Alumni Guest Post: Christine Giamattei ’10

Check out the first article in our new Alumni Guest Post series–a series of posts written by young alumni about life after Holy Cross! First up–Christine Giamattei ’10 on her transition from Holy Cross to the real world.

. . . . . . . . .

Christine Giamattei '10

When I graduated from Holy Cross in May 2010, I had a lot to look forward to.

A day before my friends and I left to celebrate the end of senior year on the Cape, I interviewed for an assistant job at a top advertising agency – what I thought was my dream job – and got the job on the spot.

What’s more, the job was in New York City, the one place I wanted to live and work after graduation. I had spent summers 2008 and 2009 interning there and, to my surprise, fell in love.

During second semester of senior year, I did everything I could to get back there. I perfected my resume, visited the Career Planning Office almost every day, e-mailed with Holy Cross alumni who worked in Marketing, Advertising, Communications, or Public Relations, wrote cover letter after cover letter, signed up for every social media site to market myself, stalked particular companies’ websites, blogs and Twitter accounts, read up on industry trends and even spent an entire family vacation preparing for a phone interview.

There was a time when I thought that nothing I had done was going to pan out and that I was the only one without a plan.

I was patient, waiting for something good to click for me.

When it did, I was ecstatic. Of course I was going to accept the offer to work at a company that could lead to great opportunities and to live in the city I loved. I knew I wouldn’t be making a lot of money, but I never thought twice about making it work financially.

I found an ideal 4-month sublet and moved down to New York City two weeks after graduation and started my job a day after.

At first, things went well. I was drawing up expense reports, maintaining my boss’s calendar, making photocopies, putting together binders – very much administrative work. It was humbling, and I didn’t mind it – I have always known I’d have to “pay my dues.” I worked with a wonderful group of people who were also recent college graduates, so the environment was fun, social and supportive. I worked hard and give it all I had.

However, I was not prepared for the bad relationship that would soon develop between my boss and me. As the administrative assistant, it was all too easy to get blamed for things that went wrong – and unfortunately, once my boss decided she didn’t like me, it was as simple as that and went downhill from there.

I never thought I’d be someone who didn’t get along with their boss, or anyone else for that matter. I love people and I’m a team player. If I stayed there, I knew my boss would make my life miserable or block me from further opportunities at the company or even fire me.

When I received an e-mail from my supervisor at my internship from the prior summer, asking if I would interview for an open position, I jumped at the chance. I had had a successful internship there and could imagine picking up right where I had left off.

I interviewed, got the offer and accepted right away. I had been earning overtime at my first job, so the salary was actually much less.

Again, I thought I’d be able to make it all work.

Right around the time I switched jobs in October 2010, I moved out of my 4-month sublet, signed a lease with one of my Holy Cross roommates and moved into a very tiny apartment on the Upper East Side. The rent was within our budget and the most bang for our buck, as far as safe areas of New York City go. The neighborhood was wonderful and I loved everything about living with a best friend and being a mile away from Central Park.

However, a few months later, I realized that I did not like my job and was not happy with my financial situation.

Graduation 2010

Very long story short from the past year: It was a good job, but it was not for me. I also never got the feeling that I had a good work-to-life balance. With more than an hour commute each way, I was always stressed out about rushing to and from work. I felt guilty that I wasn’t staying super late every night, even though I would get all of my work done and met my deadlines. I thrive on the “life” part of that balance too.

On top of being unsatisfied there, I was making very little money for the amount of work I was doing and saving none of it.

Along with rent payments each month, there were also payments to be made for my Metro card, laundry and groceries. I did a pretty good job of making ends meet and cutting out basic things like a gym membership and cable, but I was unhappy with that struggle.

This past summer, my roommate and I frequently discussed renewing our lease. For me, it was a tough decision – months and months of weighing the pros and cons. When it finally came time to decide if I would renew the lease, I realized that signing on for another year of these struggles was something I could not do.

It may have been an unconventional career move without another job lined up, but I decided to leave my job and move home. I am interviewing now, and have faith that the right opportunity will come along for me–I’m excited and feeling positive about that!

I’d love to leave you with some things to think about as you apply for jobs or secure plans for after graduation–some things I wish someone had told me when I was still in college.

