brand management and marketing, and my strengths included writing and creativity. This led me to believe that a career in public relations or advertising would suit me well.
How Fairfield Helped
Fairfield had been an excellent resource when I was an undergraduate. I worked with Cath Borgman (director of career planning center) during that time, and she offered advice surrounding potential careers, interviews, and resume development.
After signing up for Fairfield’s “Boston Young Alumni Job Search Workshop,” I got in touch with the director of Alumni Career Services at Fairfield, Julie Tuozzoli, and started working directly with her regarding my career switch. From providing me with industry resources to helping me rewrite my resume and re-shape my LinkedIn profile, Julie was a tremendous help.
Networking, Networking, Networking
In my pursuit to change careers I explored many paths. First, I worked with Julie to re-shape my resume, cover letter outline, and LinkedIn profile. Then, I reached out to the Fairfield community. I found local graduates in the Boston area through the FAN (Fairfield Alumni Network). Everyone was very responsive and happy to answer my questions. I set up a few meetings and phone calls with people who worked in public relations and advertising.
Next, I made use of my personal network by reaching out to family and friends for advice or hints about potential job openings.
Lastly, I took advantage of workshops and networking events. Although not yet a member, I attended my first Pub Club (Publicity Club of New England) writing workshop. I networked with young professionals and got the chance to set foot inside a big Boston ad agency for the first time. I also attended a few networking/career events hosted by Fairfield. I connected with alumni in a variety of industries and received helpful advice. As a result of these experiences, I gained a great group of personal resources.
Although I hadn’t used it much before this experience, LinkedIn became an excellent resource as well. I began joining groups related to public relations and advertising, and reaching out to local Fairfield graduates. I was pleasantly surprised by the responses I received. Through one Fairfield graduate, I connected with a local woman who was starting a health non-profit in the community. It turned out that she was looking for a communications assistant for her launch. I needed the writing experience, and she needed some assistance. While at BNY Mellon, I simultaneously held a part-time internship with this local non-profit. It was tough to balance the two jobs, but well worth the experience.
A Full-Time Internship
I met a lot of helpful—and realistic—people on my journey to a new career. I quickly learned that public relations and advertising were difficult fields to break into. After a long haul of applying for jobs that I didn’t yet have the experience for, I realized that an internship might be my ticket in the door for this particular industry. Through traditional online searching, I found a full-time internship at Regan Communications Group, a well-known public relations firm with clients in the consumer, lifestyle and hospitality sectors.
I left my full-time position at BNY Mellon for this opportunity. As crazy as it sounded at the time, I knew that this would be my chance to make a career switch. For seven months, I served as a public relations intern, in which I worked on major client accounts in the hospitality and nonprofit sectors. I created and edited media advisories, press releases, news stories, and coverage reports for clients and special events. I was able to grow my knowledge of print, digital, and social media outlets by working on different writing assignments, media clips, and newspaper pitches.
After my internship experience, I landed a job as a copywriter/Internet marketing specialist at Web Solutions, a Connecticut-based web design, Internet marketing and branding agency. The experience has been very exciting and motivating – I love my new career!
If you are undecided about your major – you are not alone!
- 50% of students entering college nationwide are unsure of their major
- Somewhere between 55 % and 60% will change their major at least once and others two or three times.
It is quite common for students to enter college without a major declared. Many students come to college with an idea of what they want to major in only to discover that it is not what they they thought it would be life. One of your jobs as a college student is to EXPLORE.
1 ) Attend the “Choosing a Major Workshop”… Thursday, November 7, 2013– 6:30-7:30 Kelley Center Presentationake classes to meet the core requirements and take classes that interest you and see if you like them. The Career Planning Center is here to help you throughout this process. Here are a few additional resources that you should take advantage of if you are still trying to solidify your major:
This workshop which will discuss major and minor options, dispel myths concerning majors and careers, and offer resources to give you the information you seek.
2) Take a Career Assessment
The Career Planning Center offers the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and the Strong Interest Inventory. These assessments are tools to help you gain more information about yourself…personality, skills, interests and values. No assessment can make the decision for you but provide a good starting point. For information about the assessments schedule an appointment with a career counselor. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
3 ) Explore the What Can I Do With This Major? website
The “What Can I Do With this Major” website is a greate resource that provides a general overview of majors and jobs associated with each major. It also includes additional resources for exploration.
3 ) Meet with a Career Planning Counselor
Schedule an appointment with a counselor to discuss options and resources. Email email@example.com or call 203.254.4081. The office is located in the Kelley Center.
4 ) Additional Strategies:
- Review Majors and develop a “short list”
- Eliminate disciplines that you know you are not interested in
- Consider your passions – what do you love? Ask yourself: What fascinates me?
