Posts Tagged ‘Career Advice’

You Have Failed

January 24th, 2018 by eklamm

By: Lisa Samaraweera

Last semester I had the pleasure of being back on campus at the College of the Holy Cross. Over the past 15 years I’ve worked sporadically in the office of Career Development, covering maternity leaves and staff transitions. I help out with resumes and mock interviews, and any questions that come up for students around the job search process.  I was recently reminded of a blog post I wrote when I was on campus two years ago, and so as not to break tradition, I leave you with a few parting words as I pack up my desk from this most recent visit. Hope to see you all again soon!

I need you to sit down for this, because this will be hard to hear.

YOU HAVE FAILED.

Yup, that’s right. No sugar coating. No you-kinda-sorta-didn’t-succeed. No blaming on something or someone else. You have failed, and you need to own it.

Now, I understand that you’ve grown up in a world where you have been told how wonderful you are every step of the way. I know you’ve been bubble wrapped in accolades, and achievements, and a culture obsessively focused on success. You have parents who have expected great things from you, and you feel the pressure to be incredible and infallible. The world looks to you to save the planet AND be as glossy as Kim Kardashian AND as genius as Mark Zuckerberg. It’s very likely that you don’t talk about the word “failure” at all – and that, my friends, is what will hold you back as you make your way into the real world.

Learning how to fail, and come out in one piece, is what makes us human. Feeling crushing defeat, experiencing gut twisting regret, losing something or someone you love to a bad decision – these are the moments where we learn who we are. Where we discover what we are made of. These failures teach us how to be better and stronger – and without these failures we NEVER grow.

As you apply for internships and jobs, someone is going to inevitably ask you: “Tell me about a time that you failed.” This will make your skin crawl, and your stomach twist into knots. I know this because I’ve watched as many of you struggle through mock interviews, uncomfortable with the idea of sharing the parts of you that are vulnerable. You wonder what people will think of you if you tell them the truth. You search your brain for an example that showcases your strength, rather than a weakness (because this is what you’ve heard is the “right” way to answer). However, what any good interviewer is hoping to hear is not how indestructible and perfect you are as you maintain an unwavering smile.  They hope to hear an answer that is authentic, accountable, and transformative. They want to know about your journey, and how you can fail and still work towards your goals. They want to know that you can fail and laugh as you brush off the debris.

Regardless of what you’ve been to told, I need you know this – It’s ok to have an epic fail every once in a while. If you’re failing, you’re learning. If you’re failing, you’re becoming a better person. When you’re asked about a time that you failed, DON’T second guess yourself. Spill the beans about dropping out of organic chem, or not making the team, or getting kicked out of a club, or disappointing your parents with a really dumb decision. DON’T tell the story and apologize for it, or point the blame to someone else. DO tell the story and share how you grew and what in your life has changed as a result.

A famous yoga guru once said, “To fall out of the posture is human, getting back into the posture is to be a yogi.” Failure itself never defines us – it’s how we live after the failure that makes us who we are.

So, go ahead and fail. Own it like a boss. Tell anyone who will listen. Your success depends on it.

Meet Alumnus Joseph McClellan, Vice President, Biosimilars Development Lead at Pfizer

January 17th, 2018 by msweeney

Name: Joseph E. McClellan

Class Year: 1995

Title: Vice President, Biosimilars Development Lead

Organization Name: Pfizer Essential Health Research and Development, Pfizer Inc.

 

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

At Pfizer, I lead the global development of a large portfolio of biosimilars (which are highly similar with respect to physiochemical characteristics, biological activity, pharmacokinetics, efficacy, and safety to originator biologic medicines) by ensuring that all development programs are (1.) aligned with Pfizer strategy, global regulatory guidances and country regulatory feedback; (2.) delivered in a timely and cost-effective manner relative to the development plans; and (3.) developed to the highest quality standards.

 

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

I spent a lot of great time with a fabulous group of roommates and friends throughout my four years at Holy Cross.  (I still do a lot with my senior-year Alumni 23 roommates, even after over 20 years post-graduation.)  Also, I participated in Honors Research in Chemistry and was a member of the Men’s Golf Team.

