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Career Center

Career Center

Admitted Chinese Graduate Students Get Answers via Sina Weibo

Their questions were typical of incoming graduate students: What are the best housing options on- and off-campus? Are tuition payment plans available? How successful have graduates been in pursuing careers in New York and Washington D.C.? And of course, are graduate students able to get tickets to Duke basketball games?

What made the group of admitted graduate students posing the questions different is that they were using Weibo, a popular Chinese social media channel, to connect with current graduate students and Duke staff in real time to learn more about graduate school and campus life at Duke.

The session Tuesday morning was hosted by the Graduate School’s Admissions Office, in collaboration with Duke’s International House and Public Affairs and Government Relations team, the Career Center and the Duke Chinese Student and Scholars Association.

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Is the Career Center for International Students?

As an international student, where do you feel connected on campus? My guess would be there might be a connection with iHouse as you have found ways to engage with other members of the international community or understand the US culture. Visa Services may be another office you readily identify with on campus as a supportive and necessary part of your experience.

If you haven’t thought of the Career Center as a place for you and a connection point, I hope I begin to convince you today.

The Duke University Career Center engages students and alumni in an ongoing examination and pursuit of what is meaningful and valuable in their lives. The Career Center provides opportunities for individuals to explore the intersection of their education, values, goals, skills and experiences in order to identify and realize their aspirations.

Read on for three ways that demonstrate how the Career Center can be a place for you.

Advocates for and Partners with International Students
We are advocates for international students. The Career Center is staffed with professionals who are excited to work with Duke students and whose goals simply stated are to help students—whether that be in a one-on-one appointment to help a student sift through their interests, a program detailing the best ways in which to interview or a Drop-in Advising session, where we go line by line through your resume.
We advocate for international students through discussions with employers. In speaking with employers about work authorization status, we discuss the value that international students bring to the workplace and encourage those employers to include international students in their pool of candidates.
You want strong advocates and partners for yourself as a student here at Duke. We encourage you to think about the Career Center being that for you!

Connections to Alumni Who Were International Students
In our work, the students who sit across from us in appointments one year are the alumni who have amazing careers and want to advise international students in the process in the years to come.  They are the Supply Chain Manager at Apple, Consumer Product Strategy Analyst at Bank of America, Logistics Analyst at Tesla Motors and Production Coordinator at PDI/DreamWorks Animation. When working with us, we can help connect you with alumni who were in your position and you can learn the lessons they have gathered in the process.

In a one-on-one discussion with a career adviser, you can learn how to connect with alumni (international and domestic) through resources such as LinkedIn, DukeConnect and your already established network.

Resources Online and in Print
Physical books are part of our Resource Library, which you can come review in the center or check out to review on your own.  In the Resource Library, one book in particular may be helpful to you in understanding the U.S. job market, Power Ties: The International Student’s Guide to Finding a Job in the US. This book breaks down the U.S. Job Search for International Students and describes the “players” in the process—recruiters, hiring managers, other employees—to help you better understand where you should spend your time. The author provides real-life examples of international student and how they have been successful or unsuccessful in the U.S. market to prove his points. If you’re looking to better understand the U.S. job search, this is an excellent place to start.

Online Tools & Resources
The Career Center has a wealth of resources—online resources available that are available at all times. You’ll find 15 guides to help you navigate the job or internship search as well as write a cover letter and/or resume, for example.

You’ll find CareerBeam, a comprehensive tool to aid in assessing yourself and working through the process of your career search. You even have the ability to conduct an interview and record yourself to see what improvements can be made. 
GoinGlobal is a one of the online resources I think is particularly valuable to international students. It is a robust system that allows you to view information specific to certain countries or cities.  For example, if you know that you are interested in interning or working Atlanta, here is a sample of what I would learn from GoinGlobal:
H1-B Sponsoring Companies include AirWatch, TEK Services, Manhattan Associations, and a list of over 50 more.
Industry and Employment Trends show that Atlanta is increasingly becoming a tech hub and even tells the reader the number of jobs that certain companies are adding in this area.
• An Overview of the City
• The Cost of Living is 6.5% lower than the national average. A sample of bills are provided so you can understand common expenses and know the salary or hourly rate you would need.
• Professional and Social Networking groups let me know that if I were a student interested in journalism that the Atlanta Press Club, Inc. would be an organization of people with similar interests and provide events and educational workshops.
Cultural Advice about the South tells me about the history, people, food, vocabulary and dialect of a number of people in the region.
Log-in to view this resource and see its applicability for you. It can be helpful in the job/internship search or to simply know more about the different cities within the U.S. and specific countries around the world.