–It is perfectly OK to graduate without a job or without a plan.

Since I first began working (and not loving my job), I wished someone had told me this. During senior year, jobs and after-graduation plans were hot commodities and everyone seemed competitive about them. I like to akin it to an arms race. Do not get defeated if you do not secure a job right away. The right opportunity will come your way–and the time off after graduation will allow you to think about what you really want to do.

–Do not regret the decisions you do make.

Of course, I still wonder what would have happened if I graduated without a job and moved home. I wonder if I would have had time to think about what I really wanted to do or to save money to pursue other opportunities. However, I definitely do not regret accepting the initial job offer and the past year and a half I spent living and working in New York City. I’ve learned a lot, especially about myself and the kind of career I want.

—Be resourceful.

You’ve most likely heard about the importance of networking, but I will reiterate that it is as indispensable as a good GPA on your resume and the internships under your belt. I got set up with both jobs I’ve had though Holy Cross alumni. Event if it is just to start a conversation or to look for advice, send e-mails to alums! Beyond networking, do everything you can to be the ideal candidate in whatever industry you are interested in. For me, that meant launching my running and healthy living blog to show my writing skills and interest in fitness, social media and communications. Also, never think that you “won’t” get something. There are jobs out there and positions to be filled–so always take the chance and apply!

—Spend time to think about what you really want to do.

Brainstorm about positions and career paths. Figure out what you are good at and are passionate about. Listen to people, ask questions and make lists of pro’s and con’s. Don’t think that you have to go into a particular industry just because you had a similar internship. Consider opportunities like graduate school and teaching fellowships.

—Consider your finances.

Unfortunately, promising yourself that you will make it work is not enough. Things always end up costing more than you initially figure.  Now I am way more realistic about what I can and cannot afford than when I first graduated. Know that it is okay to pass on opportunities and invitations and that saving money is a good ting. Considering your finances may be the hardest thing you’ll have to do after graduated, but it is also the smartest and most mature.

—Enjoy your life to the fullest.

Life does go on after graduation and I promise you, you’ll enjoy it! Keep in touch with Holy Cross friends, make new friends at work and in your city, pursue a hobby, challenge yourself with some task. Though I have not had the best experiences with jobs so far, I am very happy with my life outside of work and who I’ve become.

I hope my story and experiences in the year and a half that has passed since I graduated from Holy Cross have helped you in some way.

Please let me know if you have any questions for me. I can be reached by e-mail at:

Warning! Don’t wait for a better economy to start your career

We all know it’s a crappy situation for job and internship searching out there; unemployment is up, the market just dropped again, and everyone is feeling the financial pinch.

It’s easy to throw in the towel and submit to a less-than job opportunity to scrape by for the next few years, but why settle? That’s the question Ladan Nekoomaram poses to college seniors.

Check out her piece, “Why ‘Waiting it Out’ Does No One Any Good: Today’s New Class of Workers Must Fight for the American Dream” on HuffPost College.

. . . . .

In over 9 percent unemployment and graduations after graduations with more students clueless about what they’re going to do next, people in my generation have started giving up. We’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on educations that were supposed to give us job security and help us jump-start the adulthood we feared and worked relentlessly for the majority of our young lives. Instead, many of us recent graduates have pushed the pause button and gotten comfortable not really moving forward, taking jobs like waitressing or at a bookstore, and living at home with the folks until the economy takes a turn. A recent New York Times article gave us the name “Generation Limbo,”– a group of well-educated, broke 20-somethings who have lost hope in the American dream, and instead of fighting for it, have decided to be victims.

As the article cites, almost 15 percent of grads who earned their degrees between 2006-2010 are still looking for full-time jobs. This bleak outlook reflects unemployment seen in other age groups and has led to a general acceptance with second best. In a climate where lawyers can’t even get jobs, it’s perfectly understandable that my fellow limbo-ers have become discouraged. Not only are more people becoming okay with giving up their dreams, they are letting it last beyond what they claimed to be temporary and somehow “for now” turns into their 30s and beyond.

