Go Crush This Career Stuff

IMG_2404The following post was written by Lisa Samaraweera on LinkedIn Pulse.  Lisa joined us as a career counselor during the middle of the fall semester, while Maura Hume-Sweeney was on leave. Our students had the pleasure to meet with Lisa to discuss their career interests and goals, to critique their resumes and cover letters for jobs and internships, and to help them prepare for interviews.

I’ve spent the last month and a half covering a maternity leave at the College of the Holy Cross Center for Career Development in Worcester, MA. The experience has been truly enjoyable and engaging. The people (students, staff and faculty) who represent the community are just wonderful. Holy Cross is a special college, and there is an energy on campus that is both vibrant and serene at the same time.

Having worked at several different colleges over my career, I have to say that Holy Cross has really been my favorite – and almost entirely because the students are so unique. They are incredibly bright, articulate, service driven, determined and so polite! Day after day it is a joy to help them with their resumes, cover letters and interview prep.

Despite all of these wonderful attributes, I have noticed something interesting and unexpected – and that is despite their intellect and poise, they are also incredibly hesitant to trust in themselves. I see it each day – and each day I want to just reach out and give them a hug and say, “If you only knew how amazing you are! You’ve got this.”

I know this is true not just for Holy Cross students, but for students everywhere (and for adults…but that’s another post!) I’ve reflected on this, and while I write these parting words to the students of HC, I hope other students will read this too:

1) You Will Find No Answers

More specifically – you will find no answers if you continue to searchexternally. You are profoundly more resourceful and powerful than you know – and closer than you believe to harnessing this truth. Your career counselors, faculty, parents and friends will provide you with guidance – and you will seek it out (probably for the rest of your life) – but at the end of the day only you can make the choices that impact your future and career. You will ask for black and white answers from others, but you will always be left with shades of gray. You have to give into the gray. Trust yourself…no matter how scary it feels.

2) Trust Yourself – Trust the Journey

The more you trust yourself, the more you will begin to trust your journey. The choices you make now, unfortunately, will not wrap a tidy bow around your career and relieve you of future decisions, anxiety and uncertainty. You will continue to evolve, and grow, and seek out your destiny – it’s our human nature to do so. With this constant seeking, you will find yourself embarking down paths that are not clearly lit. Trust the journey. Everything you do now is setting you up for something in your future. You cannot move forward without the experiences you are living right in this moment. Trust that they all serve a purpose instead of judging them as “wrong” or “right”. If you do this, a weight will lift from your shoulders. I promise.

3) Everything You Need is Within You Now

Stop believing that the best you will appear AFTER you get that job, or AFTER you get into that grad school, or AFTER you get that interview. You. Right Now. In this moment. Hold POWER. You have everything you need inside of you to fill you to the brim with confidence and happiness and capability. You are limited only by the stories of doubt that you tell yourself. Tap into that feeling that fills the bottom of your belly when you feel passionate, and excited, and strong. That feeling is the energy within you that has been there since the moment you were born. You don’t need anyone’s permission to use that power. Give yourself permission to unleash it!

4) Continue to be Resourceful

It’s very possible that your first word was “Google.” You live in the information age. You are surrounded by incredible resources. Learn how to use them. While you won’t necessarily get those nice black and white answers from your online searches, you WILL learn and shed light on the possibilities in front of you. If you’re reading this you’ve made a profile on LinkedIn – awesome. Now go and do something useful with this incredible tool. I would have killed for LinkedIn when I was your age…you are CRAZY if you’re not using it for networking and research.

Thanks to all of the HC students who helped me remember that this career stuff is HARD. It feels crazy, and terrifying, and entirely out of control. I get it. I soooo get it. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up and I’m almost 40 years old….but you know what? I’m cool with that. I’ve realized that my job does not define me, and my career does not decide my worth.

So, here’s my “hug” to you – go out and CRUSH this career stuff.

You’ve got this.



Making the Most of Winter Break

HCwinterWinter break is a time for you to relax, decompress and visit with family and friends. Those dreaded finals are
a distant memory! Once you’ve caught up on sleep and recharged your batteries, here are a few ways you can make the most of your time away from the hill.

  • Focus on your summer internship search. Use winter break to identify the type of internship you are seeking and explore potential opportunities. There are many career exploration and internship search tools available on our website. The Center for Career Development is open during winter break so reach out to us for assistance. We can review resume and cover letter documents via email or set up time to meet via phone or Skype.
  • Volunteer. Employers look for demonstrated interest in a particular field or industry. Volunteering is an effective way for you to gain exposure to an area that may be of interest to you. Seek out volunteer opportunities in your community that align with your interest areas.
  • Network. The Holy Cross Alumni community is incredibly strong. Take advantage of it! Winter break is an ideal time to for you to find and reach out to Alumni in a role, company and/or field of interest to you. The Career Advisor Network and LinkedIn are two resources we encourage students to use to identify alumni to contact.
  • Consider Summer Internship Funding. If you are considering an unpaid or underpaid internship for this summer, the Center for Career Development has limited funding available. Students need to apply for funding by January 31, 2016. Winter break is a perfect time for you to work on your application materials. More information about Summer Internship Funding can be found here.