I hope I have made my case and convinced you—or at least created enough intrigue for you to want to know more. The Career Center is a place for you and we hope you will take advantage of this resource soon!

To schedule an appointment with the Career Center, please call 919-660-1050.

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Content is King in 2015!

Meredith Conte, ‘99 discusses career paths in journalism and what it takes create a successful career in media.

All Duke students pursue business, law or medical school, right?
Wrong.

Meredith Conte discusses her non-traditional career path in media that began in politics and public relations, transitioned to marketing with Discovery and National Geographic, and is now broadcasting at Gannett. Success in marketing is all about being creative, curious, and willing to step out of your comfort zone. Check out her professional stats and Q&A below.

Degree: BA, Public Policy; Marketing & Management Certificate
Current Employer: Gannett Broadcasting 
Title: Vice President, Marketing
City, St: Washington, DC
LinkedIn Profile

Describe the process for finding your career path? Was it easy? Hard? What did you learn along the way?
Finding my career path was tough and I tried a lot of things before finding a good match. As a senior, I wasn’t interested in the more mainstream, traditional options: investment banking, consulting, law school, med school, etc.

Graduating in 1999, I decided it would be fun to work on a presidential campaign. So I started there working first as a volunteer and then moving into a paid position. I didn’t love politics though, so I moved into PR. While I liked some aspects of PR, I got burnt out from the agency world so I moved into radio. From there, I jumped over to TV and that’s where I’ve been ever since.

Along the way, I learned it’s okay to make a switch, to follow my gut and to be confident that even though roads are bumpy, if you worked hard enough and smart enough, you will always land on your feet. And that in time, everything you experience will stitch together into a career you can look back on with great pride. 

How can students interested in journalism and broadcast media best utilize their time at Duke?

The best advice I can give is to really take advantage of all that Duke offers. Between the curriculum, the alumni, the professors, the local internship opportunities and the on-campus media there is so much to dig in to. Get involved, get experience and own your education.

The broadcast media and journalism industry has faced many changes and challenges over the past decade. Is the industry dead? What career opportunities/paths are out there for students interested in this field?

The industry is far from dead. While threats are always around, there is no better time to be in the industry. It is a time now where content and innovation are king. So for students really looking to get their hands dirty and make an impact, on an organization, on a community, the broadcast media business is an ideal place to start.

Career paths in the industry run the gamut. Opportunities abound in investigative reporting, original storytelling, community relations, marketing, social media, management, sales and much more and each of those can lead in a myriad of directions. 

What is the best way to find an internship or job in this field?

Most organizations will post internships and jobs on their websites but when it comes to job seeking, there’s nothing more valuable than networking and establishing relationships with people in the industry.

If you see a reporter on the street, go up and talk to them. Stop by your local television station and ask to talk to the head of the department you’re interested in. Email people whose work you admire and ask if they have time to talk. Don’t be shy.

And before you engage in dialogue, do your homework. Show the person you’re talking to that you know who they are and that there’s a specific reason you’ve asked for their time.

Describe the perfect intern or new hire in just three words.

Tenacious. Curious. Creative.

What is your best advice to students interested in this field?

Go for it. It is a real thrill to be in the media business and in journalism specifically. To know that your passion for multimedia storytelling can ultimately create change in communities is an exciting prospect. So if you have any interest at all, I say go all in. Don’t worry if you don’t have a journalism degree – the beauty of the business is that degrees are only one part of the mix. Creativity and curiosity get you pretty darn far.

That being said, tip #2 is be realistic. You likely won’t be in the corner office after graduating Duke but you’re certainly smart enough to get there. My advice is to come in humble, work hard, ask questions, be friendly to everyone and enjoy the ride. The advancement will come.

If your theme song played every time you entered a room, what song would it be? Why? 

Great question! I would say “Move On Up” by Curtis Mayfield is a go-to for me. It has a vivacious energy and a motivating message about making the most out of life no matter what you’re facing.