The feature cites a number of cases where these recent grads have taken up odd jobs, joined bands, traveled, and lived at home at the expense of their parents. While touring through Europe, playing guitar at coffee shops, not having to pay rent, and picking up unrelated jobs may sound romantic for your quarter-life crises, most of the time they end up becoming excuses. You end up right where you started after graduation and a few years behind others in your field who are getting ahead. Especially in an economy like this one, it’s time to wake up from the dream that your “real” life is waiting for you when you’re finally mature enough to start it.

One of the main reasons Generation Limbo has come to accept this alternative lifestyle is because they feel that they have plenty of time to get serious when the mood strikes, and in the meantime, someone will take care of them. And when they fall behind in saving for the future, someone will pick up the lag. This attitude of dependence and safety will not produce tomorrow’s innovators and risk-takers that will get the US economy up and running again. And if more people wait to get their lives started, it will take longer for people to make money, get promotions, and start families for our future generation of workers. Fostering a culture of dependence — one that doesn’t believe self-made success is the best way to achieve your goals — will reverberate throughout the future economy.

Today’s young adults can do better. Those who have given it their all and tried their best to make it in a tough job market will eventually achieve their goals. How do I know this? Because I believe in the opportunity of the American dream. Don’t be afraid, don’t make excuses, and don’t adopt the attitude that life can wait. The culture of dependence is not what makes this country strong and it will not sustain a prosperous future.

(Original source.)


Fall Career Fair Employer List

The Fall Career Fair is next week. Want to know who’s going to be there? Check out the following list of employers, read up on your favorites and be there next Wednesday!

Alumni Guest Post: Succeeding at Your Summer Internship

By now many of us are quickly approaching the halfway point of our summer internships–an appropriate time to look back at what we’ve learned in the past five weeks and to look ahead to what we want to accomplish before the end of August. To give some guidance as to how to make the most out of these ten weeks, look no further than HC 2010 grad Christine Giamattei whose blog is a great look into young professional life!

Giamattei’s tips on succeeding at your summer internship are sure to win you some positive evaluations from your managers and ensure you get the most out of your experience. Enjoy!


It’s internship season in New York City! This year’s best and brightest college kids have made their way to the Big Apple and are flooding the subways, sidewalks, and standard intern bars like Turtle Bay and The Saloon.

These days, securing an internship and having a successful summer in an office environment is an INDISPENSABLE aspect of a resume and college career. An internship will not only allow you to explore potential careers and hone organization, time management, and interpersonal skills, but will give you a competitive edge when applying for real deal jobs senior year. Potential employers love college kids with valuable experience, and it gives you a lot to talk about on a resume, cover letter, phone chat, and in-person interview.

look this cool and confident at your internship | via

Though I am no expert on internships, I did have two successful internship experiences in NYC in 2008 and 2009 (editor’s note: read about Giamattei’s SIP experience here!) and as a result was confident when applying for jobs, securing one right before graduation last year. There are two interns in my office this year… and it is so strange to be on the other side, giving them assignments and managing their projects.

It has given me a whole new perspective on internships… and especially how to stand out at your internship. Because… if you go through the trials of finding an internship, interviewing, spending some $$$ to live and work in a city for the summer, and commuting to and from your internship each day… you might as well give it all you’ve got. And honestly, it will not work to your advantage unless you do it right.

Right? Right.

So from my own time as a little intern in NYC… to now… with my own interns (uh, since when did I kindasorta grow up?)… here’s my top 5.

1) Do It Right the First Time. Double- and triple-check your work. Even if it’s just sending a simple e-mail to your supervisor. Even if it means taking a little extra time to turn something in. Follow directions to a T, reread what you wrote for correct grammar and punctuation, keep it as organized and concise as possible. If you’re not sure about something, it does not hurt to ask before you submit the work for review.

2) Write Well. I work in Marketing and Public Relations, so this is a skill that is extremely important to this industry… but it certainly goes a long way in other industries as well. Believe me, people will quickly notice if you are a good writer… and just as quickly realize if you do not take it seriously.

3) Volunteer For More Projects. It looks incredibly impressive and it will help you grow. Summer interns are a blessing for offices everywhere. If your supervisor seems stressed, offer to chip in and take some of the burden off of him or her. Even if that means working while commuting, coming into the office early, and leaving late. Of course, don’t get over-ambitious… but tap into those time management skills to get it all done!