Lastly, ENJOY winter break. It’s a time when you can step away from the busy day-to- day of student life to relax and re-energize. In addition to tackling some of the items outlined above I hope you find time to slow down, enjoy a home cooked meal, and spend quality time with family and friends.

(Written by Julie Draczynski ’99)

Summer Internship Profiles: Carson Marsh’17

Full Name: Carson MarshScreen Shot 2015-12-11 at 2.20.59 PM

Internship Company: WAE/MG Advisors

Internship Position:  Analyst

Internship Location: New York, NY

While looking for your internship, what services did you use at the Center for Career Development?  

I frequently visited the Center for Career Development throughout my entire internship search process to seek advice, assistance with my resume/cover letters, and attend different functions/workshops they hosted. I specifically met with Pam Ahearn, who is the the industry based career counselor for financial services and Wall Street. Ms. Ahearn helped me figure out how to best present myself to companies I was interested in, and she also answered my questions about the general recruiting process. Ms. Ahearn and I met regularly and I was able to keep her informed throughout my internship search process.

If you want to intern on Wall Street, you have to talk to specially to Ms. Ahearn. She and the rest of the Career Development staff are really helpful in scheduling mock interviews and going over my cover letters  and resume. The entire office is fantastic and I really appreciate all of their help with my internship search.

Are you involved in any of the COES clubs and/or programs? If yes, how did they help prepare you for your internship?

Yes, I am involved with the Holy Cross Pre-Business Program. I have participated in the Summer Business Program (SBP) and Finance Bootcamp. The SBP really opened my eyes into the world of business and showed me all of the opportunities available. These programs allowed me to learn how to effectively  network with other professionals. SBP showed me the many different career paths available within business. Once I realized I wanted to go into finance, I participated in the Finance Bootcamp. Here, I was able to visit banks and network with Holy Cross alumni, who were in charge of recruiting current students for summer internships. Additionally, Finance Bootcamp allowed me to experience firsthand the different career paths within finance such as private banking, sales, and trading and investment banking.

What skills did you gain from your internship experience and how have they added to your professionalism?

My internship at WAE/MG advisors helped me improve my analytical and quantitative abilities. During my internship, I honed my  Excel skills, drafted emails, and edited marketing materials. These jobs really improved my attention to detail, and ability to execute tasks as fast as possible with no margin for error. All of these skills made me a much more attractive candidate for the bulge bracket banks during Wall St. recruiting and I highly recommend applying to WAE/MG Advisors if one is trying to best position himself to get into investment banking or any career on Wall Street.

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

When I started the internship, I was not really sure what area within finance I wanted to go into. But after working at WAE/MG Advisors, I decided that I wanted to go into investment banking. Also, being in the city presents an easy platform to network with alumni and learn about what they do. You can learn from them and that can help you decide what kind of career to pursue.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to the future intern?

This job has a lot of extremely random responsibilities and tasks so there is nothing you can do to prepare for them. Just go in with the mindset ready to do whatever it takes to get the job done and be able to multitask. Also, take advantage of being in the city and network with as many alumni as possible. This will set you up really well for Wall Street  recruiting.

Overall, what was your most exciting experience at your internship?

One time I got to sit in on a couple meetings with private equity firms. This was an incredible experience that is very hard to replicate elsewhere in business. Just watching my boss discuss business with the partners at the firm was very inspiring.

Summer Internship Profiles: Karina Camargo ’16

Full Name: Karina Sofia Camargo

Internship Company: ZinePakkarina C

Internship Position: Marketing/Journalism Intern

Internship Location: New York, New York

While looking for your internship, what services did you use at the Center for Career Development?  

As a member of SIP, I was able to receive email notifications of listings of internships offered. Since I was abroad, I was not able to physically walk into the Center, but I worked closely with much of the staff and communicated with them through email to make sure my resume and cover letters were in good shape.

Are you involved in any of the COES clubs and/or programs? If yes, how did they help prepare you for your internship?

As a first-year and sophomore, I tried my best to attend meetings of The Agency and SPIN, whenever I could. Every time I attended a meeting, especially during my freshman year, I learned something new, just because I had no idea what “networking” or “elevator pitches” were. These clubs allow you to become familiar with the basics of these industries in business and also make you aware of upcoming events and resources to then implement those skills in the real world. Sometimes they have mini-projects where you have to come up with a marketing campaign on campus and present your idea to the rest of the group. Experience with this allowed me to not be afraid at my internship to contribute my own ideas and speak up during brainstorming sessions for new products.

What skills did you gain from your internship experience and how have they added to your professionalism?

I became content marketing certified, and acquired the skills of business and blog writing. These two types of writing styles are  very different from academic writing that I tend to use more heavily as a Spanish/German double major. I was able to learn more about content/inbound marketing and how it connects brands/entertainers with their fans. Additionally, one of my biggest accomplishments was learning to navigating New York City. I am now proudly able to say that I can handle living and working in Manhattan.