Final thoughts?

The media business is a tough one but it is a whole lot of fun. And we need young stars who will help us shape its future.

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Life in NYC

Courtney Liu, ‘13 Discusses her Life in NYC as a Professional Dancer and Arts Entrepreneur

What is an arts entrepreneur? How do you become one? Courtney Liu, Duke ’13, shares insights and strategies she’s learned as a professional dancer and arts entrepreneur in New York City. It takes more than just passion. It takes flexibility (literally and figuratively!), a varied skillset, and most importantly, the ability to hustle. Check out Courtney’s story below.

Hometown:  Cincinnati, OH
Graduation date:  May 2013
Major(s), Minor(s), Certificate(s):  Psychology Major (Developmental Psychology concentration), Markets and Management Certificate

Duke Extracurricular Activities and Leadership:
Sabrosura (President, Co-President), Baldwin Scholars, Duke Dancers, Alpha Phi
Internships/Summer Experiences/On-Campus Jobs:
Freshman Summer: DukeEngage in Zhuhai, China (taught ballet, jazz, and English)

Sophomore Summer: Benenson Arts Award to go to Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Summer Intensive; Duke in Greece

Junior Summer: VIP Program for Psychology Majors graduating with Distinction; Durham Crisis Response Center, Research Intern and Hotline Responder (funded by SOL grant)

Other Jobs at Duke:  Yoga Instructor at Wilson Gym, East Campus RA, Ballet Instructor at Nina’s School of Dance, Walltown Children’s Theater, Red Apple Day Care and Triangle Youth Ballet

Tell us about what dance means to you and your life, and why you decided to pursue it professionally.
George Balanchine once said, “I don’t want dancers who want to dance.  I want dancers who need to dance.”  Since graduation I have discovered that I fall into the latter category.  There is nothing logical about pursuing a career in dance, particularly ballet.  Most dancers endure excruciating pain, suffer lifelong injuries, receive little compensation, retire before age 40 and rarely become stars in the way that singers and actors do.  For all these reasons I was hell bent on pursing a career outside of dance during my four years at Duke.  However, upon graduation I felt stifled sitting down in an office all day and found myself running out the door each evening for ballet class.  When the opportunity presented itself, I left my job to pursue dance professionally.  
  
Walk us through how you were able to move to NYC, pay the bills, and begin your professional dance career?
As a senior at Duke, I wanted stability in my life and therefore had no interest in a career in arts entrepreneurship or dance.  Along with my peers, I spent my last year networking and applying to jobs until I landed a Research Coordinator position at Bellevue Hospital in Psychiatry. 

I moved to NYC and paid my security deposit, moving costs, and the first month of expenses with savings I had put aside during my four years at Duke.  I was happy to have a steady salary and spent my weekends and evenings taking contemporary dance classes.  Fellow Dukie, Monica Hogan, ’12, started a dance company and I began performing with her at different gigs she booked throughout the city.  Hungry for more opportunities to perform, I started to browse Backstage.com

When I saw the Phantom of the Opera audition I realized how much I missed ballet.  I was in no condition to attend the audition.  Although I was once a tiny, 17-year old ready to land a ballet contract, I was now an out-of-shape 22-year old who hadn’t taken a ballet class in months. 

I had an unbelievable surge of energy in that moment and used the momentum to push myself through the next two months.  I brought my ballet supplies back from my parent’s house, changed my diet and spent most of my salary on daily ballet classes and pointe shoes.  I ran out of the hospital every day at 5 p.m. to make the 5:30 class at Peridance and stayed for the 7 p.m. class, if I had the funds. 

One Sunday I took class from Stuart Loungway, a former San Francisco and Joffrey Ballet dancer.  I left his class feeling exhilarated.  It was everything I loved about ballet…. graceful physicality, intricate musicality, artistry and care in every step.  I attended this class every week and Sundays became a benchmark for the week’s work as I pushed to re-gain my technique. 

After eight weeks Stuart asked me to join his company, Terra Firma Dance Theatre (TFDT), for their Spring Season at Kaatsbaan International Dance Center.  I was thrilled and also relieved to learn that they rehearsed on Sundays…so I could keep my day job. 

