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Career Planning

CLG workshop at IHouse - Immigration Issues

H-1? Green card? Immigration? Intercompany transfer? Treaty countries? L-1?

Getting to the U.S involves enough paperwork, but what about if you want to stay? Just looking at the lists of forms and deadlines can be daunting enough! Luckily for those who attended the CLG workshop this week, we got an expert to tell us all the information we need to know.

William Stock from Klasko Immigration & Nationality Law came to give international students and employees the low down on working visas and green cards.

There are possibly thousands of important and interesting facts that we learned that evening but here are some of the most important:

1.    Go to klaskolaw.com; it will tell you what you need to know.
2.    You can apply to change to H1 status to work in a specialized professional capacity if you are currently in the U.S on a legal status (and have an employer willing to sponsor you for such visa).
3.    There is a cap on the amount of H1-B visas that are given out and this quota can be reached as early as mid-May.
4.    In order to get the best chance at securing this visa, you need to have filed by April 1st.
5.    You can remain in this status a maximum of six years.
6.    An L-1 status is used to transfer from one branch of a company outside the U.S to a different branch of the same company within the U.S.
7.    You need to have executive, managerial or specialized knowledge capacity in order to gain this L-1 status.
8.    There are fees, deadlines and wait times involved with all of these processes, amongst others.

This is a complex and lengthy process and involves work from both you and your potential employer. As such, your employability may be lessened a little. Never fear! Make sure that your employer knows that you are worth this extra work; you may have a specialized skill, work in a unique field, have lots of experience or just be generally fantastic!

It is never too early to start thinking about the future…and definitely never too early to start thinking about visas!

Make sure you go to klaskolaw.com and read up on all you need to know.

Tierney Marey
Undergraduate at Trinity School of Arts and Social Sciences
Class of 2017
Sydney, Australia


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Possibilities in the in between: Helping humanity through technology

Ali Habib, Fulbright Scholar and 2009 graduate of the Duke Master of Engineering Management Program (MEMP), headed home to Karachi after graduation with aspirations of finding a way to bridge his technical expertise with his desire to give back to the people of Pakistan. In the years following his return to Pakistan he has been able to do exactly that. As the Director of Informatics at Interactive Research and Development (IRD), a nonprofit, public health research and service delivery group, Ali has found ways to use cellular phone technology to create efficient methods for health researchers to collect data and manage patient care.

By using the cellular phone technology that Ali’s group developed, researchers are able to collect health data in the field more easily and with greater accuracy than they could using paper forms. The elimination of human error, inconsistencies and paper documents allows for more efficient data transfer. In addition, Ali’s company has created a way to centralize patient files via cellular phone so that a network of healthcare providers can clearly understand a patient’s treatment history.

Thanks in large part to Ali and his IT team, IRD has been incredibly successful in leveraging cellular phone technology not only in Pakistan, but in other parts of the developing world as well. They try to use open-source software and technology whenever possible to ensure that developing countries can access and use their research and records tools. According to Ali, the thinking behind that effort is, “if they can’t pay for medicine, they obviously can’t pay for software licenses.” These global efforts have been widely recognized and have earned IRD significant funding from organizations like the Stop TB Partnership, but they aspire to fund even more advancements and access for these tools.

Under Ali’s lead, the IT sector has recently spun off into a for-profit company, Interactive Health Solutions, in order to help fund even more research in the nonprofit sector. Ali has transitioned from Director of Informatics to CEO and hopes to continue using cellular technology to improve health outcomes in the developing world. Ali considers himself to be very fortunate to have found such a happy balance between technology and human interest, “I never thought I would be writing code to improve health. I have been very lucky.” Lucky to find that sometimes, opportunities lay in making your own possibilities.


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5 Ingredients for Imagining Possibility: Finding Your Shine

It may seem simple, but knowing ourselves is often times the starting place for knowing our potential. In addition to having a good sense of our talents, our passions and our wants, we need to know what makes us shine. Last summer, I had the chance to spend a week with Dr. Claudia Beeny. A higher education game-changer and someone who has spent a lot of time with college students, Dr. Beeny decided to leave the field and help people all across the planet do what they can to find their shine. Her insight into living in a state of possibility and knowing the range of opportunities that await after leaving Duke are key ingredients for imagining the possibilities.
From Dr. Beeny’s insight there are five key tips for you to consider as you continue to live in a state of possibility.

