#CrusaderIntern: The Goldilocks rule of email etiquette

June 21st, 2016 by msweeney

MauraHume2_Aug2011_6x9Lgby Maura Sweeney ’07, Associate Director, Center for Career Development

The way you compose emails says a lot about you. Don’t believe me?


i write email as if im txting a friend… i dont use punctuation correct grammar or spell check… and i look really immature and unprofessional…


Hey Boss,
I use correct punctuaton, but I don’t bother to spell-chick and tend to write in run-on sentenses, which drives everyone I work with crazy but I seem like I’m to busy and important to notice, so I just keep doing it anyway because everyone I work with should already know how grate I am and that the rules dont apply to me.



Hi Boss,

I hope you’re having a great day.   I take the time to compose my email to you using well-thought-out sentences and clear ideas.  I don’t waste your time with either irrelevant or confusing information, but instead I provide just enough context so that you understand why I’m emailing you and can respond easily, if needed.  I come across as a competent professional that everyone wants to work with, even if I have only been on the job for a week or two.

Thank you,


Are you convinced yet? The way that you compose an email matters.  Just like with Goldilocks, it shouldn’t be too long and it shouldn’t be too short. It should be just right– long enough to get your point across, but short enough that someone who’s busy can read it quickly and give you an answer.  You should use proper grammar, correct punctuation and spell-check.

Don’t fall into the trap of firing off emails without taking an extra second to proof-read and use the spell-check button (You simply click a button!  It doesn’t even take thought… or physical strength!) It’s easy to come off as rude, unknowledgeable and unprofessional over email.  If you’re having a hard time getting your point across in email, then pick up the phone or stop by your colleague’s desk and ask in person.  Do you need to email a client or someone you can’t actually talk to?  Ask a friend in the office to give your email a read.  A fresh set of eyes might be able to nix a sentence that’s irrelevant and derailing your point.

As an intern, you may not have a lot of industry experience yet, but as a Holy Cross student, you do have good writing skills.  Show them off by writing proper emails.  Your coworkers will be appreciative!  And you will be, too, when you leave your internship with positive recommendations (and maybe even a job offer!).

#CrusaderIntern: Starting off on the right foot

June 13th, 2016 by msweeney

Melisa Jaquez 2016by Melisa Jaquez ’06, Assistant Director, Center for Career Development

So you are excited and ready to begin your internship this summer. You have your professional attire ironed and ready to go. You have mapped out your commute to and from your internship site and have made a list of individuals you want to connect with. As you start your internship, below are a few things to keep in mind to help you get started on the right foot:


Many of you researched information about your employer during the interview process. Your research should not stop there. Track your employer for recent news and know the clients as well as employees you’ll be working closely with.

Learn the employer dress code and hours of operation. While many internships require professional attire make sure to find out the dress code before your first day or at the latest during your first week.

Be on time…always. Find out before you start what time you need to arrive on your first day and what your schedule will be for the summer. Remember employers will notice if you are often the first to arrive and the last to leave.


More often than not internships consist of tasks and experiences you were not expecting. Your responsibilities will not only be limited to those in the job description when you first applied. It will consist of big projects but also small tasks like taking notes or picking up lunch for a company meeting. Be open-minded when new tasks are assigned, especially those that you were not expecting. Employers will respect your flexibility and openness.


Keep a notebook strictly for your internship. Fill it with questions you might have before your first day. This notebook will help you stay organized if you consistently use it to take notes and keep a running tasks list. You will want to make sure to write down deadlines, meeting dates and reminders. Internships are busy so it’s possible to forget something if you don’t write it down.

The notebook will also serve as a reminder of everything you did that summer. You might reference it when updating your resume or down the road when you are interviewing for other internships or jobs.


Did you know you already started networking at your company? You have already connected with individuals who work there through the interview process. But this is only the beginning. Most internships will allow opportunities for you to connect with employees in other departments or areas. Create a list of individuals you would like to connect with during your time there. Stay tuned for a future blog post on networking that will provide more information on this topic.


