Road Trips to the Real World

This winter break, join the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers on “Road Trips to the Real World.”

The program provides “an opportunity for undergraduate students to learn first hand about a career field, network with employees and explore internship and job opportunities” from Williamsburg, VA all the way to Portland, ME.

All majors are welcome! Registration opens November 21, 2011 at 9:00 a.m and closes on December 2, 2011 at 4:00 p.m. Site visits take place in January 3-13, 2012. A full schedule and descriptions of site visits will be posted within the first two weeks of November.

The program boasts a diverse list of sites, including the Association of American Publishers, City Year, Deloittee, the Philadelphia Zoo.  According to the website, “at each site you will get an in depth look at how the business operates and see first hand the potential jobs that are out there. You will also network with employees and get a head start on your career choice. This is an opportunity you do not want to miss!”

Interested in learning more? Check out the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers website for more information.

Alumni Guest Post: Alana DiPesa ’09

This week hear from Alana DiPesa ’09 and her career development from JVC to graduate school!

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Alana DiPesa '09

I graduated from Holy Cross in 2009 and did what any graduate without definite post-graduate goals would do in an economic recession, volunteer!

I had always wanted to do a year of service after graduation but the lack of job prospects made it all the more appealing once my senior year rolled around. I applied to a couple of international programs and then on a whim applied to the national Jesuit Volunteer Corps. I felt like everyone who volunteered from Holy Cross did JVC, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to follow that path, but the recruiters talked a lot about the JVC community that I would be a part of long after my year of service was over and that appealed to me because it sounded a lot like the Holy Cross community that I had come to love.

I eventually chose JVC over the international programs and was placed at a Sanctuary for Families, a nonprofit working to combat domestic violence in Brooklyn, NY.  I loved the year I volunteered for Sanctuary as a paralegal in their immigration department; I became so passionate about the undocumented clients we served and felt as though I had found my life’s work.  When Spring engulfed New York I realized my time at Sanctuary would have to end; I was not only saddened to leave the job I had come to love, I was terrified about what I would do next and how it would ever compare.

The first thing I did to begin my job hunt was talk to all of my colleagues and supervisors with

With the JVC Community

whom I had built strong relationships.  I told them what kind of work I was interested in, gave them a copy of my resume, and asked that they send it along to any of their contacts who might be hiring.  I got a lot of positive responses and a couple of interviews from this alone.

In the meantime, though, I had also made my interest in staying at Sanctuary clear to my bosses and I wound up getting hired on as a Family Reunification Coordinator after my year of service was completed.  This new role was a promotion from the work I had been doing as a paralegal and a huge challenge as I began running the reunification program almost entirely on my own.  I was responsible for assisting the children of our clients who were still living abroad apply for visas, and upon approval, enter the U.S.

As Family Reunification Coordinator I was privy to some of the most intimate interactions that families had; I witnessed the joy upon initial reunification, the fear of inadequacy that mothers who had been without their children for as much as 10 years felt, the disappointment that these children experienced when they realized that their vision of America was a far cry from the life they would be living, and the inevitable arguments that ensued.  It was this exposure to family dynamics that convinced me of what I wanted to do next: I was going to follow in my mother’s footsteps and become a child and family therapist.

Hanging out with friends from JVC

I had come to love my work schedule so much that I was not thrilled about becoming a full-time student again, but I knew that it was the only way to get to where I wanted to be.  I started researching clinical Social Work programs and decided on the Smith School for Social Work because their program would allow me to work at an internship for the majority of the year and only be in classes during the summers.  I completed my first two semesters of classes this past summer and now I’m working at the Yale Child Study Center in New Haven, CT providing therapy to children and families affected by HIV/AIDS.

I’ve had a taste of everything since graduating from Holy Cross: volunteering, working full-time, and now being back in graduate school. I didn’t plan for my post-graduate years to work out this way, but I can’t imagine it haven’t gone any smoother.

I finally understand what the career counselors were trying to get through to me when I was an undergrad: networking is everything! If I hadn’t made the contacts that I did through my year of service as a Jesuit Volunteer I wouldn’t have landed a dream job afterward and I also wouldn’t have heard about the Smith Social Work program nor had people to write references for me.  Making connections and building rapport with new people that you meet is so much more important than I ever realized while I was at Holy Cross.

Now, although I’m still making new connections at the Yale Child Study Center, I’m also maintaining my former connections through email updates, coffee dates, and cards around the holidays; you never know when you might want to call up that person you met way back when and ask for a favor, so it’s worth it to make sure they remember you and keep them in your network!