- Consider multiple interests: Combine a major with a minor or consider a double major
Associate Director, Career Planning Center
I grew up watching it in movies. That dream job a young, determined girl or guy just happens to land, you know the nonexistent ones. As you watch these characters walk around Manhattan with designer clothes, working for famous successful people and the best companies, you wonder how do I get where they are? I have wondered that same question over the past four years and never expected to find the answer when I signed up for the Alumni Job Shadow Day Program last fall.
When first hearing about this program, I was unsure whether it would actually be worth my time; however, after sending my application to a dozen or so companies without receiving much response I figured it was worth a shot. As part of the program, I was placed with alum Brian Williams who worked at MSL Group, a large Public Relations firm in downtown New York City. Although I had never heard of this company I was excited at the opportunity to see the inside workings of an actual Public Relations firm versus what I had learned about them in my textbooks.
During the following winter break I went into the city to spend the day shadowing Mr. Williams at his job as Vice President of MSL’s Consumer sector. We toured the office, sat in on client meetings with famous companies and went to an informational lunch with other MSL employees who answered any and all of my questions. However, apart from all the information I learned that day some of the best moments came from our unified stag pride. We talked about different Fairfield traditions such as Clam Jam, Midnight Breakfast, and Point Days. He told me about which beach houses he lived in while a student and how nights at the grape were exactly the same then as they are now. These moments lead to a bond which put my foot in the door and landed my summer internship position at the company.
With Brian’s help getting my resume to Human Resources, I was given the opportunity to join MSL Group as a paid intern in the Personal Care sector this past summer where I became an intern for both the Feminine Care and Beauty and Luxury teams. As a member of these teams I was not assigned minimal tasks, but taken in and given work that was an important piece of the overall campaign. I was assigned tasks such as media monitoring, event planning, campaign pitching and a variety of meaningful writing projects. All of which allowed me to hone skills that will be useful in the future.
Through this internship I was able to work with clients I would never have before dreamed of such as Tiffany, Shiseido, Proctor and Gamble accounts, etc… This overall experience made for an amazing summer, but further amazing relationships. I still stay in contact with a variety of mentors and individuals I met while working at MSL. These connections leave the door open for my future possibilities in the PR industry because they already know my work habits and abilities.
On my first day in the MSL office, a few individuals had already heard from Brian “a fellow Stag” was joining the company. His pride for Fairfield led him to believe in my abilities as an intern because he knew where I had come from and what I was capable of. I cannot explain how thankful I am that I decided to apply for the Career Planning Center’s Alumni Job Shadow Program. Never in a million years did I expect to land an amazing internship by shadowing a Fairfield alum around over my winter break; however, this opportunity gave me the chance to be that determined girl who gets that inexistent, dream job.
Bottom line, if I could do it you could do it.
To apply,visit fairfield.edu/jobshadowinfo. All applications must be completed by November 1st.
If you are interested in Post Graduate Service or working for a Non-Profit organization be sure to stop by the Non-Profit & Post Grad Career Fair on Tuesday, November 12 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the Oak Room. Below is the list of attending organizations and let us know if you have any questions!
Blessed Sarnelli Community
Bon Secours Volunteer Ministry
Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
Capuchin Youth and Family Ministries
Career Resources, Inc.
Center for FaithJustice
Cristo Ray New York High School
CT Campus Compact
Fairfield University Campus Ministry
Good Shepherd Volunteers
International Institute of Connecticut
Jesuit School of Theology, Santa Clara University
Jesuit Volunteer Corps
Jesuit Volunteer Corps-Northwest
New Haven/Leon Sister City Project
Passionist Volunteers International
Providence Alliance for Catholic Teachers (PACT)
Public Allies Connecticut
Rostro de Cristo
RSHM Volunteer Program
Saint Martin de Porres High School
SSJ Mission Corps
Teach For America
The Starfish Foundation, Inc.
Volunteers in Mission – Bernardine Franciscan Sisters
The waiting process after submitting a job application, meeting a recruiter or going on an interview is often nerve wracking. The stigma about job hunting is whether or not you should contact the employer. Following up after the interview is essential when it comes to getting a job. Here are several important tools that will leave a mark on the company you are interviewing with!
Why is following up essential?
1) Following up with the interviewer shows that you exist. Companies have multiple tasks on their plates. Also if you are interviewing for a competitive position your resume will be filed in with many others. Sending a quick message to the interviewer could possibly be the edge you need against your competitors.
2) Following up shows that you are taking initiative. Sending an email to your interviewer will give you the opportunity to show your potential employer how dedicated and persistent you are.
