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Professional Confessional

A blog providing tips and resources for life after college

2014 August

Real World Reality Bites

Entering your last year in college can be exciting, sad, and daunting.  It’s also a time to take advantage of what Wake Forest has to offer you – one last time.  Perhaps, it’s rolling the Quad after a big win, running in Hit the Bricks, or dancing for Shag on the Mag.  These nostalgic events are important.  However, there are also plenty of opportunities to prepare you for life after college.  To ease some of the anxiety, the OPCD’s WFU alums want to share their advice for soaking up what Wake Forest has to offer you before leaving the familiarity of college and starting this thing called life after college.

Here are their bites of reality:

LBLauren Beam (’07, Communication and Religion), Assistant Director, Mentoring Resource Center and Alumni Personal and Professional Development

Build Relationships.

It’s never too late to reach out and build relationships with the amazing faculty and staff members that you have right in front of you. I wish I would have left my comfort zone of friends and extracurricular activities and been bold enough to ask a professor or staff person that I respected and admired to grab a cup of coffee. Take advantage of their wisdom and build relationships with older mentors who you can stay connected with beyond life at Wake Forest.

Matt WilliamsMatt Williams (’09, Communication), Associate Director of Marketing and Communication

Go Beyond the Bubble and Explore the Winston-Salem Community.

If you haven’t had an opportunity to go beyond the Wake Forest bubble, I encourage you to do so. There are often networking events, service opportunities, special programs, comedy shows and more that offer you a taste of what life could be as a budding young professional in your next destination. You might even give public transit a try to test how good you are at navigating an unfamiliar place.  There’s no need to wait until you’re away from Wake Forest to experience the “real world” when you can explore a developing and vibrant community right now as a senior student.

Patrick SullivanPatrick Sullivan (‘93, Politics), Associate Director, Career Education and Coaching

Talk to People.  Really Talk to People.

Not just the people that you go to school with, but the people all around you.  Do you want to learn more about Winston?  Ask someone you see at a restaurant what they like about the city?  Do you want to learn more about what one of our guest speakers does?  Make it a point to talk with them after their presentation.  Are you interested in learning more about a particular field or profession?  Take advantage of the fact that the Wake Forest alumni network is strong and supportive by reaching out to alumni on LinkedIn in order to ask a few questions.  You will probably be surprised by just how helpful these alumni can be.

Zach GarbisoZach Garbiso (‘14, Psychology), Presidential Fellow for the OPCD

Start Taking Yourself Seriously…But Not Too Seriously.

Having just experienced senior year, I can honestly say that I’ve (very recently) been in your shoes.  It doesn’t take long before you start to realize that in the fall of next coming year, you will not be returning to the Forest for classes.  It’s a wake-up call.  However, don’t let it detract from your experience of being a senior on this amazing campus.  I encourage you to do some self-searching to really find what you’re passionate about before the job applications need to be submitted.  Take some ‘you’ time and find out what really inspires you.  If you give yourself the opportunity to establish this now, the other pieces of your life will fall into place.

Jessica LongJessica Long (‘05, Communication), Assistant Director, Career Education and Coaching

Soak It All In.

I’d have to say that my advice to seniors would be for them to soak it all in while they can. Take time to do well academically, but also spend time doing things they enjoy. If there is an event or activity on campus that they’re interested in, then explore it and become involved. Are there campus clubs or organizations they have wanted to join but haven’t taken time to do so? Do it now. While going through the year, take a few moments from time to time to reflect on what you look forward to and what gets you excited. These experiences are invaluable and will help you gain self-knowledge and confidence when you get into the real world.

TIP: Update Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile

Don’t miss the opportunity to highlight the skills you developed during your summer internship! Before you get too far removed from your internship, you’ll want to update your resume by highlighting the new skills developed and projects accomplished during the experience. A resume plays an important role in the hiring process for internships and jobs. Often, the resume is the first impression an employer receives on you. So, you want to market your professional brand and skills to potential employers. If you kept a journal, review it for specific skills and tasks completed on key projects. It will help guide what you want emphasize on your resume. Remember, you want to highlight skills relevant to the internship or job to which you are applying. A position’s job description is another great reference when updating your resume. Review the job description for sought-after skills and highlight the skills you possess on your resume. It is not uncommon to have a few different resumes to match each position you wish to receive an interview. You want to be the qualified person employers are searching for in a candidate.

Similar to your resume, your LinkedIn profile can be a first impression of you. Did you know that when you Google your name your LinkedIn profile is one of the top ten links found on you? Use your resume to update your LinkedIn profile with the skills and projects obtained during your internship. This will ensure your profile matches your resume. LinkedIn is not only your online resume, but a resource for connecting and networking with alumni and employers. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, learn more by viewing the video below.

For assistance, come by the Office of Personal and Career Development during resume review hours to receive tips and advice on your resume and LinkedIn profile. Review hours are: Monday through Thursday 1 – 4 p.m. Exceptions: extended hours 1 – 5 p.m. on September 17; and no reviews on September 2 and November 27-28. The last day of reviews for the semester will be December 5.

