New Series: 5 Alums, 5 Years Later

It’s insane to think that this time, five years ago, I was preparing for graduation from Northeastern University. A communications major with a duel concentration in public communication and organizational communication (back when it was still the College of Arts and Sciences), I was ready to tackle the uncertain world in front of me. Unfortunately for the class of 2009, as well as for those after, the economy had just taken a major turn for the worse, and the “Great Recession” was officially in full gear.

Clockwise: 2009 Commencement, Conference/visit to NU Seattle 2014, Red Sox playoff series game with my FIRST co-op supervisor 2014 (the perks of keeping in touch)

Clockwise: Northeastern University Commencement 2009, Conference/visit to NU Seattle 2014, Red Sox playoff series game with my FIRST co-op supervisor 2014 (the perks of keeping in touch)

If somebody were to tell me in 2009 that in 2014 I would be Assistant Director of NU Career Development and Social Media, I would have sarcastically chuckled and then reminded said person that “I was done with this place and didn’t plan on coming back any time soon”. Well, I certainly ate my words. I was officially re-enrolled as a student, yet again (yay double husky), within two years of earning my bachelors degree to work towards a master of science (which I swore I would NEVER do throughout college) in college student development and counseling. To top it all off, I now work here full time, serving students similar to myself, five years ago. My my, how the tables have turned.

A lot can happen in five years’ time, and there are lots of things I wish I had worried more about (cough-loans-cough) and others I wish I hadn’t harped on so much (I could have gone without that cut-off Abercrombie jean skirt). In the coming series, “5 Alums, 5 Years Later”, over the next five Mondays, you’ll meet five 2009 alums, all of which completed co-ops and who are working in very different industries. Hopefully their stories and words of wisdom inspire you to celebrate (even more so) what you are close to accomplishing, and embrace the sometimes, unpredictable world.

Some advice I can share, is to be flexible and open to new experiences (cliche, I know), take calculated risks, and know that it’s OK to change your mind about what you want to do. That said, be ready to do the work to make things happen. Unfortunately, there is no NEUCool for real life (so annoying right?) so work hard to establish and keep relationships with colleagues throughout your career and don’t be afraid to ask for advice and help- it pays off in the long run (trust me on this one).

Also, know that Career Development is available for you to use for the rest of your life- no joke. So if five years down the road (or one year, whatever) you’re interested in transitioning to something else, Northeastern is here to support you. Hopefully these fellow huskies inspire you to hit the ground running come May 2nd. Congrats!

Kelly Scott is Assistant Director of Career Development and Social Media Outreach at NU Career Development. A proud Gen Y and husky alum, she enjoys writing about workplace culture and social media. She also oversees The Works.

Success Tips From A Fellow International Student Employed at Aperian Global

Source: http://blog.peertransfer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/80608178-450×300.jpg

As a former international student, finding a job after graduating from Northeastern University was not easy, but definitely possible! Due to the US economy and the limit placed on visas available to foreigners, my job search required a lot of extra time and effort. I was able to find a solution to a number of challenging situations that I encountered along the way. It was undoubtedly a significant time commitment alongside my coursework; nevertheless, I learned that the more prepared you are, the higher your chances of reaching your goals!

Cultural and Language Skill Building

Tap into the knowledge of American classmates, learn from career counselors and advisors, make the most out of your co-ops, and be on top of your game when it comes to the job search, networking, preparing cover letters and resumes.

I can relate to the disadvantage many international students have of speaking English as a second language. The comfortable thing is to just hang out with other international students who share your language. Working hard to improve your English and find a fellow classmate or tutor that can help you focus on communicating orally can be key to communicating well to an interviewer in English.

Know Your Visa Status

I am a Bolivian/Chilean citizen and do not have US citizenship.  However, under the North American Free Trade Agreement, Chile is eligible for more H1B visas than citizens of other countries. This was something I mentioned to my employer.  Many countries have agreements with the USA that might work in your favor.  For example, if you are Canadian, you are eligible for a renewable work authorization in the US without costly processing.  Also, www.myvisajobs.com, Going Global, and Glassdoor.com can help you learn which companies have issued H-1B’s in the past, how many people were sponsored, post interview reviews, and provide job search information across states. If a company has sponsored in the past, chances are they may continue to do this. You must be proactive and do your research. Be sure to attend OPT sessions, plan ahead, and be able to explain your work authorization situation clearly. These are key things to be aware of.

Market Your Language Skills

Something that worked in my favor is my language skills.  In applying to ANY job, I made them realize how valuable speaking 3 languages fluently is and am learning a 4th.  Make employers view this as an asset that they can benefit from!

Something else that can work to your advantage is check and see if a company does business with your home country.  This will make it even more likely for them to hire you, especially if you have had previous work experience in that country.

Starting the Job Search

Don’t leave things for the last minute and find the time to practice interview. I made a list of everyone I knew to reach out to and I didn’t realize how important LinkedIn was until my senior year at NU was almost over! LinkedIn can help you land information interviews that can give you the info you need to thrive during your job search. Also be sure to google yourself and see what comes up- your employer will likely look you up on LinkedIn at the very least.