 

What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

I was a Chemistry major at Holy Cross with an interest in analytical chemistry and instrumentation.  After Holy Cross, I attained a Ph.D. in Chemistry and also completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship, both of which developed and evolved my knowledge of analytical chemistry and instrumentation, specifically in mass spectrometry.  To this day, I still consider myself a ‘Chemist’ and ‘Mass Spectrometrist’, even though I have not been a bench scientist in over 10 years.  All of my successes in chemistry and the biopharmaceutical industry can be traced to the foundation that I learned and developed at Holy Cross.

 

What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you? 

Directly after Holy Cross, I went to the University of Florida to pursue my Ph.D. in chemistry.  I chose UF based on a strong analytical chemistry program, which I was keenly interested in based on my Honors Research at Holy Cross.  After my Ph.D. and Postdoctoral Fellowship at Boston University School of Medicine, I began my career at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in 2002, which was acquired by Pfizer Inc. in 2009.   From the outside and in retrospect, my path looks quite calculated and plodding.  However, at each turn every decision was ‘unplanned’ as none of these schools (including Holy Cross), programs, or company was my ‘first choice’ prior to the decision being made.  They all turned out to be the absolute right, best decision for me!  I have been very fortunate in this way and think that is a lesson for folks to recognize that we are often put in opportunities that provide opportunities for success and its vitally important for each individual put forth the optimum effort to succeed.  After 15 years, I am still with the same company, though I have had many distinct roles with ever evolving responsibilities throughout my career.

 

What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

At Holy Cross, I learned about analytical chemistry, instrumentation, and mass analysis, which were the early foundation for both my Ph.D. and initial career at Pfizer.  These skills are still used today as I work with development teams and assess physiochemical data for our biosimilars programs.  More importantly, I learned how to be an individual researcher and solve complicated problems on my own at Holy Cross through the Honors Research program.  While team interactions are very important in science and the biopharmaceutical industry, the ability for a scientist to solve complicated problems by his or herself is an important part for both the scientist’s and the team’s success.

Meet Alumna Asmani Adhav ’17, Clinical Research Coordinator at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

January 17th, 2018 by eklamm
Class year: 2017
Major: Biology (with concentration in GSWS) on the Pre-Medical track
Employer: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Position: Clinical Research Coordinator- Pediatric Oncology/Hematologic Malignancy

What does your job entail?

I’m currently coordinating 14 research protocols, each of which seeks to improve survival outcomes for children with cancer. Specifically, the protocols I work on are geared towards using various therapies and techniques to tackle several different types of leukemias. There are three parts to my position: clinical interaction, regulatory organization, and data entry. Clinical interaction includes processing patient consent documents, enrolling patients onto study, following their progress through the study, communicating required research assessments to patient clinical teams, and shipping samples. Regulatory organization involves making sure that all investigators on a protocol have proper training, addressing queries that are raised by study sponsors, and ensuring that proper record-keeping is maintained throughout the study. Data entry is how all of the relevant health information for a patient on a protocol is de-identified and relayed to the study sponsor.

What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?

I have only been working in this position for 3 months now, and have already learned an enormous amount of information and medical terminology that will help me with my career ambitions moving forward. The physicians I work with on a daily basis are not only experts in their fields, but approachable and willing to teach us as much as we want to learn from them.

How did your Holy Cross education affect your career decisions?

My Holy Cross education exceptionally prepared me for this position because it taught me how to learn quickly, organize large loads of work, and form meaningful connections with people- all skills that I now use daily.

Meet Crusader Intern Alisha Collazo ’18

January 17th, 2018 by eklamm

Sales Intern at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

Tell us about where you are interning and the kind of work you are doing.

This summer I worked for Arthur J. Gallagher’s nine week sales-based internship program. Throughout the course of my internship I was able to travel from a week-long training in Chicago, to a client meeting in Manhattan. While stationed in Boston, I met with various carriers, shadowed on conference calls, and sat in on several presentations discussing all four divisions the company has to offer.