Are there rules?
- You are not being annoying by following up with an employer. They appreciate you reaching out to them. Just make sure that you are not contacting them every day because they have jobs too.
- The amount of time it takes you to follow up is crucial. After your interview, send an email thanking the company for the interview, state that you enjoyed the interview and lastly that you hope to work with their company in the near future. This shows the employee how much you are invested in the position.
- Following up with an employer is essential if something changed in your certifications or your experience expressed on your resume. It is also a great topic of discussion that will get you onto their hiring radar.
- You should follow up with an employer even if you are unsure you will be getting the position. Be positive about following up and look at it as an opportunity for constructive and unbiased criticism. This will show employers that you are receptive to feedback and also they could possibly keep you in mind for a future position.
What are the avenues I can use to follow up with an employee?
- You can send a quick email but make sure to keep this short and simple.
- You can contact your employer over LinkedIn
- You can also use Twitter
Katie Brundage ‘15
Career Planning Peer Advisor
We’ve all seen those famous Priceline.com commercials with William Shatner, but did you know that representatives from Priceline.com will be at the Career Fair this Thursday, September 26th? Priceline.com helps users obtain discount rates for travel-related purchases such as airline tickets and hotel rooms. The company is also headquartered right in Norwalk, Connecticut! There are currently four internship opportunities available at Priceline.com, including positions in software engineering, finance, and customer service.
For more information about the internships we hope to see you this THURSDAY at the Career Fair and check out stags4hire.experience.com!
Next week recruiters from Big Four will come to campus to meet with students to discuss opportunities with their firm – Check out the schedule below & we hope to see you there!
Ernst & Young – Office Hours
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Location: Career Planning Center
PricewaterhouseCoopers – Office Hours
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Location: Career Planning Center
Deloitte – Resume Review
12:30 pm -4:30 pm
Location: Career Planning Center
Sweet Life at KPMG
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Location: Career Planning Center
Whether you landed your DREAM internship or you’re at a company that might not be your first choice, consider this experience an audition for your future. This is your time to apply all of the skills you learned from the classroom and life thus far to the REAL world. Here are some tips to make sure you nail that audition and make the most of your internship.
Come Prepared on Day 1
Do your research! I know what you are thinking… But this isn’t the interview, why do I need to continue to read up on/ research the company? Well, it’s simple – you’re an intern and you are still in the “proving yourself” stage. Read up on the company’s products, keep up on any articles that surface in the news, learn about their competitors – you never know when your research will come in handy. Similarly learn the names and faces of the big players in the company. You don’t want to end up being on an elevator with the CEO and start talking about something inappropriate. On the same token, if you do end up in an elevator with an important person, this might be a good time to say hello and introduce yourself. Knowing their name will be impressive – that’s a promise.
Work Hard & Effectively
Put your cell phone down, don’t check social media (unless that is part of your job description) and focus on the task at hand. Treat every day of your internship like it’s an audition, the biggest game of you athletic career, or your final Glee Club performance – WORK HARD. My former coach used to always tell me “Steph, hard work is only worth something if it’s effective”. Imagine running your heart out in a race and then realizing that you are running in the completely wrong direction. Sure, you ran fast andyou tried hard, but you still never made it to the finish line. One main tip to working hard effectively is to ask questions when you don’t know what’s going on. Imagine you just got an assignment from your manager and you have no idea how to do it. Do not smile, nod and tell them “I got this!” Instead, ask them some questions and make sure you understand what it is you are charged with doing. You can either be the intern who asks questions and tries hard to get it right, or you can be the one screws up a project because you wanted to seem like you knew what you were doing. I strongly suggest you avoid the later.
Staying positive is extremely important in any internship. Even if the experience isn’t all you thought it would be, it is important that you remain upbeat and keep a good attitude. The goal of your internship is to learn, network, and leave with a strong reference from your boss. At the end of the day, if you really don’t like what you are doing – it is only three months… You will survive! Here’s another secret, generally speaking people like having interns. They remind them about how excited they were when they started their career. That positive attitude might get your more responsibilities and will definitely transcend into a positive reputation at the firm.
Request Feedback & Be Receptive To It
Periodically throughout your internship request meetings with your boss to assess how things are going. You want to know how you are doing and what you could be doing better. Once you get feedback, USE IT. Even if your boss says you aren’t hacking it – take the advice they are giving and change the way you are doing things.
