Tag Archives: career services

Networking: wtf is THAT about?

9 Apr

Fail.

Remember how I called up my Career Services Office and was essentially “zomg HALP! I’m an alum, I don’t have a job, and my head’s firmly wedged up my ass!” and all that?

The nice advisor lady who coached me through my troubles told me that the key to finding a job is through networking, and most experts agree.  According to them, if I ask anyone how they got their job in their field, apparently they’ll respond, “Through the magnificent power of networking.”  The heavens will then open and the Hallelujah chorus will sing.  And then they’d ALL give me the stink eye and think, “Why are you even questioning the wonders of this powerful career resource?  Gosh.”

The imaginary judgment of angels is not enough to compel me to randomly email strangers and interrogate them, even if they are, say, from my alma mater.  Just because we both bleed blue and white doesn’t necessarily mean they’d want to have a conversation that could pretty quickly turn into the territory of “zomg HALP! I’m an alum, I don’t have a job, and my head’s firmly wedged up my ass.”  In other words, I need more convincing.  Obviously, this needs to take the shape of obnoxious, multi-colored fun facts, because I am 8 years old.

NETWORKING FUN FACTS!!! (pulled from here)

  • What the hell is networking? Either creating a new connection or rekindling an old one in order to share your career goals and interests, and then using that connection for mutual benefit.
  • Why the hell should I network? (1) Intelligence.  You’d get the insider info on the company and learn about the job and what it entails.  Kinda like a super spy, a little.  You know, gathering intel before he makes a move.  Sexy.  (2) Hiring is risky and expensive, and you become a safer bet.  When you have someone to vouch for you and your character, the company will be willing to invest in hiring you over your competitors.  Now brace yourselves, because this last one’s a doozy…(3) 70-80% of jobs aren’t even advertised, those sneaky bastards! Having an “in” is the only way to uncover the hidden job market, and that connection is obtained through kidnap and ransom.  What?  Sorry, I meant networking.

I’ve been converted.  I like the idea of a hidden job market that only the incredibly ambitious and diligent can access.  I’m gonna go all Titanic on that iceberg of opportunity.  I’m gonna crash into it head on and then I’m going to drown myself in connections until I crack in half from the 70-80% of possibilities that are now open to me.  That is a lot, but I am incredibly ambitious and diligent and will win at networking.

Win?

I’m so friggin’ ready to do this.  The nice advisor lady said that I should contact 2-3 people a day.  So let’s say I do that every day until I find a job–let’s hope that’ll be in three months.  How many people is that, exactly?  According to my calculations,  somewhere between 6 and one million.  Damn, that’s a big, fat network.

In closing, I’ll try to post fairly regularly about my…wait for it…ADVENTURES IN NETWORKING!  For all those who are eager to embark on your journeys, here are 5 fundamental networking tips.  Good luck, and Godspeed fellow compatriots.  Huzzah!

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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.

(Wo)man Up and Get Some Life Skills

6 Apr

I attended the Career Services event here at Middlebury College on “Establishing Yourself as a Working Professional.” Gag me. Are you seriously going to name your event that? Next time, try the title of this post and see how many students show up.

Still, there were valuable lessons to be learned, and I took some notes for y’all:

Star Barnham – Syarcuse University

  • Get insurance early (when you’re healthy) because chances are when you get sick, no one will insure you after that. Obama jumped in this with the health care law signed recently.
  • Cash always helps. Save 10% of whatever (how little) you earn.
  • Develop your own board of directors” — have people you go to for advice in various areas (finance, jobs, emotional baggage)

Dave Campbell (Midd ’09)

  • Humility, gratitude, and self-awareness are keys to life/job search.
  • Write thank yous.
  • Be prompt. Value other people’s time.
  • Proofread your emails. No seriously, he’s not joking. When’s the last time you proofread an email?
  • Networking is helping people not just trying to help yourself.
  • Have a zest for life / enjoy the moment / other cliche phrase I can’t remember

Lisa from Human Resources (HR)

  • Your total compensation package includes a lot of stuff that takes money out of your paycheck — break it down so you’re not surprised by taxes, healthcare, benefits, time off, etc.
  • Know these terms: premium, deductible, co-insurance, co-payment, vesting schedule. You need a crash course in insurance, baby.

Dilanthi Ranaweera (Midd ’09)

  • You’re the new person in the office. Make a good impression on them.
  • Participate in everything office-related. Your social life will suffer post-college, make office friends. It’s like freshman year all over again.
  • Say good morning and good night to everyone in the office. Or, be friendly.
  • Learn to take care of your money.
  • International students: get your paperwork together early and often.

Dan Rosenfeld (Midd ’99)

  • Rock the Rolodex: be in contact with all your friends, acquaintances, others at least 3-4 times a year or more. Call 2-3 people per day. “How can I help?”
  • Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone.
  • Don’t underestimate the smartness of others and what they are capable of. Just because you’re smart doesn’t mean you’re smarter than them.
  • How to get promoted yourself: get your boss promoted by solving his problem.
  • Do discreet work (projects) while in school.
  • Do jobs where you think you’ll learn something.

Muchadei Zvoma (Midd ’07)

  • Take time to make the right decision. Don’t rush it.
  • Go do “life skills” stuff (car, house, etc.) with people who have experience doing it already and match your priorities.
  • Alumni are key to your success.
  • Do interviews for jobs you don’t want to practice interviewing.

There was also tons of credit card talk. But more on finance in another post.