Contributed by Nadine Verna, Assistant Director, Duke University Career Center
Jun 178:30 am
I spent the previous week studying for finals and writing papers with limited sleep, but when I handed in my last assignment, I felt a mixture of relief and resignation.
“Thank you,” the department secretary said, “You’re all set.” “That’s it?” I asked. “That’s it!” She replied cheerfully.
A few minutes later I met my circle of friends, who all shared similar stories of… the end. We had labored so much over the last four years that for it to end this abruptly seemed anti-climactic. We also had a peculiar mix of emotions about what was to come: excitement, trepidation and frustration. Many of us did not have jobs yet and we were moving to different cities. On that day, my friends and I sat under a tree and mourned the end of our collective college experience –before we could move on.
Does the end of your college career feel anti-climactic? Are you still uncertain about the future? We are here to help!
Career counseling is available to you at the Career Center for four years after graduation. Plus, the Career Center is open during the summer, so make a phone or in-person appointment with your career counselor today!
If you are starting a new job Start your new job on the right foot! Talk to a counselor about creating a personalized plan for your first 30 days on the job and how to manage your career over time.
If you are going to graduate school Discuss ways to make the best use of your summer – including internships, shadowing, and informational interviewing – as well as to identify job prospects while in graduate school.
If you don’t know what you want to do Learn more about yourself and potential careers through self inquiry, career assessments and our tools to explore a variety of possibilities.
Graduating students will soon take their first steps down career paths that may take unforeseen directions. In his 30 years as a college career counselor, William Wright-Swadel has picked up some wisdom about the road ahead for soon-to-be graduates, which he shared in a live "Office Hours" webcast interview on Friday, April 5.
By Nadine Verna, Assistant Director, Duke University Career Center
In February, 84 Duke alumni and over 300 students participated in The Duke Career Conference: The Fannie Mitchell Conference on Career Choices, engaging in discussions about five industry groups and more than 50 career options available to those with a liberal arts education. It was fun. It was factual. It was fabulous! If you were there, you know what I am talking about. If you weren’t, there are still many ways for you to explore careers and connect to Duke alumni. Whether you attended the conference or not, the question is: are you willing to do the work necessary to reap the benefits of networking?
That’s right, I said it: Work! Many students don’t realize that to make effective career connections and expand their network of contacts, effort will be required on their part. In addition, some fail to see the value of building professional connections over time. Even if you have a job or internship lined up, you will still need a Board of Advisors from whom to draw knowledge and build additional contacts. While some work environments provide built-in support and mentorship for entry-level candidates, many do not. Either way, trusted external relationships can come in handy for helping you navigate your career and workplace politics with less risk of jeopardizing your professional image. These relationships can also be useful in helping you identify new professional development or work opportunities, especially for industries without formal recruiting structures such as arts, entertainment and media.
After you have determined that the contact is interested in staying in touch, you must be willing to invest by following up on topics discussed and following through on actions promised. Also, show that you are genuinely interested in building a relationship by checking in from time to time and offering support and resources to your contact as well. This will help you build credibility and earn trust. Your connections are much more likely to provide you with resources and referrals after you have done your part. Remember, it is never too late to start networking and it is okay to start small.
Make the decision to do one thing today like create a LinkedIn account; find three contacts on DukeConnect with whom to conduct informational interviews; or follow-up with alumni from The Duke Career Conference. You won’t regret it.
1) How did you get into the social media industry? Given the limited job market, I paid attention to my unique skills and stayed flexible in leveraging any single one of them – including my social media knowledge. As a member of the Duke Field Hockey team from ’05 – ‘09, I was constantly using social media to market home games and promote fan attendance; I would create Facebook events, LinkedIn groups, and produce our team videos. By combining social media with my passion for sports, I learned how to advertise a ‘brand’ (our team) and began studying the latest social trends. My mentors and professional contacts soon realized my new skillset.