Give us an example of how you have applied your academic learnings to your internship?

A concept that was stressed to us during our internship was relationship-building and critical thinking, whether it be establishing a relationship with a prospective client or networking with fellow employees at our company. Through our courses and extracurricular activities, we were taught to be critical thinkers as well as “men and women for others.” Nonetheless, networking and relationship building were not difficult for me when beginning the program as I have already learned through our Jesuit education how to establish meaningful relationships with others. Throughout all of our courses, especially in my math courses, we are always told to “ask more,” while being pushed to think outside the box. This became a key asset to me in terms of critical and analytical thinking as I began to understand both the various plans our carriers offer and how to find the best plan at the best price for our clients.

What has surprised you about being an intern?

Definitely how hands-on my experience has been. For example, on my first client meeting I did not just shadow or take notes, but was given a speaking role at the presentation.

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

This experience greatly influenced my career goals. Throughout the program we have been given exposure to insurance, risk management services, and sales. Before beginning the program I had no idea what I wanted to do post-graduation; however, now I can say sales is definitely at the top of my list.

Any internship advice to pass on to other Holy Cross students?

Be a sponge and take everything in and definitely network. This is an opportunity to have a first-hand experience in a career you are considering or a chance to learn about a career you have never considered. Network with everyone! You never know who you are going to run into again or who may be able to help you in the future. We had an example of an intern who decided the job really wasn’t for her and wanted to pursue marketing. The following year, the company was establishing a marketing division and she was hired through the connections she maintained!

Meet Alumna Samantha Moor, Associate Manager, Global Merchandising Outlet Handbags at Coach

January 17th, 2018 by msweeney

Name: Samantha Moor

Class Year: 2015

Title: Associate Manager, Global Merchandising Outlet Handbags

Organization Name: Coach

In one sentence, what does your job entail?

Creating seasonal line assortments through a strategic and creative lens & collaborating closely with cross functional partners.

What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?  

I was always interested in fashion & the arts but I am also a very analytical and business orientated person so I wasn’t quite sure what industry I wanted to go into. While looking for internships for my rising senior year summer and talking to previous HC interns as well as alums in the industry, I applied to the Coach internship through the Holy Cross Summer Internship Program. I was studying abroad at the time so it felt harder being so disconnected to figure out my first step in my career path. Merchandising seemed like a good fit as the job is both creative and analytical and I was offered the Coach internship position. I had a great experience and worked with a great team. They asked me to come back and help during my Winter break and then offered me a full time position at the end of senior year.

What were you involved in when you were on campus?

I was involved in several clubs such as Spud, Business Program, HC for a Cure. I also interned for O’Keefe Investment management, a financial planning firm started by an HC alum in Worcester, during my senior year.

What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?

I majored in Economics and minored in Art history. I think both of them combined is very applicable to merchandising – both business/strategic and creative. Economics especially is relatable to every industry so studying economics allowed me to explore other options before choosing fashion.

What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?

Work ethic!

What advice do you have for students on campus today?

My advice for job/intern searching would be to do as much research as you can – both on the company and talking to people about their careers and experiences.  Holy Cross has an amazing network of alums and a great career service center so just take advantage of all the resources available! Other advice is work hard, stay positive, and make sure you’re doing something you’re passionate about!

How to recover after a week-long break

April 22nd, 2014 by Darien Henry

After working hard all through the semester, you’ve finally earned your 2nd week-long vacation from all things work-related. Whether your staying home spending a week with family or you’re taking a nice getaway, a break can be a great way to relax your brain and step back from work – even if only for a short while.

Now some of you may be wondering, “Why do I need recovery after a break?”

Well… after you’ve returned from a tropical vacation or spending 4-5 days in bed, you may struggle to stay focused. Thankfully, the Career Planning Center is here to share some helpful tips to get you back on track with being productive for the remainder of the year.