The Center for Career Development is open all summer. If you have any questions before or during your internship do not hesitate to reach us at 508-793-3880 or at careers@holycross.edu.


Alumni Job Shadowing: Brittany Scott ‘18

May 10th, 2016 by rimaal17

Name: Brittany ScottBrittany Scott3

Class Year: 2018

Major: Accounting

Shadowing Visit Site: Ernst & Young- New York, New York

Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?

My visit was an incredible experience that I will never forget and an opportunity that I am grateful I had. Patrick Quay, my host, was both accommodating and helpful throughout the entire day. He kept in contact with me in the weeks prior to my visit and created an agenda for the day that would expose me to the culture of EY, including many other friendly employees I had the chance to meet. I listened in on calls, learned the framework of EY’s four main segments of operation, and consulted with employees from the Tax, Advisory Services, and Auditing services. Immersing myself in the office for a full day and attending lunch with a handful of employees made me feel as if I had clicked fast-forward to 2018 and was an employee myself. The office life at EY allowed me to feel so welcomed after just a few short hours. From this experience I gained insight as to what a typical business day looks like for CPAs and other professional individuals; furthermore, I gained confidence in myself and my thoughts as to what I want to do with my career. Lastly, I gained multiple crucial connections whom I can contact if I ever need a reference or opinion in relation to the accounting field.

How did this experience influence or connect to your future career plans/goals?

My visit to New York City truly opened my eyes to the world I hope to work in upon graduation from Holy Cross in 2018. My plans to work in the public accounting field were confirmed by my visit. As I was on my way back to Grand Central I wished I could either turn back to the office or at least return the next day. Passing by hundreds upon hundreds of other professional workers sporting long black trench coats instilled such a passion and excitement in me, which I hope to be surrounded by after college and throughout my adult life.

What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?

Advice Patrick Quay shared with me was to not be afraid to ask questions or hold back at all. I must admit that going into my visit I was mildly nervous- I did not know what to expect or how comfortable I would be in this new setting. However, once I realized how comfortable I was in the office, I did not let any nerves hinder my questions for Patrick and other employees I met with. These adults were fountains of information for an aspiring CPA like myself, so it would have been foolish not to take advantage of the opportunity I had. I left my visit with pages of notes that helped me when applying to leadership programs this winter.

Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?

I would recommend this program to other students for multiple reasons. First, it is always beneficial to know a fellow Crusader, especially one who works in a field you hold interest in. Second, it is the perfect chance to switch from college-student to adult employee for a day (or at least pretend) and get a sense of the real world. Lastly, it is a short and sweet commitment offered in many cities that almost everyone has time for. Had I passed on the opportunity, I would not be as confident and eager for my future as I am now.

Alumni Job Shadowing: Nerelly Checo’18

May 5th, 2016 by rimaal17

Name: Nerelly Checonerelly

Class Year: 2018

Major: Sociology

Shadowing Visit Site:  Weight Watchers

Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?

During my visit, I was able to connect with various employees from the Weight Watchers company. My host wanted me to be able to explore the different opportunities that exist within the Marketing field. She scheduled multiple meetings with people who do different things (all related to Marketing) to give me a stronger idea of what aspect of Marketing I would want to pursue. Because of this, my experience became so valuable. I was able to realize that I am mostly interested in Consumer Insights. In addition, having the one-on-one experience during my meetings allowed me to have the chance to ask what kind of things I should do during college and afterwards to make me more marketable to future employers.

How did this experience influence or connect to your future career plans/goals?

This experience completely changed my future career plans. Initially I wanted to be a psychologist, but after declaring a Sociology major, I was really confused as to what I wanted to do with it in the future. As I developed an interest in Marketing, my confusion got worse because there were so many things involved with Marketing that I was not sure which field I was most interested in. However, participating in the shadowing program has given me a clear focus on what I would like to pursue in the future.

What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?