After years of nurturing those relationships, I graduated and am now working in NYC, managing social media for espnW, ESPN’s first business dedicated to serving, informing, and inspiring female athletes and fans. I manage our social media content (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest), coordinate our social media content programs on espnW.com (for example, espnW.com/ColdList) and plan company events. I’m very passionate about empowering young girls through sports and showing positive female role models in media. I wanted to join a company that had that top priority.
2) What have you found to be the best ways to find jobs in social media? One: Build relationships. Find your mentors. Google search “Duke University”, “LinkedIn”, and “insert your interest here”. You’ll find amazing Duke alumni who are working in companies that you may want to learn more about. Contact them through LinkedIn and nurture those relationships. Two: Polish your social platforms. Take a spring cleaning day and clean up your digital persona by polishing your LinkedIn profile, setting your Facebook privacy settings to high, and making sure your Twitter feed is active with industry-relative tweets. Oh, and remember that random social network you joined four years ago? That is still out there and visible to future employers. Google yourself and delete any social accounts that you no longer use. Three: Gain professional experience. Social media experience rarely comes from sacredly managing your own Twitter and Facebook feeds. What employers value most is actual company experience. Volunteer or intern with a small business company in the Durham area that you truly care about and offer to build their social presence.
3) What are some tips you can give to students in regards to conducting a job search for social media position? Visit the Duke Career Center. Starting freshman year, I was able to sit down with their team, express my interests and passions, and hear feedback about what industries could potentially fit my skills. They will also connect you with Duke alumni within the social media industry who would have advice for you. Take advantage of the Career Center early and you’ll hit the ground running once you start applying to internships and full-time jobs.
4) Do you have any special networking advice? My best advice is to always bring smart, well-researched questions to an informational interview. Usually the person has limited time and you want to impress them before your meeting time runs out. Do research before the call to create well thought-out questions that show your passion for the industry, your knowledge of that person’s work, and what you want to take away from that conversation.
5) How can students best show passion and interest in a social media career through their resume and/or cover letter? Create a resume bank. We’ve all heard it a million times: “Resumes should be no longer than one page”. Therefore, you usually delete old achievements and keep refining your resume so its up-to-date. The best advice I received was to create one long resume document that contains ALL your work experience, achievements, skills, volunteerism and more. We’ll call this your “resume bank”. This bank could be as long as three pages.
When you need to submit your resume for a specific company, go to your resume bank and see which experiences and skills speak to that company. For Job Opening A, you may use your #1, #2, #4, #8 bullets but for Job Opening B you may use bullets #1, #3, #4, and #7. Your resume should always be tailored to the specific company.
First-year undergraduates are often faced with a double-bind: the need for professional experience in order to gain professional experience. Compounding this challenge is the fact that when vying for summer internships, first-years find themselves in competition with more experienced sophomores and juniors.
Recognizing this unique situation, the Career Center established First-Year Internships at Duke, a competitive program that matches first-year students with project-based internships throughout the University and Medical Center.
Now in its 9th year, the program offers 35 students substantive, project-based professional experiences within 21 departments and offices across Duke. As you read this, these students are engaged in planning major events, creating a documentary film, developing a marketing plan, as well as working in public relations and videography. Over the years, interns and their mentors have developed several permanent Duke programs.
There are many benefits for participating in this program. By taking on a substantive project, First-Year Interns gain skills and experience they can market to future internship managers and employers. Students in the program also begin to gain clarity around their professional preferences: the kinds of work functions they enjoy, the work environments in which they thrive, their management styles they prefer, and more. Many also report a greater sense of connection to Duke through the experience of working closely with their project supervisor/mentor. Additionally, through early exposure to professional environments, students gain an understanding of professional etiquette and office culture while honing transferable professional skills like communication, research, planning, interpersonal relations, organization, decision-making, and time management.
