Educational background: SUNY Brockport, Communications, Class of 2011
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I took a bit of a winding road to get here, but always knew career services is eventually where I’d land. I started my career right out of undergrad working for a technology recruiting firm. It was a small start-up that allowed me to learn what I loved about recruiting and in the process, teach me a lot about myself. It was a sales role at its very core and I still credit my first boss for teaching me the sales skills that I’ve taken with me and used every day since my first day on the job.
Through my network I found a job working for Syracuse University in a student recruitment function in their study abroad office – it was here that I discovered my passion for working with students and in higher education. I made a personal move to the bay area and worked for a couple of technology companies in their HR and recruiting departments, eventually starting an intern program for one of them. Developing and nurturing that program allowed me to rediscover that I really enjoyed working with students. I knew I wanted to help them find internships and entry-level jobs. Coming from recruiting, I was always the point person among my friends and family for career and job seeking advice. Therefore, it was a natural transition into career services, and I was able to find the perfect fit here at Pitt!
What was your favorite part about working in career services?
My favorite part about working in career services is the ability for me to marry my passion for recruiting with my passion for higher ed. I am challenged professionally, the reason I always enjoyed recruiting, and I make a truly tangible difference for students. Working with students is the part of my job that gives me satisfaction. It’s neat to see my hard work recruiting and developing relationships with employers come to fruition when I hear that a student has accepted a job or internship with a company that I worked with.
What is your favorite piece of advice to give to students?
Just apply. Students are often scared off by “2-5 years of experience” when they are researching opportunities. If you’ve done an internship, that’s experience! Just because you may not have 5 years of work experience, doesn’t mean that you don’t have something to bring to the table. Students should highlight that awesome internship they did – you never know who will be looking at applications. While some companies will not consider you, many will!
There’s a big difference between counting yourself out because you feel as if you don’t have “2-5 years of experience” and a company looking for a 10 years+, senior level, industry qualified candidate. Be confident in the awesome internship you completed and be able to speak to the experiences you do have. If you’ve been an involved student on campus or held a leadership role with a student organization, that’s experience as well! Don’t count yourself out before you even apply!
What is the best advice you’ve given to or received from another career services pro?
Applying for a job is a full time job. I think sometimes that fact is overlooked or students don’t realize that. Applying for a job isn’t easy and you get out of it what you put in. If you network, do your research, network, spend the time sending out applications, network, having exploratory conversations with industry professionals and did I mention network? Then you’ll land a great gig. If you apply to one job and expect to hear back right away, you’ll be disappointed.
What industry trends are you most excited about?
Coming from the tech industry, it’s exciting to see the ever growing increase in start-up companies spanning across all industries. While there are lots of companies developing software platforms, it’s cool to see them pop up in every industry – from healthcare to higher ed. I love seeing start-ups expand from just a few programmers to industry-leading companies!
When you’re not helping students find jobs, how do you like to spend your free time?
I caught the travel bug after studying abroad in college, so I love to travel! When I am home however, I enjoy swimming, reading and as a recent transplant, exploring all that Pittsburgh has to offer! I hail from Syracuse, NY originally, so from November to March you’ll find me devoted to watching my Syracuse Orange :).
Here’s a question we love to ask everyone who visits the WayUp office – what was your favorite job in college?
My favorite job was as the News Director of our campus radio station, WBSU. While I didn’t end up in radio, it was an awesome job, great leadership experience and it’s where I met all of my friends!