One of the most helpful pieces of advice my alumni host shared with me was to always have a technology background. Because Holy Cross is a liberal arts school, a focus on technology is never emphasized here. This is especially true for me because I am a Sociology major and most of my work is centered around readings and not so much on technology. However, my host was able to show me, through meetings with people who do different jobs, how technology was incorporated into each of their jobs. I thought this was extremely helpful because I probably would have never thought about technology if I was not able to see the importance of its role in any career.

Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?

It is very common for students to come into college either not having any idea of what they want to do in life or having a very set plan for their future. However, things are always easier said than done. Therefore, being in an actual workplace and sharing the work experience with someone is much different than simply having an idea of what you think a job will be. That being said, having the opportunity to shadow someone before declaring a major is so beneficial because it allows you to recognize whether that is truly a path you want to take in the future. Even after declaring a major, it is just as beneficial because it gives confirmation on whether you made the right decision or not.

Alumni Job Shadowing: Allison Hoffman’16

May 5th, 2016 by rimaal17

Name: Allison HoffmanColleen Naber

Class Year: 2016

Major: Political Science

Shadowing Visit Site:  Colliers International – Boston, MA

Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?

After getting matched up with an alumni from the Class of 2010, I was able to schedule an entire day in at the office just a few days before Christmas. Despite the crazy holiday season, my alumni tailored his day around me and made it clear that he wanted me to have an engaging shadowing experience. We started the morning off grabbing coffee and sat down for about an hour as he shared insight on his own career path after graduating from the Hill and tips on how he leveraged his Holy Cross education in networking/the job hunt. For the rest of the morning, my alumni walked me through some of his team’s recent offering materials, pitch books, and case studies, making sure that he answered any question I had along the way. Being able to comb through real work and get his feedback while doing so was an awesome learning experience in and of itself. Not only was my alumni then nice enough to set up afternoon meetings for me with five other members of the office, he walked me down the street to his fellow Holy Cross roommates’ office for a meeting as well! I was able to conclude my shadowing day by sitting down with my alum’s boss and head of the team; he ended up getting a call while we were talking and he had me sit in on live negotiations!

How did this experience influence or connect to your future career plans/goals?

I’ve known that I want to work in the commercial real estate industry upon graduation, but given that there are so many different avenues within the business, I was a bit overwhelmed trying to navigate the various options. Having my alum be part of the Capital Markets team, I was able to get first-hand feedback on what he deals with, and see that play out in action when I sat in on a phone call. My alumni set me up with members from Leasing and Acquisitions teams as well, so I was able to talk to people from other sides of Brokerage and get a fuller picture of all the moving parts in a full-service firm like Colliers. Having met people who work from all different sides of the table, I was able to use this experience to hone in on my interests and expand my network– a huge step in breaking into the business given that CRE is all network-based!

What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?

My alumni shared advice and honest insight with me throughout the course of the entire day, but the most important thing to remember is that it’s not a one-sided conversation– you have to come prepared, engaged, and ready to ask questions! You will only get out what you put into it. That being said, I came into the shadowing day with my typical go-to questions to get conversation started but our conversation naturally flowed from there. My alumni complimented me for taking some notes as we chatted and how I brought up some current projects/industry news happenings– he said given the number of students who reach out to meet with him, very few actually come prepared and look legitimately interested. Even if it’s a quick 5 minute coffee conversation, be ready to show yourself off– show them you are actually interested in what they do and have something to offer. The worst thing you can do is make them feel like they’ve wasted their time!

Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?

While we are current students of Holy Cross and constantly hear from people all of the time how great the alumni base is, I don’t think students fully realize how truly special this network is. The Holy Cross alumni who I’ve met with through my networking will bend over backwards for any kid who reaches out– I didn’t really buy this until it happened to me! The alumni who participate in this program are signing up because they WANT to host YOU. It really comes down to who you know nowadays so you will reap the benefits the more you put yourself out there– you will come to find that the more you network, the easier it becomes. If you’re an underclassman still trying to figure things out, definitely use the AJSP as a stepping stone to get things going and as an opportunity to explore what you think you like or don’t like. As for upperclassmen, AJSP is an easy piece of conversation you can drop in an interview or a meeting– it demonstrates interest and how you took the time to get out beyond just the classroom and actually get some experience under your belt. I’ve referenced my shadowing day in networking I’ve done since; someone knew one of the people I had met with during my shadow which opened up our conversation even more!