"My first year internship at the Fuqua School of Business was one of my semester's highlights. The internship experience was as real as any job I've ever had, only unlike my jobs my decisions during the internship were affecting hundreds of people around the world. In addition, the contacts I made at Fuqua have already influenced my Duke career for the better." --Kenny Gould, former First-Year Intern.
I am so pleased and proud to introduce to Duke University a new program called The Freeman Fellows Internship Program offered through Jewish Life @ Duke. This program ties together what I believe Duke and Judaism are all about: Community, Work Ethic, Commitment, Loyalty & Family. When these come together, it's a recipe for success.
The Freeman Fellows Internship Program is open to the entire Duke undergraduate community. The goal is to provide students access to and gain experience from some of the best and brightest people and businesses out there today. From finance, to entrepreneurship, to construction, the program provides students with the experience, tools and networks needed to explore desired careers and succeed in their chosen paths.
We at the Freeman Center for Jewish Life are eager to grow this program and the impressive network we are building. We look forward to providing and being a part of the best programs Duke has to offer.
Created by Cynthia Broderius, Assistant Directore, Duke Career Center
This is one of a series of blog entries about Working Fellowships -we want to be sure you are considering fellowships along with all of the other opportunities after graduation.
Here you are, getting ready to graduate in a few months. Congratulations! The job search continues, but you find yourself thinking, “what other possibilities could I explore?” So -you loved tutoring Durham kids and have ideas for ways to improve their educational experience? Imagine an opportunity to invest your passion for improving urban educational opportunities with an entrepreneurial spirit; find out how a Building Excellent Schools Fellowship could allow you to do just that (deadline Feb. 15). Maybe you have combined interests in higher education and the Middle East, and wonder where in the world those interests might intersect. Think about serving as a Presidential Intern at the American University in Cairo (Egypt) for a year in one of several offices (deadline Jan. 31).
Or, maybe your passions focus around social justice or social responsibility. Check into the Residency in Social Enterprise (RISE) (deadline Mar. 1) with New Sector Alliance and learn how you could tackle capacity-building projects such as measuring impact, developing collaborations and partnerships, promoting effective use of technology, engaging volunteers, and expanding communication and strategic marketing efforts. Duke’s own Hart Fellows Program (deadline Feb. 18) offers recent grads 10-month fellowships with organizations in developing countries that are facing complex social and political problems. And you can design your own project!
Action items for next steps:
-Explore additional working fellowships in these interest areas and others via OUSF’s awesome database of fellowship databases. -Talk with an advisor in the Career Center about how post-graduate working fellowships may be an excellent addition to your career development plan, call (919) 660-1050. -Imagine where you might go with a post-graduate working fellowship . . .
Created by Nadine Verna, Assistant Director, Duke Career Center
You interact with people every day: They ask you for directions; You share notes with classmates; You ask a friend where to buy clothes or video games for the best price; Someone posts an article link on Facebook, which you, in turn, “like.” These are all forms of networking that you have probably mastered by now, yet when it comes to networking for professional purposes, you freeze. Students often ask me, “What should I do when I arrive? What am I supposed to say?” Here are some tips to get you started:
See it as just a conversation or exchange of information between people with mutual interests. That should make it pretty easy to do because you have something in common with them. Your job is to figure out what those common interests are and maximize on them. Do this by asking the right questions [Networking guide].
Do your research. If you are going to a networking event where the attendee list is shared beforehand, take some time to learn more about the backgrounds of folks with whom you plan to connect. You will feel more comfortable when you finally meet and will be able to maximize the time you have together.
Follow up and follow through quickly. If a contact refers you to an opportunity, resource, or another contact, act fast! Also, send them a customized thank you note including details from your conversation. This will show them that you mean business. As your relationship develops, be sure to return the favor and share resources with them as well; remember, networking is a two-way street.
Practice, practice, practice! Take advantage of all networking events, informational interviewing and online channels available to you. You will be surprised by how much and how quickly you learn and grow.