Network, Network, Network
If you don’t remember anything else, remember this – networking will get you your job. Networking basically means building and maintaining relationships. Keep in mind if your internship is in the field you want to work, then you’re more than likely going to be running into these individuals for the rest of your career – the world is small. When you are in your internship try and meet as many people as you can, but don’t just introduce yourself. Talk to them. Learn about what they do, where they came from, and where they are going to go. People love to talk about what they do so listen! One tip is to send an email or “thank you” note to everyone you meet, it’s a foolproof way to ensure that they remember you. Your most valuable resource during your internship is the people that you’re surrounded by – even your fellow interns.
Lastly, SAY THANK YOU.
At the conclusion of your internship be sure to talk to your manager about what you got out of the experience and thank him/her for giving you the opportunity to work there. At the end of the day, people love feeling appreciated and even a simple expression of gratitude may even help you land a full time job.
Assistant Director, Career Planning Center
Classes have been out for 1 week, you have already made your way through the first 3 seasons of Mad Men, and your butt has made a very permanent dent on the couch. I think it might be time to get up and do something. Here are a few things you can do to make the most of your summer.
This is clearly the preferred and obvious way to spend your summer. Internships provide you with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and practice the skills you learned in the classroom. These experiences are not just resume builders (although they do take up a lot of white space), they help you decide what your interests are and what you want to do. You might think that you want to work in finance, but then after a summer of interning in corporate finance you find out it is not for you.
Despite what you might have heard, it is not too late to get an internship. Continue to check out Experience for new job postings and visit Indeed.com, Internships.com and other job search engines to keep track of new opportunities. Also, follow @FairfieldCPC – we will continue to retweet jobs and internships throughout the summer. Virtual internship are also a great option, check out our blog post on virtual internships to learn more (see Virtual Internship blog post).
If the internship route was not in the cards, do not fret! There are plenty of other ways for you to gain valuable experience. Being a volunteer provides you with an opporuntity to give back to the community and gain real world experience. If it’s an option, be strategic about what volunteer opportunities you take on and try to tie it into your career interest. Are you a marketing major? Maybe a local non-profit needs help with community outreach and engagement via social media! Are you interested in writing? Ask to start a blog for your local soup kitchen. Really the options are endless.
There are a bunch of different ways for you to find out about volunteer opportunities – check out Volunteersquare.com and other sites that aggregate opportunities. Campus Ministry might also know of some places that need volunteers during the summer. Ask around, you will find something!
Participating in research is another great way to spend your summer. There are many Research summer programs in various fields – economics, engineering, science, mathematics, and even business. Even if you do not want to work in academia after college, the skills you gain through research – gathering and synthesizing data – can be used in any career. Like traditional internships, some research programs recruit students in the spring to join their team. But it is not too late to reach out to a local University to see if they need any extra hands. It cannot hurt to ask!
Summer is also a great time for you earn some CASH. There is nothing wrong with having a plain old summer job. The reality of our world is that college and life is expensive!
Another smart way to spend your summer is building your personal brand and being creative. Are you an inspiring writer? Spending you summer creating a blog, potential employers will check it out. Do you plan on being a computer programmer after graduation? Write some code! Are you interested in marketing or social media? Start a tumblr focused on something you are interested in. You would be surprised how important it is for you to have some tangible evidence that you are innovative creative, and different (especially if you plan on entering a creative field or plan on working for a creative company). Moral of the story, one way to set yourself a part from your peers is to follow your interests and be creative.
The summer is a great time for you to network! Networking comes in many forms – but one of our favorite ways is through Informational Interviewing (see Networking blog post). An informational interview is a key networking tool during the job search process. Keep in mind, an informational interview is not a job interview. Rather, it’s an interview with an individual working in a career you would like to learn more about. You can set up informational interviews with anyone in your network – your network consists of family, friends, coaches, teachers, and Fairfield Alumni. Using LinkedIn to find connections is a great place to start (see LinkedIn blog … again!).
Either way, get off the couch and do something this summer… You will not regret it!
Assistant Director, Career Planning Center
Body language is as much a part of your communication style as what you say verbally – it’s really about how you say it. Impressions are made within seconds of reviewing body language. For that reason, it is extremely important that you are aware of how you communicate non verbally before you go into an interview. Do you have any nervous habits such as tapping your foot, scratching your face, or twirling your hair? If you do, you are not alone… But it is important that you are aware of these habits so you can control them when you need to.
Non verbal communication refers to more than just nervous habits. According to Best-Job-Interview.com non-verbal communication accounts for over 90% of the message you are sending in your job interview! Your verbal content only provides 7% of the message the interviewer is receiving from you. Consider the handshake. While it may take less than 10 seconds to complete a handshake, in that time, the interviewer has already developed an impression of your character based on eye contact and the firmness of your shake. The same goes for eye contact and the way you sit in your chair. These things might seem small, but they say a lot about your communication style and who you are.