Visit the Career Development website for additional information and tips on resumes and LinkedIn.

Diary of an Intern: Laura’s Self Discovery & Reflection – Part 2

Congratulations to our Diary of an Intern series’ student blog contributor, Laura Jurotich! She completed her summer internship. Laura’s final posts are reflections on self discovery and experience as an intern. Laura will share what she learned about herself and the skills developed during the internship. Read her reflection in a 2-part series – Diary of an Intern: Self Discovery and Reflection.

Let’s read Laura’s next steps and advice she gives to future interns. Insightful tips on researching and making connections!

Laura JurotichNow that my summer in Nantucket is over, my plan moving forward is to head back to Wake for senior year. I am a leader at the Summit (formerly Pre-School) pre-orientation program, so I am heading directly from Nantucket to Wake Forest to help lead a group of 75 freshmen at Camp Cheerio in the Blue Ridge mountains. I will graduate in May with a BA in History and Art History, and I plan to pursue finding a career in museum work in Washington, DC. Since DC is a major cultural hub for arts and history and has such a strong presence of Wake Forest alumni, I think that it would be a nice place to start out my post-grad life.

My advice to other students seeking internships is to apply early and often. Start looking for internships and make lists of where to apply in November and December. Winter break is a great time to apply since the process can be intensive and time consuming, and it is tough to add that to your already hefty workload at Wake. Treating the intern application process like the college application process is a good mindset to have; although that is not a super fun idea, you are more likely to gain acceptances that way. That being said, I think it is important to apply to a wide range of internships with three tiers of acceptance possibilities: most likely going to be accepted, maybe will be accepted, and then “reach” internships.

I also think that it is important to explain in a cover letter why this internship in particular suits your needs. Thus, it is always a good idea to do in-depth research on each internship so that you can include details in your cover letter or interview that show that you have done the background research work. I think it is also a good idea whenever possible to email someone directly in the department where you are applying. Just sending a quick note saying that you are applying for that internship and how you heard about it will help you gain immediate name recognition over other applicants. Making connections to past interns is also a plus; I have spoken in interviews for internships that I ended up accepting about past Wake students who I know who have also had that internship. Have faith in yourself, be disciplined in your search, use your connections, and you will have a great shot at landing a meaningful internship!

Laura Jurotich ’15 – History and Art History double major

Diary of an Intern: Lauren’s Self Discovery & Reflection – Part 2

Congratulations to our Diary of an Intern series’ student blog contributor, Lauren Friezo! She completed her summer internship. Lauren’s final posts are reflections on self discovery and experience as an intern. Lauren will share what she learned about herself and the skills developed during the internship. Read her reflection in a 2-part series – Diary of an Intern: Self Discovery and Reflection.

Let’s read what Lauren learned from her experience and the advice she gives to future interns. Fantastic tips on networking and landing an internship via social media!

Lauren FriezoMy internship with restaurant critic and author Gael Greene pushed me to become a sharper thinker and a more creative writer. It’s amazingly difficult to write about food in a way that captures every tiny taste and texture. In order to do so, you have to think outside the box. Food writers have to be detailed, descriptive and thorough, yet also allow their own voices and experiences to shine through. Those who master this become great storytellers like Ms. Greene. Editing her work firsthand was a great way to learn. I will definitely continue this multi-faceted approach to writing in my English courses and in my job as Editor-in-Chief for Her Campus Wake Forest.

I was surprised by how important technology is for a writer. Nowadays, writers don’t just write. They do everything…promoting themselves through social media, running their own websites using HTML and CSS and editing their photographs with Photoshop. If I want to enter into this field, I will definitely have to sharpen these skills. I plan to further develop my skills in this area by taking an Introduction to Adobe Photoshop and InDesign course over winter break.

I am interested to see how writers exist within larger companies. I now know that I enjoy this industry. The past two summers have exposed me to a world of food and restaurant reviews, but what about food publications? What about Gourmet magazine? Or what about television stations, like Food Network? Through searching the Linkedin Wake Forest Alumni group, I was able to connect and meet with a few of these professionals in NYC. It was a great way to end a great summer!

For others interested in a career in food writing or restaurants, I have a few suggestions. The first is to check Twitter constantly. I actually scored this internship through responding to a tweet from @GaelGreene. She tweeted that she needed an intern, and I answered. Don’t underestimate the power of social media, especially in such a fast-paced industry. If you want to work for someone, follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Make yourself knowledgeable, and then when an internship opening is mentioned, pounce. One more thing — make sure your resume is 100% ready to go so you can answer immediately. Of course, the OPCD can help with that!

Lauren Friezo, ‘15 – English major

Diary of an Intern: Laura’s Self Discovery & Reflection – Part 1

Congratulations to our Diary of an Intern series’ student blog contributor, Laura Jurotich! She completed her summer internship. Laura’s final posts are reflections on self discovery and experience as an intern. Laura will share what she learned about herself and the skills developed during the internship. Read her reflection in a 2-part series – Diary of an Intern: Self Discovery and Reflection.