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

This experience solidified my decision to pursue a career in media/entertainment, preferably with music, and specifically with a Hispanic focus. The co-founders (my bosses) have been really great and are willing to connect me with people they know who can help me, too. They have a lot of connections, including people who are heads of the Latin American divisions of other companies and they have introduced me to them, as well as have always been helpful in writing me recommendations or serving as references for any applications.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to the future intern?

One piece of advice I would give to a future intern would be to encourage them to integrate themselves into the company in any way they can. Don’t shy away from sharing your thoughts in brainstorm sessions, helping someone even if they didn’t ask you for help, or even forming a relationship with your coworkers. ZinePak is a small start-up comprised of 8 young women, so it’s easy to really get to know each one and make an effort to see how each of them contributes in a significantly different way to produce the end product. On my first day, one of my coworkers invited me to attend an event after work hours. I gladly accepted the invitation and was then able to learn about her, as well as the company in casual conversation preceding the event. When I went back at the end of the summer and asked for feedback from everyone, it turned out that this one decision of mine ended up having a positive impact on the rest of the team. My acceptance to their invitation showed them I was outgoing person and open to spend time out of the office with them.  

Overall, what was your most exciting experience at your internship?

Living in New York City was one of the most exciting parts of my internship experience! It amazes me that I was able to accomplish so much in two months. On the first day of my internship, a coworker invited me to the premiere of Magic Mike XXL. Another day at work, we all went to see Broadway in Bryant Park on our lunch break. I also won front row tickets to see a new Broadway play, Hamilton, written by and starring my favorite playwright, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Later in the summer, I was able to meet some famous people. I met one of my favorite Latin singers, Prince Royce, saw Candace Cameron (DJ Tanner on Full House) at a book signing, and attended a talk given by Salma Hayek. This summer in NYC was one of my greatest life experiences, because I was able to do things I could have never imagined.

Summer Internship Profiles: Vincent Martello’16

Full Name: Vincent Martellovinny2

Internship Company: Winthrop University Hospital

Internship Position: Clinical Observer/Research Intern

Internship Location: Mineola, NY; New York, NY

While looking for your internship, what services did you use at the Center for Career Development?  

The Center for Career Development was extremely helpful in the internship search and procurement process each and every step of the way. Other than countless trips in to revise individualized resumes and cover letters, the staff was so helpful in discussing what opportunities were best for my interests, and how I should go about communicating that to the employers. Everyone was also so instrumental in just easing the stress and anxiety that comes with the search process and the suspense one experiences before he or she would hear back from the employer.

Are you involved in any of the clubs and/or programs? If yes, how did they help prepare you for your internship?

I am part of the Pre-Health advising program. Many of the classes I’ve taken and the research experience that come with the prerequisite requirements helped with some of the science and understanding behind working in a hospital alongside physicians. However, the program really stresses the need to be assertive and network with professionals which was a skill that proved to be invaluable this summer.

The photo above was taken while Vincent was

on a medical service trip outside the country.

What skills did you gain from your internship experience and how have they added to your professionalism?

My internship experience allowed me to work on and gain a variety of professional skills. For one, communication was most important especially when dealing with physicians and supervisors on shadowing and research projects. I learned that in a fast paced environment, communication must be clear and concise in order to avoid simple mistakes, especially in dealing with patients who need direct and effective care. Furthermore, my ability to interpret data and think critically was highly tested in working with physicians to convey data in ways that extended beyond numerical representation.

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

My internship experience opened me up to new possibilities and opportunities that may prove to be exciting and rewarding career options. While reaffirming my desire to go into medicine and become a physician, I was exposed to new areas of  medicine and medical research that I never considered to be of interest to me. I’ve always conveyed interest in Sports Medicine however, I now find great excitement and interest in exploring careers in Radiology, Radiation Oncology, and even surgery.  

What is one piece of advice that you would give to the future intern?

Be open and willing to experience new things! Say YES! Half my time during my internship was spent shadowing various branches of the medical field ranging from clinical and anatomical pathology to cardiothoracic surgery. I can honestly say without doubt that my summer internship was unbelievably fulfilling because my fellow intern and I said YES to every opportunity we were offered and every new experience we were given. One can never know if a certain opportunity, job, or career choice will be the right one unless he or she tries it first.

Overall, what was your most exciting experience at your internship?

Of the many exciting opportunities I had this summer at my internship, the most exciting was working with the Chief and Medical Directors of the Radiation Oncology Departments at Winthrop. My fellow intern Nick Russo and I spent the large portion of our week working to complete a patient database for the hospital’s CyberKnife treatment program. They were so thankful for our work that the two physicians really made us feel at home in their office. They made every effort to have us observe their work and tell us every detail about their careers. They even went as far as to teach us cancer diagnosis protocols they work with and quized is along the way. They respected us and treated us as if we were regular medical school student getting ready to enter their field.