Alumni Job Shadowing: Colleen Naber’18

April 29th, 2016 by rimaal17

Name: Colleen Naber

Class Year: 2018

Major: Political Science

Shadowing Visit Site:  Natixis Asset Management (Tracy Fagan Duffy ‘84)

Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?

During my visit, I met with my alum as well as other notable HC alumni at Natixis. When I arrived, I first had an informational interview with my alumnus. She asked me to tell her about myself and what I’d hoped to gain from my visit. I then had the opportunity to meet with the CFO, who was also a Holy Cross graduate. I also had the chance to meet with the in-house counsel as I had expressed an interest in going to law school eventually. Lastly, I got to attend the Women’s Leadership Conference. I was very grateful for the opportunity as I was able to solidify my interest in finance. I also got the opportunity to network with experienced financial professionals who gave me meaningful career advice and provided me with important insights into the world of Asset Management.    

How did this experience influence or connect to your future career plans/goals?

I am interested in the field of finance, so this experience connected to my future career goals, because I was able to see the typical day in a job in the financial sector. Furthermore, it allowed me to see the types of people I would want to work with. These people were passionate and cared about one another. They laughed when in meetings, but were serious when they wanted to me. They made me feel welcome and a part of the company even when I was just a shadow.

What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?

The best advice I received was to always be willing to do the grunt work. She said that while working her way up the ranks she was always the first person to offer to do the photocopying or grab her boss a coffee. This made her appear indispensable and willing to do anything for her job, which she explained is what she looks for during the hiring process now.

Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?

The Alumni Job Shadowing Program  exposes students to a variety of career choices, so in just one day you can narrow down your career interests. Furthermore, it allows for the opportunity to network, so when applying for jobs and internships you already have exposure to the company and a friendly face to advocate on your behalf (assuming you made a good impression on your alumni)!

Alumni Job Shadowing: Delaney Fell’16

April 18th, 2016 by rimaal17

Name: Delaney FellDelaney Fell

Class Year: 2016

Major: Psychology

Shadowing Visit Site: Burson-Marsteller

Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?

I spent a very busy and interesting day at Burson-Marsteller.   I was able to tour the entire office.  Throughout the day, I had the opportunity to sit in on several meetings with my alumni host.  Through these meetings, I was able to experience daily life at the company.  My alumni host also arranged for me to sit down with several of her colleagues.  These colleagues came from different departments and had different duties, giving me a good idea of the many roles available in the company.     

How did this experience influence or connect to your future career plans/goals?

I had always thought of PR to be an interesting and exciting career choice.  However, I based this off a rather abstract idea of what I believed PR entailed.  As a result of my day at Burson- Marsteller, I now have a concrete understanding of the world of PR.  I am now seriously considering PR as a career goal.  

What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?

My alumni host was remarkably encouraging.  She assured me that with hard work and quality communication skills, one can succeed.

Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?

I would definitely recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to a student from any year.  Through this program, students receive a firsthand look into an industry of interest as well as the valuable advice of Holy Cross alumni.  

Alumni Job Shadowing: Bridget Collins’19

April 12th, 2016 by rimaal17

Name: Bridget Collins IMG_0134

Class Year: 2019

Major: Undeclared

Shadowing Visit Site:  Milford GI Associates

Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?

I shadowed Dr. Daniel Donahue, a gastroenterologist at Milford Regional Medical Center, both in his office and at the hospital. In his office he briefed me on his schedule and how he went about interviewing his patients. He briefed me on each patient whom he was to meet with and I was allowed to observe the patient interviews. After meeting with about twelve patients we went over to the hospital where I was allowed to view some procedures. I watched as Dr. Donahue performed two colonoscopies and an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography or ERCP. This procedure was done in the operating room and I had to put on scrubs to observe.

I really enjoyed this experience and I was happy to be able to observe both in the clinical and the hospital settings.  

