To round out our Alumni Guest Posts for the 2012-13 year, we’re happy to present Tricia Dunn ’12, former HC Career Planning Marketing Intern (& Blogger!) and current member of the Human Resources team at Hanover Insurance Group.
Check out more about her job & advice for students pursuing a career at Hanover or in HR!
Hi Crusaders! It’s hard to believe that almost a year has passed since I graduated. And yet, while it
seems like just yesterday I was enjoying Cape Week and pre-graduation celebrations at the Pub, so much has happened since then that I can’t believe college was only a year ago.
I’m currently going on a year at The Hanover Insurance Group, where I work in the Human Resources department and am part of the company’s Future Leader’s Program. I’ve been lucky to try a variety of projects during this year here and am learning a lot. While I have enjoyed this past year and the growth and change it has brought, I will admit I do get a little nostalgic for HC sometimes. So, in that spirit, let’s pretend we’re meeting up in the pub for a $2 beer (side note: do any of you realize how great this is?!) and I’ll share what I’ve been up to over the past few months.
How did I end up at Hanover?
I first learned about The Hanover as a junior looking for internships. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and was applying to internships in a variety of fields and locations. Two young alumni had a lobby table in Hogan and were recruiting for The Hanover—with cupcakes. No joke, I first learned about The Hanover due to my insatiable hunger for baked goods. One of them asked me if I was interested in applying for the internship program. Since I wasn’t really thinking about insurance, I didn’t take it seriously at first, but their enthusiasm for the company took me aback and I found myself connecting with a lot of the things they mentioned. The more I learned about Hanover, the more it sounded like a place I could like.
Fast forward three months and I returned to Holy Cross having enjoyed my internship and with an offer in hand for a full time position as part of The Hanover’s Future Leaders Program. While it was a little nerve wracking to commit to a company so soon into senior year, I was excited to join the program. I liked the idea of joining a training program in which I would be given more growth opportunities, mentorship, and cross-functional training.
Through the program, I’ll get a certificate in Business Analysis, learn about other business functions and get more access to leadership and mentoring opportunities than I probably would have otherwise. Also, I started with 40 other people – many of which I’ve become great friends with!
What do you specifically do there?
This is tough for me to answer because I worked on a diverse set of projects. I am currently in HR Operations, which supports and designs tactical solutions to get done in our department. In essence, we’re the back end people, on the ground, making sure everything runs smoothly. For example, I manage our relocation program; so when the company hires a new employee who needs to move for the job, I help set them up with our relocation vendor. I consult with the HR recruiters who are making the offer, manage vendor to ensure that it is meeting our employee’s need, pay invoices and run financial reports for our finance department.
I have also done some process improvement work for our Learning & Development group, which hosts and manages all of the enterprise-wide classes and learning programs. I took a look at how the operational work was being accomplished: how the online class sign up system worked, how the classes were being set up and hosted, etc., and was able to identify issues and and make recommendations to improve the user experience and improve efficiency. This project was fun because I got to do a lot of consulting work and the impact of my work was noticeable right away!
I think Operations was a good place to start because it provided me with foundational knowledge about
the department and exposed me to all of the different areas within it. However, as I approach my one year mark with the company, I’m looking forward to trying something new. As of June, I will still be in HR, but I’ll be working with our Community Relations & Employee Engagement group. I’ve already begun to take on some more work in this area and am really enjoying it! I am currently managing the redesign of our career site (stay tuned for improvements!), writing pieces for our internal company newsletter, and planning events with our community partners. I’m looking forward to taking on more roles with marketing and helping others.
While I’m still not exactly sure what I want to do long-term, I am really happy to be where I am today. As mentioned, I am happy for my year in Operations, but I’ve always known I wanted to get into something more community-focused and more creative. Thankfully, I have had a lot of advocates at The Hanover who have mentored me and helped me get into this new role. As for long-term plans, I think the next year will be telling. I plan to continue to take on a diversity of projects to stretch my skills and interests in new ways. I think by doing this I will discern the next step most clearly and with the experiences I’ve had at HC and The Hanover I believe I’ll be ready to take it on!
Any advice for college students?
Yes! I have three that alumni have passed on to me and that I have learned in my one year in the proverbial real world:
1. Focus on the job role, not the job title.
Titles can be misleading and box you in to a job search. While titles hint at hint at what a job entails, there is usually more than meets the eye. It’s more accurate to approach a job by thinking about what you want your daily life to look like – do you like working with people? Doing something creative? Analytical? Are you passionate about research? Whatever that be, focus on those descriptive words and the type of work which you are seeking – rather than a title.
2. Advocate for what you’re interested in…
As a political science major and a studio art minor, I knew that Excel spreadsheets all day were not going to be my jam. Early on at my time at Hanover, I found myself enjoying my projects which were more creative, solidifying my interest in that area. I made sure my manager, mentors and others knew about it. As a result, I’ve been given more creative opportunities in my current position and will be transitioning to a more creative role full-time as of June.
3. …But be open.
As a newbie to the workforce, you’re bound to be doing projects and tasks you never thought you’d be interested in. Yeah, some of those projects are going to suck as much as you expected them to, but guaranteed you will learn something—and maybe even develop new interests—if you are open to it.
4. Drink more $2 beer.
Just kidding. Sort of. Have fun and enjoy the heck out of your time at Holy Cross! It’s a great experience and I encourage you all to make the most of your time there, in the classrooms, on the fields, in extracurricular and yes, even socially.
Connect with this story?
Learn more about the opportunities at Hanover Insurance group here.