Here are some helpful things you may want to do so your brief but fun hiatus from responsibility is well deserved.

1. Take some time to reflect

Sure, you may have had tons of time to rest during the vacation but when’s the last time you’ve taken the time to reflect? Come back from this break and reflect on your previous experiences, accomplishments and failures. Find where you were excelling greatly and what made you happy. If you haven’t explored a career or position in something you actually enjoy doing, now’s the time to look into it. Remember, if you need help you can always stop by Hogan 203 to meet with the career counselors!

       2. Expand your Search

After reflecting, you may want to widen your range of possibilities for ideal careers/internships for you. Maybe you have already explored a few options and they haven’t panned out so well or your’e looking for a new direction. Visit this cool career site www.MyNextMove.org to help plan whats right for you. Choose from their three search categories : “I want to be a”, which lets you describe your dream career, or  “Ill know it when I see it”, which gives you over 900 career options for you to choose from and “I’m not really sure” which ask questions about the type of work you might enjoy and then suggest careers that match your interests and training. This may be a great way to find a new exciting career you’d love to enter. CLICK HERE to take O*NET Interest Profiler test now!

3. Network with your contacts!

Even before you’ve gone on vacation, you should have been networking with any career contacts you managed to grab during the semester. After returning from break you want to find any legitimate excuse to get in touch with those career networks and expand on potential internship or career opportunities. You never know what might come from sending an email!

       4.VISIT US!

Seriously! As the year ends and the weather gets nicer students tend to stay away from offices, but we want you to come on by! Hogan 203 always welcomes anyone who has a quick career question or who just wants to chat. Remember that Drop-Ins are everyday from 1:00-4:00pm and for assistance over the phone call us at 508-793-3880.

 

April Advice: You May want to Follow

April 9th, 2014 by Darien Henry

Its Finally April! Were reviewing the best advice we can offer students for the upcoming month! You better take notes here because this is PRICELESS info on how to land your next internship or job! READY? Here we go…

From the Bar to the Boardroom: How to transform your weekend outfit into your Interview outfit in MINUTES!

We know that with the incoming warm weather, you may want to go out, show some leg, and hit main street for all the local drink establishments, so lets go over some tips in case you find yourself having to recycle outfits for a boring job or internship interview.

  • Don’t bother spraying your shirts with Febreeze… employers are intrigued by the smell of booze on clothes. It shows initiative that you were even able to wake up for the interview after such an eventful night.
  • Ladies: Take a tissue & wipe off the bottom of your eyeliner. Leave on the rest and it will look freshly done!
  • Gents : The whole full suit stereotype is SO outdated… show those interviewers you have some real style with some fresh converses and jeans.

Here are some appropriate looks for interviews to let people know you’ve had a busy night!

 

The Art of making the perfect resume:

  • Make sure to choose a very elusive font, as employers like a sense of mystery to draw them in. Recommendations: Franklin Gothic Heavy (Make it BOLD!)
  • Another option is to have a friend write your resume. There’s a reason why they are your friends…they know you the best!
  • Include clever hashtags. Employers love it when you make them laugh. Ex: #ImTotatllyQualifiedForThisJob #HireMeorDIE #ImBrokeAndItsNoJoke #ImAKillerIntern
  • No need to proofread!
  • Use profanity if need be.

Spruce up your Online Profile:

Noooo we’re not talking LinkedIn here… Lets see those Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages please!

  • Upload your best beer pong match to YouTube ASAP and title it with your full name (Middle Initial Included). Employers want to see your competitive edge and you want to make it easy for them to see that. Bonus: If you are a regular champion…hashtag it on your resume! #BeerPongChamp
  • If you don’t have a Red Solo Cup in your profile picture, you’re doing it wrong. Fill it up, instagram it to your facebook page & show us your best Saturday 2am face. An employer’s dream.
  • Employers want entry-level employees who take charge of the company on Day 1, so show off your authoritative skills by throwing in some disrespectful statements on your public Facebook & Twitter profile.