Courage is Key
When asked how better understanding yourself helps you imagine the possibilities for your career, Dr. Beeny noted, “Courage is important because sometimes following that path requires choices others might consider unconventional and impractical.” She also talks of how using this courage will assist you in having tough conversations with parents, other family members and friends who may not understand why you are making the decision you are.

Experience is the Best Teacher
Dr. Beeny gives feedback to what she would tell her “college-self” about living in a state of possibility. Here, she comments,
It is easy to believe that the volunteer or leadership positions you hold in college are unimportant or that the work-study or teaching assistant job you have is just a means to an end. What I continue to realize, as the scope of my work gets bigger, is that each of my prior experiences has in some shape or form provided me skills and knowledge that I have later drawn upon.
Dr. Beeny notes how experiences from the past set the foundation for your future, so whether it is an interesting class, involvement in a student organization or a great conversation with a professor, each experience informs what you do next. If you keep these fresh and take time to reflect, you will see more and more opportunities exist outside what you may believe.

Do What You Enjoy
Dr. Beeny notes she is lucky to have parents, family and a community that supports her in her endeavors. Ask yourself,
Do I have a community that supports me being who I want to be…In college I sought opportunities I enjoyed and those led to other opportunities, and eventually jobs, which I enjoyed. The focus on enjoyment is important, because when we like what we do, we are more likely to be good at it. And, when we are good at what we do, we are much more inclined to get noticed and be given future opportunities.
As you can see here, taking the chance and time to do what you are good at will lead to other opportunities and allow you to live in a state of possibility.

Allow Your Mind to Wander
Beeny describes the importance of disconnecting from all the distractions we see everyday: cell phones, Twitter, Facebook, etc and find time to be alone with your own thoughts. It’s a muscle that often isn’t worked, but can really help you be creative and live in a state of possibility.
To execute that means doing two things. First, find time every week to disconnect from the steady barrage of people and things vying for your time and second, make time to read. I find the silence I need by taking regular walks. I don’t run or bike or listen to headphones. I don’t even alter my route or invite a friend to join me. The time alone, walking a familiar path and without music or a podcast being streamed in through my headphones, allows my mind to wander. This is when I make connections, solve problems, and see things with a fresh set of eyes.

Give it 10,000 Hours
Malcolm Gladwell, author of the book, Outliers, writes about the concept of 10,000 hours,
He asserts that what makes someone like Tiger Woods or Steve Jobs extraordinary (shine) at his work is not genetics or luck, but simply logging 10,000 hours of experience at whatever it is your are doing. In retrospect, I realize that all the free workshops I provided night after night in residence halls across campus, all the reading and preparation I did for those workshops, all the leadership positions I held and projects I coordinated were in many ways helping me log some of the 10,000 hours I needed to be successful later.
Beeny takes this principle to heart and dedicates her time to perfecting where she finds success.

So, take it from the doctor…dedicate time, allow your mind to wander, and do what you enjoy. Three ingredients you can add to your experience that will assist in living in a state of possibility.


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Duke Ph.D. follows passion and entrepreneurial spirit to successful career in industry

I came to Duke Graduate School straight out of undergrad.  Despite lacking a clear idea of what I wanted to do, I was fortunate to find great mentors in the Biochemistry department.  Renowned professors like David and Jane Richardson and Terry Oas helped me grow and develop as a scientist.  I also learned about the life of a young professor by watching those just starting at Duke.  Although potentially rewarding, it's a hard road and I wasn't excited enough to commit to it.  I found I was more passionate about science with an immediate commercial application.  So I choose a postdoc that would move me closer to industry, and even collaborated on a paper with a team at GlaxoSmithKline.