Let’s learn what Laura discovered about herself and the experience interning at the Nantucket Historical Association on Nantucket Island.

Laura JurotichI have learned so much about myself from my summer Public Programs internship at the Nantucket Historical Association. I originally thought that I wanted to exclusively work in a larger art or history museum, but after working with the amazing staff at the NHA, I could see myself working at a local history museum or historical association. I was primarily interested in working at a historical association this summer to expand my museum work experience from solely art museums, and I have discovered that I have a passion for both lines of work. While I have enjoyed my past two summers working in PR and Marketing at museums, but I found that my passion lies in public programs. I love creating memorable experiences for visitors that combine fun events with educational components in a beautiful space.

            I have also learned that I really enjoy living in larger cities. While living in the small community of Nantucket is so lovely and idyllic in so many ways, I have missed the resources that have come with living in a larger, easily accessible city on the mainland. I have loved my summer on this beautiful island, but I have realized that I am more suited for the mainland in many ways.

            I am going to use this experience to search for further museum work, preferably in public programs at an art or history museum in Washington DC, when I graduate in May.

Laura Jurotich ’15 – History and Art History double major

 

Diary of an Intern: Lauren’s Self-Discovery & Reflection – Part 1

Congratulations to our Diary of an Intern series’ student blog contributor, Lauren Friezo! She completed her summer internship. Lauren’s final posts are reflections on self discovery and experience as an intern. Lauren will share what she learned about herself and the skills developed during the internship. Read her reflection in a 2-part series – Diary of an Intern: Self Discovery and Reflection.

Let’s learn what Lauren discovered about herself and the experience working with Gael Greene, the restaurant critic and novelist, in NYC.

Lauren FriezoI am so thankful for my internship with Gael Greene. Working closely with Ms. Greene, I was exposed to many aspects of being a writer. I applaud the way in which Ms. Greene pulls inspiration from the food she tastes, the people she meets and, believe it or not, the lucky interns like myself who spend time in her office!

Me chowing down on one last Arancino from Arancini Bros NYC before the summer is over

Me chowing down on one last Arancino from Arancini Bros NYC before the summer is over.

After weeks together, Ms. Greene and I really opened up to each other and discussed much more than her latest BITE restaurant review. Ms. Greene was interested and concerned with my future career. We had many conversations about “possible lives” post-graduation and the realities of being a woman in the workforce. We talked about having children, our families, and the demands society places on female, freelance writers. Ms. Greene’s advice was so valuable for me as I enter into my senior year of college and face major decisions.

The sun sets on my amazing internship. Thanks to Professional Confessional for letting me share it with you all!

The sun sets on my amazing internship. Thanks to Professional Confessional for letting me share it with you all!

Though it is often difficult for me to open up to others, I realized that speaking candidly with Ms. Greene was vital in building our relationship. If I hadn’t been truthful when she asked me what I wanted to do with the rest of my life (Read: I have no idea what I want to do!), I would not have been able to utilise her wealth of knowledge. I think this is the most important thing that I will take away from my internship: the realization that the people you work for can help you as much as (or even more than) you help them.On some days — if Ms. Greene needed peace and quiet to write an article — the office was a little slow. Yet it was on these days that I revealed my strengths as an intern. Ms. Greene trusted me to know what was important. I would snap photographs of purses and jewelry, update her Pinterest page and read NY Times, Eater.com, and Grubstreet.com. I knew that it was up to me to interact with Gael’s fans on social media, make Etsy sales and monitor food news — I always made sure to be doing something. Every time Gael asked me, “What’s new?” I had an answer. My love for social media, food and reading really came in handy!

Lauren Friezo, ‘15 – English major

TIP: Telling Your Story: Market Your Skills

Learn how to easily communicate your value to interviewers, using work, academic, and personal examples.

Watch the video to learn more about how to articulate your internship experience in an interview.

Stumped about how to communicate your potential value to an interviewer? A key to interviewing effectively is articulating how your skills relate to the specific job, and sharing stories of times you’ve demonstrated them. You see, to a potential employer, the best evidence of how you will perform on their job is how you’ve performed in the past. Providing specific examples will help them “see” you in their job and can sell them on hiring YOU. Start by reviewing the job/internship description, noting the skills and abilities required. Then, use the STAR formula for creating and telling your stories:

S or T : Situation or task you faced

A: Action(s) you took

R: Positive results of your actions (quantify when possible here)

Prepare for the interview by telling your stories to friends, OPCD counselors, and anyone else that will listen, until you feel comfortable sharing them in everyday conversation. Give enough detail so that your listeners fully comprehend the circumstances you were in, but limit your story to three minutes or less. Ask for feedback on your content and delivery, as well as the abilities evident in your story. I promise, you’ll be amazed at all the skills others see.

Make your preparation for future interviews easier, by beginning a STAR journal to record your experiences and important projects.