Nail your Interview!

Bring a pal to that next interview, especially if you’re hungover (which you should be)!

  • Always interview in pairs just like Brennan and Dale from Step Brothers.
  • Don’t bring copies of your resume… it looks like you’re trying too hard.
  • Arrive 5-10 minutes fashionably late to the interview. If you are punctual, then employers will always expect you to be on time.
  • Have your friend do all the talking for you—employers love to get real opinions of you from your friends’ perspective prior to hiring.

Above all be sure to remember one thing! 

It’s April Fools!! 

 Yes yes, you’ve been pranked!

If none of the above statements seemed out of place, please,please, pleeease stop by the Career Planning Center for Drop in hours ASAP

(Every weekday from 1-4pm in Hogan 203) …

We have some serious work to do! #YourLost

Spring is in the air, so get ready for another awesome HC CAREER FAIR!

March 28th, 2014 by Darien Henry
Spring is in the air, which means it is time to get ready for another jam packed  HC CAREER FAIR!

This year the Career Planning Center has put together an amazing fair full of FORTY-SEVEN organizations ready to meet and greet with Holy Cross students …Yes that means YOU! SAVE THE DATE because WEDNESDAY APRIL 2nd is right around the corner, so why not take some time to find out if  you are ready?

Career fairs are a phenomenal opportunity to:
− Network with multiple organizations in a single visit.
− Demonstrate your communication & interpersonal skills.

Lets go over some helpful tips for coming prepared to a campus career fair!

1. Do your homework!

               Before the fair, you can review the online directory of employers and their job opportunities by clicking HERESpend a little time getting some background on an organization so you can ask very focused and specific questions. This will impress representatives because it shows you have a genuine interest in their organization.

2. Bring Your Resume!

              Recruiters meet with a lot of people and try as they might they cant remember them all. Once again, it’s time to dust off your resume and make sure it is in tip top condition. Make sure it is current and that it sends a clear, concise picture of who you are and what you have to offer. Bring your resume to leave with each employer to ensure that they remember you! If you need help, stop by the Career Planning Center for a same-day Drop-In Session which occurs M-F from 1:00-4:00pm.

3. Practice Marketing Yourself!

              Practice, practice, practice. Get together with a friend and practice answering basic interview questions. You should be prepared if someone asks you something like “Tell me about yourself,” or “What kind of position are you looking for?” This is why tip #1 is important because you can develop a list of questions you want to ask each organization. One of the best ways to look prepared and professional is showing up with thoughtful, intelligent questions!

4. Dress the part!

First impressions are important.When you go to the career fair on Wednesday April 2nd, you will not see people walking around in jeans and t-shirts and you don’t want to be the one person who does. A career fair is your chance to make a good first impression with a potential new employer so make sure you look well groomed, and carry your materials in a professional folder or portfolio.

5. Be confident & never leave empty handed!

             A career fair is no place to be shy and timid. The best way to make a lasting impression is by being assertive. Approach the companies that interest you, make eye contact and introduce yourself with a firm handshake. Take the initiative and tell them about yourself and why you are interested in their company. Tie in what you know about their company from your research to the type of job you are seeking. Whatever you do, don’t leave a company booth without getting a business card and company brochure. This might be the only opportunity you have to meet with the recruiter face to face and you will want his or her contact information later.

With these quick tips you’ll be sure to land a connection with a company of interest! One last thing to keep in mind is the Follow up! After the fair is over, remember to thank whoever you spoke with for taking the time to speak with you, reiterate your strengths, and let them know that you’re interested and would like to follow up in the near future.

 

OK now go out there, follow these tips and score big! 

The Dangers of Social Media: Ways to Use and not Abuse your favorite websites!

March 21st, 2014 by Darien Henry
You’ve probably heard of “social media” right? Its a buzz word that has been going around for years now after popular sites like Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and more have surfaced as avenues for people to express who they are and how they feel to others around the world. The odds are so great that I’m willing to wager that both you and I have used a social media site today or will use one within minutes of reading this!