As a grad student at Duke, I also discovered that printing research posters was expensive and inconvenient.  In response, I started a small printing company on the side.  PhD Posters was launched with two fellow graduate students, and has since grown to five locations and pulled in other Duke grads.  Duke was a very supportive environment for that kind of entrepreneurial experimentation at the time, and with the development of the Duke Startup Challenge and other programs, it's even better today.  After my postdoc, that basic business experience and my Duke connections helped me land at a biotech startup helmed by Duke professor Philip Benfey.  At GrassRoots, we brought diverse backgrounds to bear on interesting problems, and ended up creating exciting and valuable new technologies.  GrassRoots was recently acquired by Monsanto, where I now continue my research.

Ten years ago, I couldn't foresee this journey -- I mostly followed my passion.  I had my share of good luck along the way, but the solid training from Duke allowed me to notice and take advantage of those opportunities.  Also, science is a small world, and I continue to cross paths with people I first met at Duke.  Those connections have been far more important than I knew at the time, and I kind of wish I'd paid more attention to them.  I've also been happier at some of these jobs than others, and it's depended much more on my day-to-day environment and activities than on exactly what area I was working in.  So when I'm choosing opportunities, I've learned to focus on what kinds of work I like best.  And one of the things I like best is working with smart people who have backgrounds very different than mine.  Having worlds collide is a great way to see new possibilities and spark creative thinking.  What better environment to strike up that kind of collaboration than a world-class university?  Time at Duke is a priceless opportunity to team up with a diverse group of smart peers, at a time in life when you're uniquely able to take big risks on new ventures.

About the Alumni Imagine Possibilities Series
We asked some alumni to consider what students might need to know about imagining possibilities after Duke—to try to help students broaden their thinking about career choices (beyond what they know).  Throughout the year, we will publish a series of blog posts from alumni sharing what they believe is most helpful.  An easy way to know when a new post comes out is to subscribe to Career News or follow us on social media.


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CLG Workshop on Interview Skills at IHouse


So you’ve got that great G.P.A? You excelled at your internships? You are a born leader and great communicator?

Awesome – how about you tell me all about it. No really, sell me on you.

That’s the tricky part isn’t it? Making sure a future employer or benefactor gets to really see what makes you great and unique. Your résumé may look good, but what happens when it is interview time? That is what this weeks’ C.L.G workshop, led by Anita Stockmans, assistant director of counseling and programs at the Career Center, investigated.

The workshop examined how to make your interview experience the most productive and enjoyable possible. We looked at effective preparation, research, techniques for answering questions and much more! Here are the top tips from the workshop.

  1. Be prepared. Make sure you do ample research ahead of your interview on the company/position. Who is the CEO of the company? What is their motto? What are their goals and strategic interests?
  2. Look over your own résumé. What is on there? What skills have you listed? What experiences did you mention? Know your own stuff!
  3. When answering behavioral interview questions, don’t ramble – use the STAR method!

S= Situation: Share what the context or environment was for your example.
T=Task: Talk about the assignment or task you were given.
A=Action: Discuss what actions YOU specifically took.
R=Result: Tell what the results of your actions were. Conveying what the conclusion of your story was may be the most important piece of the STAR method.

4.    Take the opportunity to ask questions. Use these questions to show your employers that you are really interested in their work. For example, “What motivates your work here?” “How will my work be measured and evaluated?”
5.    Dress modestly and appropriately. Use minimal jewelry.
6.    Finally, be confident, present yourself well and follow up on the interview with an email. There is nothing wrong with reinforcing your interest!

Huge thanks to the Career Center for sharing their wisdom.
With their advice interviews can become a conversation, not an interrogation.


Tierney Marey
Undergraduate at Trinity Arts and Social Sciences
Class of 2017
Sydney, Australia



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Knee-Deep in Internship Applications

It’s that time of the year again when we all start to hear the question… The one that if you’re like me and knee-deep in internship applications, can put your stomach in knots: “You have plans for the summer?”

Excuse me while I binge on Downton Abbey episodes and Trader Joe’s dried mango slices. I will do all the dishes, scoop up the dog poop, and stare down those creepy squirrels that jump out of the trash cans on West Campus. Just don’t remind me that I. Don’t. Know. Because let’s be honest, there are few things that Duke students like less than not being on top of things. And now, with lots of internships to find and emails to write, it’s not only “not on top,” it feels like I’m at flat bottom.