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Did this story resonate with you?

Inspired to do service work after graduation? Check out opportunities in Career Planning or with the Chaplains’ Office.

Think you’re a good flirt?

In talking with friends about job/internship interviews, the number one thing people mention is the nerves.

It makes sense: you’re trying to remember everything you can about the company, to fit your best experiences into the interviewer’s questions and you’re sitting uncomfortably to disguise the stain on your shirt from the coffee you spilled in Cool Beans pre-interview.


It’s a lot to think about, but I think the trick to interviewing well is to take a step back and remember this secret:

If you can flirt, you can interview.






































Flirting is all about letting the other person know you’re interested, while appearing interesting yourself. You’re trying to persuade them that you would be a great match without jumping over the table and screaming “CHOOSE MEEEEEEEE!” (Note: desperation does not read well in either professional or social settings.)

Bottom line: you want to let the other party know that you think they got it goin’ on, while letting them know that you got it goin’ on too.

Interviewing is the same thing.

Obviously, your tone, language, content and attire should be different in both situations. Batting your eyelashes, talking about your favorite “That’s What She Said” joke and wearing your latest Forever 21 minidress may work on any given Thursday at Overtime Tap, but a professional  suit and knowledge of the industry are going to get you a lot further in the board room.

That being said, you do want to let your personality show through in an interview.  You don’t want to come off as buttoned up as your suit; you want to show that you’re a real,  interesting, likable person who is not only a great candidate, but would make a great coworker.  Most often recruiters want to hire people that they want to work with.

So how can you translate your flirting skills into interview ones? Some general pointers:

  1. Smile and look the interviewer in the eye. Simple. Effective.
  2. Take your time. If you need a minute to think about a question, simply say “That’s a good question. Let me think about it for a moment.” There’s no harm in pausing. It’s better to collect  your thoughts than to end up rambling for 10 minutes about something off topic. (Ever have this happen to you on a date? It’s uncomfortable.)
  3. Dress up. Again, you get ready for a night out; do same thing for an interview. Just make sure to leave anything you’d wear to the bars stays at home. Tips for guys and girls work-appropriate dress here.
  4. Humor (when appropriate) is good. You have to read the situation with this one; if your interviewer seems welcoming, adding a lighthearted story about your crazy commute at your previous internship (for example) adds another layer of depth to your application. People like people who make them laugh.
  5. Pretend you’re Kanye West. Fake confidence until you feel it. Tap into your inner Kanye for inspiration to be your most confident self. Note that there is a fine line between confident and cocky. Yes you are a great candidate; no you are not God’s gift to accounting/marketing/nonprofits. Remember, likability is important too!
  6. Ask questions. Everyone likes to talk about themselves.  Prepare some questions to ask ahead of time so you’re not at a loss for when the interviewer turns questioning over to you.
  7. Follow up. If you like someone, you’d text or call after to say you enjoyed talking with them, right? Same thing goes with interviews. Send a thank you note or email within 24 hours of the interview and mention something specific you talked about to personalize it further.

Follow these tips and gain confidence to nail that interview! Who knows, you may work up the courage to finally ask out the hottie in your Sociology class as well!

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Want to put these tips to work before the big interview? Schedule a mock interview with Career Planning.

Alumni Guest Post: Isabelle Jenkins ’10

This week we meet Isabelle Jenkins ’10 as she shares her experience as a community organizer in a Boston community!

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I did not have a job when I graduated from Holy Cross in May 2010. In fact, I barely had any job prospects.

Isabelle Jenkins '10

I went on a few interviews April of my senior year, but had not rigorously entered the career planning process. I was just too busy and frankly in denial that my time at Holy Cross was coming to an end.

However, looking back on this time now, it was perhaps one of the best decisions I ever made. I learned that if you have the leisure of waiting to search for a job, then take it. When else will you have a senior year in college? When else will you have a summer off? The jobs will come because Holy Cross has an amazing career network and is an amazing institution, so take the job hunting process at your own pace. Everyone approaches it differently and taking that pressure off of having a job the day after you graduate can actually make the process that much more enjoyable and will definitely make your senior year more enjoyable.

When I did graduate, I took a job as a nanny in my hometown and threw myself into the job-hunting process. Fortunately, for me, it came together rather quickly.