4) Smile and Be Cheery. No one wants a slug for an intern! We want upbeat, positive college kids who are excited about the tasks they are given, no matter how small (and I promise even the stuff that seems “small” is big).

5) Share Your Ideas. Seriously! Speak up. The twenty-something generation is where it’s at. Everyday we move culture by thinking creatively, sharing our ideas, and working to put ideas into action. Just look at Mark Zuckerberg or David Karp, the founder of Tumblr. It may seem intimidating and your idea may be shut down or shelved… but you will be remembered for sharing your passions and insights.

(Originally posted on bun&borough on June 23, 2011. See full post here.)

Internship 911: How to Dress Office-Appropriate in the Summer

It can be difficult to dress appropriately for the office while staying (and looking) cool. You may be contending with a variety of climates: heat and humidity on your commute on the subway, and an arctic chill of the AC in the cubical.

If you’re looking for tips for how to pull together an office-approrpirate wardrobe, check out the following article from And let us know how you’ve handled summer dressing conundum! We’d love to hear your tips!

Remember this fashion faux pax? Flip flops are a DON’T in business and fancy settings!

Dressing for summer in the office can be tough. Ninety-degree weather and a suit jacket don’t exactly mix, but neither do guys in shorts and corporate boardrooms. Not to mention the fact that, at any given point during the summer, it’s about 40 degrees cooler in the average office building than it is outside.

But it is possible to create a summer work wardrobe that’s comfortable yet professional, and cool yet collected. Here’s how.

1. No flip flops: Ladies, this faux-pas is typically committed by you, so listen up: “Flip flops are beach wear which transpired into ‘commuter-wear’ and then slowly into office wear,” says Lizandra Vega, author of “The Image of Success: Make a Great Impression and Land the Job You Want.”

Not only do they look unprofessional, but their namesake “flip-flop” noise is an easy way to drive your co-workers nuts every time you walk by their desks, so opt for strappy sandals, espadrilles or ballet flats instead.

2. Choose light colors: “Lighter color garments help you keep cool during hot summer months,” Vega says. “Dark colors absorb heat, while light colors reflect heat.” That said; make sure the color isn’t too light. See below.

3. No peep shows: Summer clothing is often made of lightweight, lightly colored fabric. This can make for a comfortable commute, but it can also make for awkward over exposure. “Avoid apparel in fabrics that are so lightweight that they are see-through,” Vega says.

4. Wear an undershirt: It may seem counter-intuitive to add an extra layer when it’s hot out, but (men especially), if you don’t already wear an undershirt, you might want to start now. The extra layer will help absorb sweat during a mid-summer commute.

“Wearing a cotton undershirt actually helps men feel cooler as it will absorb perspiration,” Vega says. “[Plus],if a lighter fabric shirt is chosen, the undershirt will prevent it from being see-through.”

5. For women, dresses are best: Women are at a serious advantage when it comes to dressing for summer at the office for one simple reason: They can wear dresses.

“Dresses are a great option because it avoids having to wear a jacket,” Vega says. “A wrap dress, a sheath or shift dress are appropriate options.”

If you will be forgoing the jacket, look for styles with short or three-quarter length sleeves, even sleeveless if you feel comfortable. Tank-style dresses are too casual for the office without a jacket or cardigan, though.

Even Gossip Girls know
 the value of a good blazer!

 6. Keep an extra layer at work: Women can keep a wrap or lightweight, neutral-colored cardigan in their desks in case the air conditioning is kicked into overdrive. Men can do the same with a blazer or sweater.

(Full article Via.)

Networking: Where to begin?

This guest post comes from Julie Draczynski, an alumna of Holy Cross and HR veteran.
She knows the value of shaking hands and working a room, and we’re fortunate enough to learn from her wisdom!

“How have you incorporated networking into your job search?”

Ah, the fated question that so many people shy away from. Networking doesn’t have to be difficult or scary if you know how to approach it in a way that works best for you. As a Holy Cross Alumna (’99), I remember what it felt like when graduation was around the corner and I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do once I left the hill. Then, as someone who just left a company after 11 years to try something different, I know firsthand how important networking is as you discover the best job fit.

