Tag Archives: alumni

Adventures in Networking, Pt. 1

19 Apr

The day after I called my career advisor, I logged onto my school’s alumni network and found some people who worked in management consulting, field that I eventually want to enter.  I researched their companies and sent them carefully worded emails, explaining that I was only gathering information about this particular topic and not straight asking for a job.  My plan was to send out a couple of these to see the response before I worked up to 2-3 emails a day.

This is how many emails I sent: 5 This is how many replies I received: 0

So then I thought I would try working my connections locally.  My dad is a partner in a medical group, and there was an opening for a low-level position at his office.  I asked him if I could have an interview with the Dude in Charge, and since they’re friends, Dude happily agreed as long as I submitted an online application.  So I did and thought, “Sarah, way to ride the coattails of people more successful than you!  Awesome, networking is totally for winners!”

This is how many days I waited until Vonetta Jones emailed me a rejection, sans promised interview: 2

Any other girl would be deflated by her results.  Not me.  Yes, my first foray into networking was not at all what I expected, but I have enough maturity to realize that the fault lies entirely with me.  As Ryan says, “It’s about being so impressive that others feel compelled to help you.” I’m just doing it wrong, and simply have to modify my approach.

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Alumni Career Services: Tapping into What You May Have Missed as an Undergrad

7 Apr

"What, where are you taking me? No, what if I don't want to turn--stop yelling at me!!"

I tend to distrust things that promise guidance: my parents, my GPS, televangelists, etc.  Chalk it up to stubborn independence, a spirit of adventure, or fierce stupidity, but I seem determined to do things my own way, fail, and then come crawling back–defeated and disgruntled–to the experts for help.

The Career Services Office at my school was in a word, phenomenal.  So naturally, I walked passed the CSO building without giving it a second glance.  Although sometimes I would stop to gurgle at the family of kitties that lived under the stoop.  Because I love kitties, except sometimes they make me sneeze.

Anyway, I was way too wrapped in my thesis and music rehearsals to ever make it in to the CSO.  When you start to sacrifice REM cycles for extra research time, you’re just too busy to think about your future, much less actively do anything about it.  (Also, when you start to use the phrase REM cycle instead of sleep, you’ve gone insane from writing, but that’s neither here nor there.) Besides, I somehow believed I knew everything I needed to know about resumes, cover letters, interviewing, jobs, everything.  I’d done it before–once–so I was confident I’d be set to start the job hunt when I entered the real world.

HA.  If only I’d been more like my career-minded peers, who still made time to take advantage of all these great services while still on campus.

What I didn’t do while at school, I’ve absolutely made up for as an alum.  The CSO website is one of my Mozilla tags.  But holy crap you guys, do you know what the best part about the CSO is?  The CSO offers alumni advising. You can schedule a phone appointment with the designated counselor, and she’ll answer anything you throw at her. In my two sessions with Mary, we reviewed my resume and cover letter, and she answered some other questions that I had.  For example, I was all, “WTF is networking about?” To which she replied, “Only the best thing since Justin Bieber.”  Or something.  She was pretty adamant that I tap into the extensive Midd network.  (I’ll delve more into the networking phenomenon in a later post.)

Most schools offer career services of some kind to their alumni. These can range from online tips, complimentary coaching, to regional conferences.  Say you’re more of a seasoned alum whose looking to change gears, many schools also offer tips for those who are looking to switch careers.  I find this to be an absolutely incredible resource, and one that’s worth checking out.  You should probably click through the student section of the website and see what tidbits you can glean from there.

In short, you haven’t missed the boat on making the most of your college’s career services.  If you’re like me, you just may be a little late boarding it, or maybe you’re coming on for a second or third trip.  Either way, these folks are, as always, more than happy to help.