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Alumni Advice: 4 Tips for Successfully Managing Your Career

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.

Alumni Career Panel

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 Alumni Career Panel

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 )

 

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Alumni Advice: Got the wrong job? You CAN make a change.

Samantha MacDonald '11Samantha 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!

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Undecided about Your Major? Think You’re Alone? Worried?

 

majors

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 cpc@fairfield.edu.

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 cpc@fairfield.edu 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

 

Sue Quinlivan

 

Sue Quinlivan

Associate Director, Career Planning Center

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Alumni Job Shadow Program – It works!

internship

 

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.

– Liz Koubek ’13

To apply,visit fairfield.edu/jobshadowinfo. All applications must be completed by November 1st.

 

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Non-Profit & Post Grad Career Fair – 11/12 Oak Room

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!

Amate House
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
CONNECTICUT RENAISSANCE
Cristo Ray New York High School
CT Campus Compact
Fairfield University Campus Ministry
FrancisCorps
Good Shepherd Volunteers
Hartford Seminary
International Institute of Connecticut
Jesuit School of Theology, Santa Clara University
Jesuit Volunteer Corps
Jesuit Volunteer Corps-Northwest
Lasallian Volunteers
Maggie’s Place
Match Education
New Haven/Leon Sister City Project
Passionist Volunteers International
Project Purple
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
VolunteerSquare.com

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Value of following up in a Job Hunt

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

katherine-brundage

Katie Brundage ‘15

Career Planning Peer Advisor

 

 

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Career Fair Company Spotlight: PRICELINE

 

Priceline (1)

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!

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Next week recruiters from The Big Four come to campus!

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!

 

MONDAY 9/16

Ernst & Young – Office Hours

12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Location: Career Planning Center

 

TUESDAY 9/17

PricewaterhouseCoopers – Office Hours

10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Location: Career Planning Center

 

WEDNESDAY 9/18

Deloitte – Resume Review

12:30 pm -4:30 pm

Location: Career Planning Center

 

THURSDAY 9/19

Sweet Life at KPMG

12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Location: Career Planning Center

 

 

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How to Make the Most of Your Internship!

internshipWhether 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.

Stay Positive

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.

 

     

Steph Gallo

 Associate Director,  Career Planning Center

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