It turns out that most of the other dancers had day jobs as well.  Everyone knows that many dancers/actors/singers move to New York and “don’t make it”.  However, I found that many dancers “make it” in New York (aka. perform on great stages, land contracts with their dream companies) but still cannot pay their bills with a dancer’s salary.  Most dancers in New York work other jobs to pay the bills (e.g. babysitting, waiting tables, Lulu Lemon sales).  In addition, dance is not a career that lasts forever and a single injury can sideline a dancer forever.  By concurrently pursuing another career path I was able to pay my bills and invest in my future, post-dance. 

After Kaatsbaan, I joined another small ballet company and another contemporary company.  Although I was dancing many hours I still could not afford to quit my job at Bellevue until I had booked a dance job that would pay my bills. 

Because I had a good track record at the hospital, I was able to negotiate a flex-time agreement with my boss that freed up my daytime schedule for auditions.  During this time money became very tight as my student loan grace period expired.  Even with a full time research job I was not able to pay my rent, student bills and take daily ballet classes ($19/class).  I started tutoring four hours per week to make ends meet. 

After many auditions, I was offered a contract with the touring cast of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular for November and December.  I told my boss and we both agreed it was best for me to leave at the completion of the study in June rather than to start on a new study and leave in October.   

However, I was now unemployed until November and had no income other than tutoring, which was ending for the summer.  I reached out to my networks and found two freelance jobs, one as a grant writer for a boutique PR firm and another as an administrative assistant for a dance institute.  I also began babysitting a few hours per week to supplement my income.

Although the freelance jobs were good, I was still worried they would not provide enough income for the coming months.  I continued applying for jobs and going to auditions. 

I found the solution to my financial worries on Answers4Dancers.com.  Busch Gardens needed dancers for their Halloween shows for September and October.  The gig paid well and was located near my Mom in Williamsburg, VA, which meant I could stay with her and sublet my apartment for a full four months (Busch Gardens and Radio City tour). 

I auditioned in both Williamsburg and New York to increase my chances …. and breathed a huge sigh of relief when I booked the job.  I plan to continue to work in grant writing and arts administration on a telecommute freelance basis while I am touring and am looking forward to embarking on this adventure!

How do you/what is your strategy for continuing to find paid/professional dance gigs and growing your professional dance career? How do you network/meet people that may hire you?
• Find your niche
Although I would love to take every style of dance, I invest in my ballet technique first because this is the skill that sets me apart at auditions.

• Balance high paying jobs with fulfilling jobs
The highest paying jobs are rarely the most “artistically fulfilling” jobs.  I balance my paid and unpaid gigs so I can pay my bills but can also perform the cutting edge work.

• Attend practice auditions
I go to every audition that fits in the schedule because auditioning is a skill that cannot be developed in the classroom. 

• Invest in your technique
Even if I have to take on a second job (e.g. tutoring), I always make sure I have enough money to take ballet class daily to improve my technique.

• Prep for auditions
Before an audition I read the entire website, watch (and sometimes learn) the choreography on YouTube, talk to dancers who may have information about the job or the audition, take extra classes in the style and buy clothing to match the part. 

• Tell people how great they are
Whenever I see an impressive dancer or take an exceptional dance class I always make sure to approach the dancer or teacher after class and compliment their work.  I usually follow-up by friending them on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.

• Pursue multiple careers
I continue to pursue a career outside of dance in grant writing and administration to relieve some of the anxiety that comes with identifying oneself as a professional dancer and to create a stream of income that is not dependent on my physical health or the volatile arts industry.   

How did your time at Duke build skills that you have been able to use as an arts entrepreneur?
I am incredibly thankful I spent my time at Duke developing skill sets outside of dance.  The research and writing skills have served me well in telecommute grant writing/administration positions and the Duke degree itself has helped me land tutoring and babysitting jobs.  However, the most valuable skill I learned at Duke is how to “hustle”.  Like many students, I spent my four years constantly looking for new opportunities including summer internships, different classes, various jobs, grant funding and extracurricular activities.   I am crafting my career in arts entrepreneurship in the same way I crafted my four years at Duke, by piecing together various streams of experiences and income. 

What advice do you have for students considering arts entrepreneurship and following their arts passions?
Develop multiple skills (both inside and outside the arts) while at Duke.  An artist’s life is a hodgepodge of jobs and the most sustainable arts careers are those that can balance these multiple responsibilities. 