I knew that I wanted to go to graduate school and I also knew that volunteer work was something that I was always called to. So I applied to the Life Together program in Boston, MA, which is part of the Episcopal Service Corps, a program similar to the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. I was accepted into the program and moved to Boston at the end of August 2010.

My year with the Life Together program changed my life. I lived in community with seven other interns and commuted out to Watertown, MA everyday to work as a community organizer. In Watertown, through an Episcopal church, I worked in the community itself. I talked with people from different organizations, from different churches, and from the local hangouts and listened to what the town needed and wanted.Through this listening process, I discovered an immense amount of energy around building a community garden. Watertown did not have one, but many of the surrounding towns did. So, I set out to help the community build one.

Together, with a team of Watertown residents, we teamed up with the Watertown Housing Authority, a low-income community, and built a garden on a vacant lot that they owned. The garden opened in June of 2011 and has 30 plots where the low-income residents of the housing authority and the neighbors of that community garden side by side. It was an amazing feat and will hopefully be the first of many community gardens in Watertown.

I say that this year changed my life because it was extremely challenging work. Being a community organizer, I had to put myself out there every day. I knew no one in town and I had no idea how to start a “social justice project,” as my program deemed my community-organizing task. I constantly was meeting new people and having to talk about why I was in the town. I also had to return home to seven people and be accountable to the community there.

Peppers at the community garden.

My job and my life became about relationships. This was what was so life-changing about the year. For so long, my goal has always been success, about the numbers and the letters, about what can be quantitatively measured. But what Holy Cross began to teach me and what my year with Life Together taught me is that it is the qualitative things that matter the most. Relationships should be and can be at the center.

Now, one and a half years out of Holy Cross and after my year with Life Together, I am a first year master of divinity student at Harvard Divinity School, still living in Boston. Additionally, I am working as a field education student in the Office of the College Chaplains at Holy Cross and the Alumni Coordinator for the Life Together program. Relationships continue to be what drives me, and I am so grateful that I am doing the type of work that continuously challenges me to keep these relationships at the center.

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Did this story resonate with you?

Inspired to do service work after graduation? Check out opportunities in Career Planning or with the Chaplains’ Office.

What Not to Wear to an Interview

What’s the best and worst thing to wear to an interview?

We can’t get Stacy and Clinton from TLC to show up with a $5,000 gift card, but we can provide you with some guidelines. When dressing for an interview, remember that you want to project the type of image you want: professional, put together, competent and smart.

Some major fashion faux pas to avoid:

1. Carrying a backpack instead of a briefcase or portfolio; girls, leave the slouchy satchels behind as well.

2. Ladies, your skirt should be long enough to sit comfortably without thigh showing. If unsure, use The Grandma in Church Test: if grams would give you a disapproving look for wearing it in church, don’t wear it.

3. A word on ties: gents, nothing says class like a good tie. That being said, nothing looks sillier than a bad tie. Keep it conservative in pattern and color and no less three and a quarter inches wide. Have a friend help you tie it if necessary.

4. Don’t blind your interviewer with color. In most industries it’s best to stick with navy, black or gray. If the dress is business casual, it’s fine to add some color (it also shows you have a personality!) but make sure it is in a conservative way. Some creative fields like advertising and fashion may be amenable to more color; check up on the office culture beforehand to get a feel for what would be appropriate.

5. This is not Overtime Tap. Heavy makeup, low tops, tight pants or skirts and super high heels are not okay.

6. No graphic t-shirts or highly visible brand names.  One caveat: if you’re applying to a company whose apparel you may be expected to wear.

6. About the bling: women shouldn’t wear more than one set of earrings and should keep it minimal. Pearl or diamond studs, or small dangling earrings are acceptable. Men should remove all jewelry except for wedding/class rings or metal watch. Everyone should remove facial piercings.

7. Cover up any visible tattoos.

8. Make sure your clothes fit properly. It’s distracting to both you and the interviewer if you are constantly fixing your top or pants. Remember: too tight = skanky; too loose = sloppy. Spend the extra time and money to get your professional wardrobe tailored and well fitted.

9. Nails should look clean and be trimmed to short length. No bright nail polishes.

10. Hair: make sure it’s neat and out of your face. Girls, simple styles are best (I think a low ponytail is underrated). Boys, make sure it’s clean and combed.

11. Fishnets, patterned hosiery or bare legs (no matter how tan you are). Women should stick with neutral color hosiery that complements their suit.

12. Men, wear socks which match your shoes and make sure they’re long enough; it looks silly if you can see a gap of flesh when you sit.