Now generally, I am an advocate for living in the present. Why worry about May, June and July when January is right in front of me? (Um, several reasons in fact, some of which end in career planning, my parents, fear of the unknown, and Duke student…) But these past few weeks have helped me realize that searching out summer opportunities doesn’t have to be so disappointing or impossible a task. You might even be able to enjoy it.

The key is to ask for help. And though I don’t want to sound preachy, there are a few tips I have uncovered these past few weeks:

  • Make the most of your tuition money and search out Duke’s resources!
  • Spend some of the time you’d be on Facebook instead on the Career Center’s website, look at internship databases, or set up an appointment with the career counselor.
  • Stop by the Global Advising Office and open your eyes to disciplines you might have previously been unaware of.
  • Email professors asking for their suggestions or contacts.

I’m in the process of doing all of this, and though I still don’t have an answer yet, I do know I have an army of people ready to help me figure it out. You do too.

Internship app season? Bring it on.


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Telling your story: #thattimewhen…

Experiential Learning Got You the Job

One of my favorite hashtags on Instagram and Twitter is #thattimewhen. People use it to describe something that struck them as meaningful, whether it is appreciating the sunset or sharing a repeated activity with a friend (This summer, my repeated activity was eating Locopops, and the hashtag was #popsicleproject.). What else is happening, besides telling the #igers and the #Tworld that you have something of consequence to say, when you highlight #thattimewhen? You’re telling your story, of course (With hashtags. And it's a short story. But still).

In your career journey, you’ll be telling your story all the time. Your board of advisors will want to hear it. Your career counselor will want you to rehearse how you talk about your experience by encouraging you to participate in mock interviews. And an interviewer will want you to talk about #thattimewhen you got the experience that convinces them you are the best candidate for the job. So where are you going to get that awesome experiential learning?

Let’s define the term experiential learning first. Simply put, it is learning by doing. After engaging in the experience, reflecting on what knowledge you gained—and how you will use that new information in your career planning—is important. #thattimewhen you consider how to talk about what you experienced is when you begin to develop how you will tell your story.

Engaging in experiential learning means that you have the opportunity to gather career knowledge. Through the activities you become involved in, you develop a better understanding of how theoretical ideas you learn in the classroom actually play out in real-time involvement.

The What and Where of Experiential Activities
What kinds of activities encompass experiential learning? Experiential activities include knowledge and skills you gain through
Part-time work,
Volunteering within an organization,
Duke Engage and other programs like it,
Research opportunities,
Club involvement on- and off-campus.
Identify more experiential opportunities for Duke undergraduates and graduate students. Reply below or Tweet @DukeCareers to share #thattimewhen you engaged in experiential learning and made meaning of your involvement. We’d love to hear your story!

Retrieved from Creative Commons Global Connections for World Language Teachingblog.calicospanish.com


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Telling your story: 5 Common Mistakes to Avoid Telling Your Career Story

Telling your career or professional story is often what helps distinguish you from the candidate pool.  A good story often leads to a job offer.  Periodically, one can get “caught up” in the notion of storytelling and make some …mistakes along the way.  Avoid these 5 mistakes and make the most of your next story.

1. Embellishment
The idea of “tooting your own horn” is fairly common in telling your professional story or stories however, there’s some degree to which you need to exercise discretion.  For instance, if you’re describing how you managed an operating budget for a department and the budget was in the ballpark of $600k, you don’t want to say you managed a budget nearly a $1M.  Rather than over embellish, speak candidly and more specifically about your direct contributions to the department while managing the budget.  Inflating the GPA and self-assignment as project lead are also other areas commonly embellished without supportive evidence to back it up.