Describe your life as a dance/arts entrepreneur in three words.
Creative, Flexible, Strategic

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Social Media in Your Job Search: Are YOU using it?

Social media was created to help people connect, so it makes sense that it is strongly used by companies to find talent.  Recent data shows that 94% of recruiters use or plan to use social media for recruiting and 78% of recruiters have made hires through social media.  Moreover, the top social media tool used for recruitment is LinkedIn with a 94% usage rate.  But are YOU using it?  If this is a method that employers are using to seek talent, why wouldn’t you be using it too?  It can help you connect with employers across the globe or with an organization that is typically hard to reach = powerful. 

Here is a great infographic that provides valuable data regarding how social media is used in the job search and also highlights the forms of social media used:

Remember, social media does not supersede face-to-face interactions, but is an essential in the career search that can help you make connections with people and showcase your skills.  If you do not minimally have a LinkedIn profile we urge you to get one.  If you do have a profile, but you are unsure of how strong it is, use Drop-in Advising or an appointment in the Career Center to get some feedback. 

Finally, do not be afraid to send invitations to connect.  There will always be a percentage of people that will welcome that request.  Good luck with the process!

Getting Hired in a Digital World - Infographic and Article

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#advice from Employers at the Duke Career Fair

This year I attended my first Career Fair. Ever.

As a staff member at the Duke Career Center, I feel as though I should hang my head in shame when I state that. When I was a student in college, I never knew (or never paid attention to) the unique opportunities and experiences a career center is able to offer students. And the Duke Career Center is the best of the best. My colleagues and the knowledge they share with students, who are searching for jobs and internships or just doing a little soul searching, consistently amaze me.

Maybe you’re like me when I was a student and are reading this saying, “I didn’t even know that the Duke Career Center hosted a Career Fair.” or “I don’t know what I want to do professionally, so it doesn’t make any sense for me to talk to employers yet.” Let me stop you right there. How will you know if you don’t go?

What I’ve learned from observing and talking to students attending the Career Fair and meeting employers on campus is that the experience can be very different depending on your goals. There are plenty of students that know, and have known, exactly what they want to do after they graduate. And maybe their dream company is at the Career Fair. They have their resume ready and waiting, hoping to land that job in the fall of their senior year. But that’s not everyone. It definitely wasn’t me. So, even if you don’t yet know what you want to do in your professional life, wouldn’t it be great to feel more comfortable speaking with a recruiter? Or learn more about a company that you never heard of? Or recognize that your unique skill set might just be a perfect fit for that company you’ve always heard about but never knew you could work for? There are numerous benefits to gain from attending the Career Fair, even if it feels overwhelming and scary. Sometimes we gain the most when we step outside the box. Again, how will you know if you don’t go?

Now that I’ve convinced you to attend an upcoming Career Fair (take my advice- hindsight is 20/20 people!), make sure you feel ready and prepared. The following is some #advice for Duke students that employers at the 2014 Duke Fall Career Fair shared:

"Talk to everyone even if it's a field you never considered. You never know what the future holds." FLUOR

"Explore lots of options. Be open-minded about options. Don't hesitate to meet different employers." Fuqua Business School

"Be confident in what you say. Put your best foot forward." Golden Key

"Talk to everybody. Especially companies you don’t know about. And put your major and year of graduation on your name tag." Millennium Advisors

"Give a firm handshake. Be yourself. No need to be a robot." @advisorycareers

"First impressions are based on personality. Be yourself." @Luxottica

"We are looking for everyone. Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors." @ibmcollegcareer

"Ask thoughtful questions. Articulate what you're thinking about and what you’re passionate about." Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

"Do 5 minutes of research. Be prepared, but also be human when you get here." @glg

"Be engaged. Know one fact about the company before you come by. Show interest in the company. And be yourself. We are gauging personalities." @busch_jobs

"Don't just do it because your friends are doing it. Own your own dreams. Explore your options." @findthebest

"Think about your personal brand.” @appianoncampus

"Speak up about your experience outside of your education. And less skin is better than more skin if you're unsure."  @skanskasusa

"There are a slew of companies that are out there that you may never have heard of. There could be a great career for you and a match for your skill set." @colemanresearch