“So what is networking, really?”

Networking IS a process of building relationships with people who can provide you with information, advice and referrals to increase your visibility in the job market.

Networking IS NOT contacting people to ask for a specific job within a company.

As a Holy Cross student about to enter the job market, you should be using two key resources to network: Holy Cross Alumni &  Connect with Holy Cross Alumni through the Alumni Online Community and the Career Advisor Network (CAN), which consists of Alumni who have volunteered to meet with students to discuss their careers. Talk with Alumni who are in a role/industry that interests you or are at a company that you are targeting. My general sense is that alumni are proud to be Holy Cross graduates; they’ve been there and are happy to chat with a soon-to-be fellow Holy Cross grad. is a great networking tool that will help you broaden your network of contacts.  The “LinkedIn Tips” document below will outline how to set up your profile and grow your connections. Use the LinkedIn search tools to search for specific jobs (yes, jobs are posted on LinkedIn and recruiters use that site to search for potential candidates) and to research companies that you may be interested in. When you see a job you are interested in, look at any current employees you may be connected to (1st or 2nd degree). Reach out to those connections and ask for an informational meeting to learn more about the company, the role you’re interested in, if appropriate, etc…

Networking is an essential part of the job search process. It will help you better define what you are and are not looking for in a job and/or company. It can lead to job opportunities that are the right fit for you!

So, have you reached out to someone yet today?

Additional Resources on Networking:

Networking Strategies and Tips

CAREER EXPO for People with Disabilities, 4/29

Urgent Message to all Job Seekers with disabilities,

There will be a career fair hosted by CAREERS & the disABLED Magazine on Friday, April 29th from 10 am to 3 pm at the Sheraton Boston Hotel. If you have not yet pre-registered for the upcoming Boston Career Expo for People with disabilities, please do it today. Attending this career fair, will give you the opportunity to meet face- to- face with recruiters! This event is free to attend.

Your Career depends on it!

CAREERS & the disABLED Magazine’s
CAREER EXPO for People with Disabilities


FRIDAY, APRIL 29, 2011
10 am -3 pm)
Sheraton Boston Hotel

39 Dalton Street
, Boston, MA 02199


By Pre-registering and attaching your resume you will ensure that your resume appears on a disk that is given to all recruiters at the career expo and you will be able to enter the career expo faster than those who do not register online.
•You must be dressed in business attire when attending the Career Expo.
•Bring numerous, printed copies of your résumé to give to potential employers.
•Must be at least 18 years of age

Some of the many companies and government agencies that will be recruiting at this event:
Vertex Pharmaceuticals, The Walt Disney Company, ESPN, Inc., (Bronze Sponsor), Osram Sylvania, Prudential, Raytheon (Silver Sponsor), Wells Fargo Bank (Bronze Sponsor), General Dynamics-Electric Boat, IRS, Liberty Mutual, Lockheed Martin (Awards Sponsor), Amgen, Greater Boston Employment Collaborative, Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Massachusetts (Bronze Sponsor), National Security Agency, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, Perkins School for the Blind, , MIT Lincoln Labs, National Credit Union, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Social Security Administration, State Street Bank,U.S. Dept. of State, U.S. Secret Service, Wellpoint, Transportation Security Administration, Army Contract Command, Commonwealth of Massachussets, Defense Contract Management Agency, The Veterans Administration, NAVAIR, Children’s Hospital of Boston, and many more.

Attend a free seminar at the career expo!
“How To Work A Career Expo As A Jobseeker”
Presented By: A nationally recognized career advice and recruiting expert
Hosted By: Osram Sylvania
The Corporate Process- Applicant Systems
Getting Ready: What to do before a career expo
The handshake: Everyone thinks theirs if fine
Career fair dynamics for 2011
Do a reconnaissance mission
Booth Speech
The appraoch
Some mistakes to avoid
After the fair

Win an iTunes gift card!

Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday!

Now that Rebecca Black is going to be stuck in your head every Friday for the rest of your life, you might as well buy the song . . .  with a free iTunes gift card!

From now til Monday 4/18

like Career Planning on Facebook

to enter to win a $25 iTunes gift card.