And if we use them…GUESS WHAT?! SO DO EMPLOYERS!

“A survey commissioned by the online employment website CareerBuilder has found that 37 percent of hiring managers use social networking sites to research job applicants, with over 65 percent of that group using Facebook as their primary resource.” -huffingtonpost.com

The same survey also showed that, “only 15 percent of companies had policies in place that explicitly prohibited human resources department from using the sites as a hiring resource.”

Bottom Line:  Whether you like it or not, companies are using social networks to screen job applicants. The hirers usually use these sites in order to get a more personal view of a candidate, rather than the resume-like view they will see on LinkedIn. This means that it is important to carefully manage your image on these types of sites. Lets take a second to make sure you’re using these sites appropriately and not HURTING your chances of nailing that dream job or internship!

2 Things you want to remain aware of while using the internet in a social way…

  1. EVERYTHING IS PUBLIC!
     Remember that what you put online can be saved, traced and used against you. You should stay clear of posting the party photos from St. Patty’s weekend online if you care about a potential employer seeing them. At the very least you should be aware of your privacy settings and what you’re allowing people to access from your accounts.
  2.  Facebook & Twitter can ruin you!

    Though there are many sites online nowadays,..these are the most popular and by contrast the most dangerous! No one is trying to strip these popular social media sites of their valor, but proceed with caution. Regularly check your privacy settings and THINK before you post. On the CareerBuilder survey it was reported that 76% of employers use both of these sites to consider a candidate. Take home message: BE SMART!

Takeaway: 

Hirers are looking at the social networking profiles of candidates. This means that YOU, the  job seeker, need to have your online act in order before you begin looking for a job.

P.S: Take a look at this really easy and cool breakdown of the CareerBuilder survey results

Still interested? Check out this cool blog featured on Forbes’ website on ways to use social media to land a job. –> CLICK HERE

Spring up and Finish strong!

March 13th, 2014 by Darien Henry

Gearing up for the last run of the semester. Its March and the weather (contrary to the mini blizzard we received this morning) is turning around! So why not take the time to do some turning around of your own and make sure your’e not stuck in the winter rut? With spring around the corner, it’s a good time to do some cleaning up and reevaluating where you want to be in your career endeavors moving forward. 

Here are some quick tips to keep you ahead:

  • Research: Whether you are applying for an internship or full-time position, researching companies before you apply is essential. Many corporate websites feature a “Career” section, so take a look at what kind of positions are available and what qualifications they require. Also, check out our very own Crusader Connections to see what positions are available to you. (We post A LOT of jobs/internships for you!)
  • It’s March, Rip the RunwayNo we don’t mean the actual runway…there’s no Tyra Banks here … rather, invest in some staple business outfits so you are ready to roll for upcoming interviews or networking events. Remember that the “What not to wear ghost from our October blog post still has its eye on you, so check back to see what appropriate clothing you should have at your disposal. You want to be all set once those call backs start coming in!
  • Seniors –APPLY APPLY APPLY! Those words may have left a bad taste in your mouth that even a tasty margarita could not fix, but if you haven’t already, it’s time to start applying. As employers identify their hiring needs they will start to post opportunities! So, keep searching and sending out your resumes & cover letters! P.S. Drop in the Career Planning Center for any career-friendly advice.
  • Internship Seekers: THE TIME IS NOW! Many employers set their deadlines in March. Continue checking internship postings on the Career Center’s website. Schedule an appointment to get started or just to chat!
    • Reach out directly to companies you would like to intern for.
    • Focus on looking for smaller, more local internships.
  • Polish & PlanOne can never proofread their resume too many times. At the very least, you want to make sure to spice up your portfolio during the break. There is never a dull time to have someone else look over and help you polish up your resume/elevator pitch/interview skills. EVEN then you and a friend can exchange ideas for ways to tackle certain interview questions. Take a look at Career Builder’s challenging interview questions –>Top Interview Questions

HAVE A GREAT ST. PADDY’S DAY, HOLY CROSS!