How did this experience influence or connect to your future career plans/goals?

This experience reaffirmed my plan to become a physician as I could really see myself in the role. I also really enjoyed the dual nature of Dr. Donahue’s specialty because I enjoyed splitting the time between clinical and procedure based practice.

What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?

Dr. Donahue shared some advice that he learned in medical training. He said that sometimes as a practitioner you have to stand in awe of your patient’s pain. Because if you view patients as problems to be solved and you do all you can it is easy to get frustrated when the patient isn’t responding as you want them to, but sometimes the best way to comfort someone in that position is to accept their pain and empathize with them.

Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?

I would recommend the program to others because you get the opportunity to see what a real day is like and you come out with a better understanding of the job and a better idea if you can see yourself doing that every day.

Interview Tips            

April 7th, 2016 by rimaal17

You get the email or call you’ve been waiting for. You got an interview! Now what?!

For many students the request for an interview can invoke both excitement and stress. This may be your first time in a professional interview setting. Have no fear! The Center for Career Development is here to help!

Follow these key tips when preparing for an interview:

  • Do your research! You must be prepared to articulate why you are interested in the industry, company, and role. In order to do that effectively, you should research as much as you can ahead of time. Spend time on the company’s website, look for articles / press releases on the organization, reach out to prior interns to talk to them about their experience. Gather as much information as you can so you’re able to demonstrate your knowledge of who they are, what they do and why you want to be a part of it.
  • Prepare your elevator pitch. Many times an employer’s first question may be “Tell me about yourself.” You need to have that answer ready to go. Tailor your response to your audience. What would that particular employer be most interested in hearing about? Discuss your background, experience, skills and why this role is the next natural step for you. The Center for Career Development can help you craft your elevator pitch. Stop in during drop ins or schedule an appointment.
  • Prepare and practice examples to highlight your skills. Take a critical look at the job / internship posting. What skills / abilities do they seem to be looking for? Then, identify examples from past experiences that demonstrate you possess those skills / abilities. Draw on all experiences! Use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your examples.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice! Interviewing is a skill. The more practice the better! Use the Center for Career Development to help you prepare so you can wow those employers! We offer interview prep strategy sessions and mock interviews.

Our Interviewing Skills handout will provide more details and sample interview questions that you can use as you prepare. As soon as you get that phone call / email, reach out to the Center for Career Development to schedule a mock interview or interview prep session. We can be reached at 508-793-3880 or careers@holycross.edu.

Interviewing doesn’t have to be stressful or scary….if you’re prepared!!


Written by Julie Draczynski

Associate Director, Center for Career Development

Alumni Job Shadowing: Khorally Pierre ‘17

April 5th, 2016 by rimaal17

Name: Khorally Pierre Khorally Pierre

Class Year: 2017

Major: English/Spanish Pre-Law

Shadowing Visit Site:  O’Neil & Hauser PC

Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?

My visit was surprisingly life changing. Not only did I learn the variety of documents that lawyers potentially use on a daily basis when preparing for cases, but I also learned more than ever that practicing law is my calling and should be used to become a woman for others.

How did this experience influence or connect to your future career plans/goals?

After returning to campus from abroad, I began to doubt whether or not I wanted to pursue a law degree. But the experience made me realize more than ever that this is the kind of work I would like to do in the future. The level of hard work it takes to become a lawyer was reinforced, but as I observed how the firm works to help those in need, I realized that I was once a client to an immigration law firm and would like to further advance my studies in order to help those that are potentially like me.  Even though my host had not had her mind set on going to law school at my age, she told me that it was one of the best decisions she had ever made and had grown in abundance because of it: both in her private and professional life.

What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?

My host advised me to not be afraid to follow my heart throughout my journey in law school. She told me that there are a variety of things that lawyers end up doing. This gave me hope that having a law degree will not necessarily mean that I will be sitting behind a desk for the rest of my life.

Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?

I most definitely would. It has opened my eyes to the industry and has given me a strong motivation to pursue my dream of studying the law.