The fine print: You must be a current Holy Cross student. You may not be an employee of the Career Planning Center.   You must like Career Planning before the 11:59 pm on Monday, April 18 to enter.  Winner will be chosen at random and will be announced on Tuesday, April 19.

What are you waiting for? It’s fun, fun, fun, fun, fun…

10 Questions to Close an Interview

“So, do you have any questions for us?”

Ah, the obligatory-end-of-interview questions.  While it seems simple and unobtrusive, don’t be fooled. Even though the formal interview questions may be over, this is your opportunity to show your interviewer you care enough to learn more about the company or position. According to the Interviewing Guide created by Career Planning, you should prepare 3-5 questions ahead of time.

Some Cardinal Rules:

DO NOT ask nothing. Even if you’ve been to a million and one networking events and feel you’ve exhausted your list of questions, ask one of them again to gain a new perspective. Ask something. Anything. Not asking a question makes you look cocky–and that’s not going to win you any brownie points. See the list below for some inspiration.

DO NOT ask about salary, vacation, benefits, etc.  If hired, you’ll have plenty of time to find out.

DO NOT ask questions whose answers can be easily found out by doing basic online research on the organization.  Don’t demonstrate your lack of preparation with a question to which you should know the answer.

Some Sample Questions:

1. What are some of the projects interns have worked on in the past?

2. What kinds of opportunities are there to receive feedback from supervisors?

3. Is there a training program? How long is it? What sorts of things will I learn?

4. Questions about transportation–if you don’t have a car you’ll need to know if there’s public transportation or a car pool system available.

5. What goals does the company have/projects the company is working on this summer/semester? How do you see my role in those?

6. If Since you’ve read up on the company, you may have follow up questions on an article you read. “I read in XX that Company is expanding XX project; would there be an opportunity to work with this project during my internship?”

7.  Could you elaborate on your job? What are you responsibilities? etc.  If your interviewer works in a career field or department which you feel drawn to this could be especially interesting, and you may want to ask other questions about their education and training.

8.  What do you most enjoy/value about working for Company?

9. Are there any technical skills or other specific knowledge needed or recommended for the job (other than listed in course description)? Is there an opportunity for some training on site?

10.  And everyone’s favorite… What is your time frame for making decisions?

Additional Resources on Interviewing:

Interviewing Guide
Interviewing for Shy People
Set up a mock interview with Career Planning; call 508-793-3880

Decision Time!

Lately, it seems a large portion of my conversations with my peers revolves around summer plans — What internships are you applying to? How are interviews going? Which company do you like best?

Why all the hype? Summer internships are one of the best ways to build your resume and define your future career path while at HC. According to Pam Ahearn, Director of the Summer Internship Program (SIP), “Internships give students an opportunity to ‘try out’ an industry to see if it’s a fit for a future career path and allow students to gain many skills which are transferable to future employers.” Also, companies prioritize students with internship experience for full-time employment. Some companies, says Ahearn, even use summer internship programs as recruiting tools for full-time employees.

Speaking from recent experience, I know how intimidating the application process can be and I am very thankful for the Career Planning staff’s resume and cover letter-editing prowesses!

But how do you choose an internship to apply to? Or, if you’re so lucky to receive multiple offers, how do you choose which one to take?

While it’s exciting to have a variety of interesting possibilities, it can be equally overwhelming. And while Career Planning will discuss the options with you, it’s ultimately your decision. After all, it’s you who will be at the office analyzing stocks/crafting press releases/designing fliers/or doing whatever it is that you want to do every day.

One valuable resource for sorting through options is the expertise of other students. I’ve found it helpful to peruse former summer interns’ blogs to get a feel for what the experience may be like. While companies often have their own blogs–which are worth reading as well–there is something particularly salient about an HC intern writing about his or her experience. Their stories allow me to get a real feel for the overall experience both within and outside the internship.

Trying to sort out your options? Check out the following Summer Internship Blogs:

Erin Carpenter ’11 at Starkman @ Associates
Elisa Di Ruggiero ’11 at the Avon Foundation
Christine Giamatti
’10 at Brooklyn Industries
Alice Simcoe-Matthews
’10 at Autism Speaks
Ryan Wiik ’09 at ScaleDB

Related Resoures:
Summer Internship Program