2. No Outcome, No Purpose, No accomplishment
Generally speaking talking about oneself would seem fairly simple however when telling your career story, it’s important not to miss the bow at the end.  In other words, talking about the day-to-day tasks or general responsibilities is not enough.  You need to have a purpose, state how you’ve impacted the organization and/or team, and what was the outcome or accomplishment.  For instance, telling the resume story is simply robotic.  No one wants a candidate to essentially read to them what’s outlined on the resume. Once again, the story needs to associate purpose, action, and result!  Most importantly, how does the story relate to the position and/or organization?

4. Too Personal
While the story is meant to be personal, you don’t want to tell all the intimate personal details of the story. It personally may be important to you that you’re a twin, a new Dad, proud mom of twins, or recently married in the Bahamas, it’s that granular level of detail that you want to avoid.  Your audience is listening for how you will be a best culture fit for their organization, what transferable skills will work best in the organization, and most importantly, how have you demonstrated your successes.  You may have heard the devil is in the detail, well in this case, the devil is in the over-personalization you incorporate into your professional story. 

3. Too Honest
You want to be genuine and, of course, authentic.  You want them to know that while you’ve failed at some things, you’ve also been able to bounce back.    Nonetheless, this is another area where discretion is pertinent.  Honesty about how toxic your work environment may have been, how your team member was a slacker, or that you’re an extreme introvert and dislike hanging out with people, would definitely be too honest!  There’s a way to be authentic without throwing someone or a department under a bus.  Granted, honesty about our personality is indeed important but again, you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot either. 

4. Not Knowing Your Audience
Telling your professional story to an audience of corporate bankers is definitely different than telling your story to the CIA or a nonprofit like Teach For America.  Research your employer and the people; craft your story and talking points specifically to the audience.  Jargon is important too.  You want the story to not only resonate well but also make sense to those listening or reading, therefore adapt the appropriate jargon, as applicable.

5. Too Modest
Contrary to embellishing your story, you might be too modest and not be self- aware or recognize your own accomplishments.  Telling your professional/career story is giving your self credit where credit is due.  Employers need to hear how you are amazing.  It’s striking the right balance between being self-aware, intentional and sincere, yet not arrogant. 

Learn more about telling your story using Online Tools and Resources on the Career Center website.

Photo copyright attribute only, share alike by austinevan


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Job Shadowing Isn’t Spooky

Job shadowing. What in the heck is it? The short answer is that it doesn’t involve anything from the video game Sonic the Hedgehog (But hey, shout out to the #gamers! Shadow is cool!). The longer answer is even more fun than The Ultimate Life Form.

Whether you’re trying to discover what to major in or what career may suit your interests, job shadowing is where it’s at.  Gaining career-related experience by observing a professional in his or her work environment will enable you to better understand what a typical workday looks like. You’ll see what is expected in the work and how to navigate that particular setting. Another benefit is that you’ll develop professional relationships that can aid you in your job search and who can become a part of your board of advisors. And you can shadow no matter what field you want to explore, and at any point in your pre-professional OR professional career (Do you hear me, alumni who want to change careers and are nervous?).

You’re a Duke student, so you might be a little competitive, eh? Of course you want to get the inside track on how to feel confident about the major you choose or the job you want to pursue. And job shadowing is networking, gathering knowledge about a career or industry and learning about a company all rolled into one great package. Here’s how to spend the shadow opportunity wisely:
1. Decide what it is you want to learn and communicate that to the contacts you make. Simply expressing that you want to “see what Boeing is like” communicates less powerfully than saying “I want to learn about how Boeing’s aerospace work influences engineering practice, so observing electrical engineers in your company would be most interesting to me.” #nailedit!
2. Ask for a specific amount of time to shadow. Maybe you’d like a day to observe one department or a week to get a broad overview of areas within a company or organization. 
3. Ask questions about the field, the organization, the training required, recommended academic and career pathways. Your interest in their work will not only be flattering to the people you shadow, you will also be miles ahead of other students who limit their industry knowledge to perusing a company website.

To get names of people and places to shadow, two standbys will be valuable—DukeConnect and LinkedIn (don’t forget the Duke Alumni Network). For more on the best questions to ask when you shadow, take a look at our networking and informational interview guides.

Photo by by WhatiMom.  Share alike, Attribution Only


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