The blog Careerrealism points out that a weak handshake and lack of eye contact can leave the impression you are timid and insecure. A sincere and firm handshake with eye contact expresses professionalism and confidence. An overpowering handshake with a fixed gaze may come across as overconfident and arrogant. So, be cautious with your next handshake and start the interview off with a positive impression.
Here are some other tips to avoid common non verbal mistakes.
Associate Director, Career Planning Center
Over the last 6 months the Career Planning Center (@FairfieldCPC) has been tweeting jobs like crazy. Every day when I go on to Twitter to scan for hot jobs/internships, I frequently come across “Virtual Internships” or positions that don’t require students ever to set foot in an actual office. Sometimes referred to as “telecommuting” or “offsite work,” virtual employment has officially become a trend. Many of the opportunities that we have seen come from Internships.com, which lists more than 8,000 virtual positions, a 20% increase over last year.
What does a virtual internship entail you might ask? Well, it really depends on the company you are working for. Generally speaking many of the positions available are in fields that are most conducive to working independently and in an online setting. Currently, the greatest number of virtual internship opportunities are in sales, marketing, and social media; though a growing number are showing up in graphic design and software development. Seeing that this is a new trend, we wanted to discuss some of the positives and negatives to taking a virtual internship.
Flexible Hours: With virtual internships students have the opportunity to gain professional experience without interrupting their everyday life. That means they could still be the Vice President of their student organization, play Division I athletics, and take a full load of classes all while interning. Remote interns enjoy flexible hours, allowing them to juggle class schedules and even part-time jobs.
No Costs: Another plus is students won’t incur commuting and housing expenses, which we all know can really add up.
Double Time: If you could handle the work load, virtual internships allow you to take on more than 1 internship at a time. With virtual employment, the focus is on completing your assigned duties, not spending time in an office twiddling your thumbs.
It’s EXPERIENCE: One of the biggest and most obvious perks to taking a virtual internship is the fact that you are getting professional experience. In this day and age getting experience and having internships on your resume is absolutely paramount when looking for full-time employment.
Miss Out on Some Important Lessons: One real downside to taking a virtual internship is they don’t always provide the crucial lessons that can come from actually being in the office like insight into professional expectations, corporate culture and office etiquette.
Personal Relationships: Students who work virtually might not have the opportunity to develop close relationships with staff members or managers, which is one of easiest ways to build your personal network. As we all know, networking is key in the job search process and when looking to move up the corporate ladder.
To find virtual internships visit Internships.com, keep your eyes on Twitter, or come in to meet with one of the Career Planning Counselors.
Assistant Director, Career Planning Center
As I have walked around the streets of Amman, Jordan, I often catch myself thinking, how did I even get here? One year ago, I was applying to jobs left and right, praying Dr. Lane wouldn’t make us seniors take a final, and honing my Powder Puff football skills. Now I am teaching English to university students, practicing Arabic over falafel sandwiches with friends, and volunteering in refugee camps. This year has been the best possible post-graduate plan for me.
I had known about the Fulbright Scholarship since my freshman year. My advisor, Dr. Crawford, outlined the idea to me and it was reinforced by multiple IL events and Career Fairs thereafter. The Fulbright Scholarship funds Americans to either teach English or undertake a research project for a year in another country. The major goal is cultural exchange: young Americans work abroad, build friendships and a new life within their host community, and strengthen mutual understanding between the two nations. The program offers a beautiful mission and a year of adventure, which is probably why it has become very competitive over the years. Now, the Fulbright is considered one of the most prestige post-graduate scholarships.
…which leads me to the next thought I always have when I catch a breath from my routine in Amman: who do I think I am? who am I to live this life? There has actually not been a single minute of my Fulbright year when I have been bored. Of course, sometimes life is not perfect – living in a new culture can be tiring and challenging. Yet, I have not spent a single minute unfulfilled. Every day I am meeting new people, learning new things, memorizing new vocabulary, trying new food, exploring new communities, and charting my future path. Who did I think I was? Casually applying to a Fulbright, reaching out for this life?
I still don’t know the answer… but I’m sure it has a lot to do with Fairfield. A lot to do with the professors who listened to my ideas and constantly pushed me. Somebody has to fill those 10 English Teaching Assistant positions for Jordan… why not you?
I’m so grateful for that push, and it’s my best lesson learned from Fairfield. As you look down the road ahead — whether it’s a Fulbright, a scholarship, a job, a graduate program, or another adventure – that’s the important thing to remember. Someone gets to live that life… why not me?
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.
Live the life you have imagined.”
- Henry David Thoreau