"It may not be the right fit for you, but tell your friends about it." @maxpoint_int

“Tell the employer what your degree is and what your experience can do for them." @recruiterge @gecareers

"Don't talk to your friends ahead of time." @gapinc

"Make a connection first. It's more about personality. Relax and be yourself." @comscore

"The sooner you get in here the better. Even as a freshman and sophomore." @carmax

"Be well-versed about a project you have worked on. Show initiative. Highlight your work experience and communicate it." @ebayupinc

"Prepare questions ahead of time and have a positive attitude. Keep an open mind.” @capital1campus

"Attend corporate presentation. Look on websites. There you can find a wealth of information." @gm

"After the career fair, follow up with employers who impressed you and attend the events they offer." @appnexus

"Be your way. Have some charisma." @burgerking

"Feel free to take the swag." Jane Street

"Find the right balance between gathering the right information and selling yourself." @yext

"Come with an open mind and ready to engage employers in conversation not only about the job opportunities, but also about yourself." @matcheducation

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CareerBeam: Interview Practice and More!

CareerBeam is a great online tool for anyone at any point of the career journey! It is available for Duke students of all years, undergraduate and graduate, that the Career Center servesCareerBeam has multiple tools to help you with different aspects of your career search.

  • Resume and Cover Letter Builders provide tips on how to tell your unique story throughout all of your application documents.
  • Five Self-Assessments help you begin to learn about yourself so that you can begin to search for careers and opportunities that would fit you best.
  • Industry Information Guides allow you to get the latest information and trends about any industry you’re interested in.
  • Top City Guides brings information about employment, population and other factors from cities around the US right to you.

I want to highlight two valuable tools that you can take advantage of right now.

Interview Prep
On the left-hand side of the home page, this link provides over 150 interview questions once you select the option “Interview Questions.”  When you click on “Interview Types and Examples,” you will see valuable tips on various interview formats including case, panel, phone and video interviews. 
Though these two functions were underscored, this comprehensive website has many more including resumes, cover letter, self-assessments, and tools for industry research.  To summarize, log in and see for yourself what it has to offer!
Login and Get on it!

Video Interview Preparation
Found on the bottom of the home page, this feature allows you to pick from over 250 questions and customize your own video interview.  There is nothing like seeing yourself on camera and being able to evaluate your interview skills to improve your techniques.  Take advantage of this opportunity to see your own nonverbal behaviors, rate of speaking and strength of responses to interview questions.  Then, schedule an interview prep appointment so we can help you improve! Call (919) 660-1050.

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Connecting though Twitter: The Story of My First Suit

Rewind a few years:

As I got home at 11 PM from my late-night graduate class, I was surprised by a package outside my apartment. The return label included the name of a woman I had been in communication with on Twitter. Inside were two professional suits and several long-sleeve dress shirts, as well as an incredibly thoughtful and encouraging note.

Sent from someone I had never met.

Social media can be a powerful thing.

I admit it—at first I wasn’t sold on Twitter. How much quality content could people possibly be sharing in 140 characters or less? I really didn’t care to read about what others were having for lunch.

I started to warm to Twitter about a year before I finished graduate school. I had heard from an alumna of my alma mater that Twitter was an open media space that would allow me to connect with and follow others who were doing the work that I was interested in. I began exploring the site and identifying Twitter users within my field. I caught on to the common hashtags that threaded relevant discussion topics and I logged on for themed weekly chats. I read articles and content that users shared, and started contributing my own.

Using Twitter, I collected recommendations for guest speakers to bring to campus as well as ideas for workshops and programs. Similarly, I shared my own work and ideas with those who contacted me in response to specific tweets. I developed a fast, interactive network.

Twitter became a powerful tool when I was active in reading, responding and contributing—what I got out of the site was a product of what I put in. I made connections and had discussions and quick exchanges with professionals across the country, and across the world. At one point, I debated a hot topic that I was writing a paper on with a woman who I later learned was a leader in higher education research—I hadn’t known until my professor pointed it out in surprise. Twitter made a community of like-minded professionals accessible.

And, the suit.

As I tweeted my way through my final two semesters of graduate school, another Twitter user in my field offered two suits in my size to a student with upcoming interviews. In need of professional clothes and on a tight budget, I responded. We exchanged contact information and, a few weeks later, two professional suits and additional dress shirts arrived at my door.