13. No stains or wrinkles! If you spill something on yourself in Coolbeans before the interview, try to conceal it the best you can; bringing along an extra cardigan or jacket may be helpful.

14. No dirty or scoffed shoes. No sneakers. No sandals. Toes are not professional. Girls, heels are great, but don’t wear higher than you can handle. Nobody wants to walk with the girl who has to waddle down the hall. It makes you look young.

15. Skip the strong aftershaves, perfumes or colognes: Many people are allergic to certain scents.

16. Match your shoes and belt. Simple leather is best.

17. Remember to cut off the zigzag thread that keeps pockets and slits closed in a new suit!

18. Plan ahead. Lay out your clothes. Call your mom.

Bottom line: look good so that your wardrobe is not a distraction. You want them to focus on your words, not your outfit.


Leveraging Social Media in the Job Search
Wednesday , November 9, 2011
4-5 PM, Hogan 406

More and more companies and job seeker alike are using technology to help fulfill their employment goals.  Social networking tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter have become valuable resources in the job search.  In this workshop you will learn the dos and don’ts when using social media to network and pursue job opportunities.

Alumni Job Shadowing Program 2011/12

Alumni Job Shadowing Program
*Winter Break*
Accepting Applications
November 7th-30th through
Crusader Connections

Learn more about a particular job or industry by spending a day on site with a Holy Cross Alumni during Winter Break.  Email Jonathan Hurt at for list of shadowing sponsors, sites and program guidelines.

Alumni Guest Post: Josh Jones ’11

This week meet Josh Jones ’11, who has transitioned from shooting hoops in Hart to saving lives at St. Vincent Hospital.

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Josh Jones '11

For the majority the past four years my days were happily spent going to class in Stein and Beavan, playing basketball in the Hart Center, meeting friends for dinner at Kimball and for coffee at Cool Beans, studying late Dinand, and of course those “social gatherings” on Caro Street.

Unfortunately, like they say, “all good things must come to an end”.  So, on May 27th 2011, life has I had known it for four years change tremendously.

Now, the time that I once spent shooting hoops at Hart is now spent working as a Pharmacy Technician at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Ma. I became certified as a pharmacy technician during the summer before my junior. As a part of HC’s Academic Internship Program, I was able to intern in the inpatient pharmacy at St. Vincent during the spring of my senior year. I was hired right before graduation have enjoyed working in the pharmacy ever since. I think that working in the pharmacy is a great experience that will prove to be valuable as apply to pharmacy schools.

The time that I previously spent eating with my friends and roommates in Kimball and Crossroads, I now spend grocery shopping and cooking meals for myself. After set the smoke alarm off countless, cooking is something that I am finally getting the hang of. I now appreciate all of the cooking and shopping that my mom did for me when I was at home.

My late nights of writing papers in the stacks of Dinand have now turned into late nights of applying to pharmacy schools in my Shrewsbury apartment. I have applying to schools as close to Holy Cross as MCPHS in Worcester, as far away as Sullivan University in Louisville, Ky.

Although my trips to Caro Street have come to an end, they have been replaced with trips to Boston and New York. Staying in the Worcester area has not only made the transition to life after Holy Cross easy but it has also made it easier to visit and stay in touch with friends who are also in the New England area.

While I miss being a student at Holy Cross, I am happy to be in my own place, working, and preparing for the next stage in my life. To those of you still on the hill; enjoy your time at HC and know that when we leave as graduates we are very well equipped to pave our own way in the world.

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Did this story resonate with you?

Looking for a job in the medical field? Check out Holy Cross Health Professions.

What are YOU doing after graduation?

Are you tired of thinking about or answering this question?  Have you considered looking for a short-term job or volunteer/service opportunity?  If so, you are considering a “gap year,” a period of time when you take a break…to travel, volunteer, study, intern, or work.  A gap year is also referred to as a deferred year, year out, year off, time out, time off.  A gap year experience can last for several weeks, a semester, or up to a year or more.  (Source:
Interested in learning more about “gap years?”  Sign-up NOW for the Virtual Networking Forum on Gap Year Options, which starts TODAY and continues until Friday, November 11, 2011.  Here’s the link: 
The virtual forum is an open discussion arena.  Post questions any time, day or night, to our 8 alumni panelists representing a range of areas including teaching/education (TFA), non-profit, medical research, and community service (Americorps VISTA, JVC).  Ask as many questions as you wish; there is no limit.