Twitter, like many other forms of social media, can be a powerful resource if used as a networking platform and opportunity. Like me, you’ll get out of it what you put in, so start exploring and determine a manageable level of engagement. If used actively, you can make connections and start conversations that otherwise may never have been possible.

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Taking Advantage of Career Center Opportunities

The first week of my freshman year, I received some really important advice from a graduating senior that attended my high school. She told me “one of the best things about being a Duke student is all the opportunities the University has to offer you. It’s your job to take advantage of them.” As a graduating senior myself now, I’d like to think this has colored my Duke experience. I’ve had the opportunity to participate in service and academic engagement programs, attend and met numerous prominent campus figures, and travel abroad twice! I leave Duke confident I’ve made the most of my experience. 

But this advice didn’t only influence my approach to curricular and extra-curricular involvements. This advice was also indicative of my approach and experience with the Duke Career Center. When I was looking for a summer internship my sophomore year, I scheduled an appointment with a career counselor. Not having any idea of what I wanted to do, I went into the appointment feeling very lost. During my meeting I was told about all the opportunity seeking resources I could utilize to hone in on my interest, and connect with alumni in the field. Despite being a little overwhelmed at first, I got myself organized; I did my research, and dove right in.

My search began on DukeConnect; I was able to speak with several alumni to get more information on a variety of career paths I was interested in pursuing. I also submitted applications to various internship programs passed along to me through that initial appointment. I utilized the drop-in advising services to perfect all my resumes and cover letters. Ultimately, I was accepted to the INROADS program, which strives to place underrepresented students in the business industry. I received my first internship through the INROADS process with a pharmaceutical lobbying group. Through the program I was able to receive business and industry training, and interned with the company for two summers thereafter. My internships played a very large role in determining my career interests, and ultimately supported my decision to attend law school. However, I would have never known about the experience if I hadn’t taken advantage of the all the opportunities the Career Center offers to students.

Often times, Duke can seem like a daunting a place and the internship/job search can be as well. The sheer number of opportunities can be overwhelming. But that shouldn’t be a reason to shy away. Instead, in order to take make the most of your four years here, and as I was told my first week here “It’s your job to take advantage of them!”

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Ms. Trezza’s Kindergarten Class, Fall 1999

About Me! Worksheet

I found this worksheet at the back of my closet a few days before I left for college in Fall 2012.  Aside from a slightly better understanding of spelling, nothing much had changed in thirteen years, particularly my aspiration of becoming a doctor.  So, when I arrived at Duke, I was eager to start on the pre-med journey.  I, along with 300 other freshmen, excitedly (and naïvely, as I now know that nothing good can happen for me on Science Drive) walked up the long flight of stairs to Gross Chem to attend Chem 101.

As you may have realized already, I quickly found out that the long flight of stairs to what I thought would be an introduction to my career as a doctor was actually the flight of stairs to doom.  I learned that I couldn’t form any type of bond, covalent or ionic (get it?), with this class.  While my classmates were busy completing reaction equations and others sorts of smart chemistry things that I didn’t understand, I was busy flailing my arms in despair at the thought of continuing to take confusing classes that I was not passionate about for the next four years of my life.  I realized that I would have to look beyond my lifelong dream of being a doctor in search of something different.

Fast forward to present day, and I am now two years older, wiser, and an Economics major (so maybe not THAT wise).  Unlike freshman Lauren, I now have absolutely no idea what I want to do in the future.  I worked up a sweat running around the career fair as I stopped at every booth in every industry, from retail to banking, and I’ve spent many hours talking to whoever happens to be sitting next to me (to the freshman on the C1 two weeks ago: I’m sorry if I scared you) about the giant question mark that is my future.  Luckily, that person who’s sitting next to me has also become members of the staff at the Career Center, who are always there to listen to my latest debacles in my career search before reassuring me that whenever one door closes, another one opens.  I’ve found that it’s important to not be afraid of new opportunities and possibilities.  What I may want to do might be completely different from every other Economics major, but it’s also completely okay to try something new.  The most important thing about my choice is that it is something that I will enjoy, and as long as I am confident in my choice, success—and more importantly, happiness—will naturally follow.

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