Know what you’re interested in and know how realistic and possible it is for you to do this. It’s better to have two-three options that seem like great fits than to have 20 other options that are not as feasible.  Additionally, I would suggest making your last semester as a senior less busy with other commitments so that you can dedicate large chunks of time for job searching and preparation.  What worked well for me was attending ALL or almost all of the Career Development events dedicated to international students, especially those dedicated to job search and interview preparation.  Also, Northeastern is constantly organizing forums with employers and career fairs that you should attend. Networking is huge!

As you apply for any job opportunity, make sure to highlight that you intend on staying at the job long-term because it is not worth it for them to invest in your staying for a short period of time and then have you go back home.

Sell your International Experience in Interviews

Always have a story of an international experience to talk about in your memory. Find a story about yourself that will highlight why your international experience will be an asset to any potential employer. Show them how you used your language abilities to help others.  For example, I found my opportunity with Aperian Global, by attending a Global Career forum after having met two associate employees of the company I work for during a study abroad trip in Switzerland. I emailed all of these contacts and I believe that having met these people was key in getting me to understand the way the company works and next steps to take to be successful.

Truly, the only major barrier for international students looking for a job after graduating is a lack of authorization to work.  Other than that, everything else is in your hands.  The most important part of it all is refining your skills so that you can impress any prospective employer and present yourself as a candidate that will create a mutually beneficial relationship between you and the employer. If I did it than you can too!

dianaDiana Zalaquett is currently Program Manager at Aperian Global in Boston since June 2012 where she serves as the  main client contact for program coordination, coordinates cross-cultural training and consulting programs, and works with Aperian Global’s Global Mobility Service. She works collaboratively with client strategy consultants and global account teams to grow client relationships. Diana has worked at Eduventures (contract/temporary associate) and as a Junior Programme Officer, Implementation Support Unit  at GICHD in Switzerland, a Teaching Assistant at the Honors Department and as a Research and Administrative Assistant at The Institute for International Urban Development. She’s a Certified Zumba Instructor and a Certified Spinning Instructor and cares about Animal Welfare, economic empowerment, and a variety of other causes. Diana graduated from Northeastern University May 2012 and speaks English, Spanish, and some French, Chinese, and Portuguese.

How One International Student Successfully Landed a Job in the US

Northeastern is special because it has a large number of international students that enrich the culture of and provide a global perspective to our campus.  However, international students sometimes express anxiety about the US job search process. “If I want to stay in the US post-graduation, what should I do to prepare and be successful in the US job search?”, is a question I consistently hear from international students.  I had the opportunity to sit down with a Northeastern alum, Henry Nsang, who hails from Cameroon, Africa, to provide insight and advice on how to successfully land a US position as an international student.  He received his BS in civil engineering and MS in Environmental engineering in 2010 and 2013, respectively, and gained employment from Boston-based construction management and consulting firm, Janey.

source: www.cbsnews.com

source: www.cbsnews.com

What do you do in your current position?

I am a project engineer at Janey, which means that I basically do a little bit of everything.  Primarily, I am in charge of cost analysis and project control.  I guess the best word to use that sums up everything I do is construction management.

How did you get that position?

Networking. I cannot emphasize networking more—make sure you leverage your network and be truthful about your international student status.  This will save the company and you a lot of time if you are just upfront about it. For my current position, Richard Harris, an assistant dean in the College of Engineering who I was able to forge a relationship with, knows my current boss. I checked out the company and was interested in it, so I applied and Mr. Harris was able to put in a good word for me.  I had three interviews with the company, and I was very open about my long-term and short-term goals.  I know that I want to gain a couple years of work experience here and then go back to Cameroon, and I think they appreciated that I was up front about that.  My co-op experience was extremely helpful in my interview since I was able to talk about my work experience and how that directly applied to the position.  I could also show that I was adaptable, since I had a background participating in clubs that focused on different things, and I could show that I could manage competing priorities appropriately.   So, I would say that gaining experience, co-ops or internships, and being parts of groups and activities are extremely important for the job search process—the more people that can vouch for you and your work, the better.

When did you bring up your international student status?

I was very straightforward and brought it up in the first interview. Integrity is something that anyone would value.  Also, the delivery of your international status to the employer is important. Don’t express it as a burden.  If you present a problem, also address a solution to the problem.  For example, I get about two years of OPT as someone who studied a discipline in a STEM field, so I let my current company know that I do not need sponsorship for at least two years during the interview.  At the end of those two years, they would be able to determine if they liked my work enough to sponsor me for an H1B.

How many jobs did you apply to?

I probably sent out 300 applications. I know that is a large number, but I made sure that I was qualified for all the jobs I sent out.  I was also looking in areas outside of Boston, which added to my number of applications. I went on about twelve interviews from 7 different companies. I made sure that my LinkedIn profile was spiffed up.  I also worked with a recruiter from Aerotek who took my resume, interviewed me, and then started to send my resume out.  I found that I got interviews from larger companies who knew about sponsoring. The smaller companies may not be aware that you don’t have to sponsor international students from the beginning.  Some people are more informed than others about H1B and OPT.

What advice do you have for international students looking to get a job in the US?

Know exactly what you want and prepare yourself to the best of your ability.  Make sure that you have applied for OPT and paid the application fee.  You don’t want to get a job offer and then realize that you can’t actually work.  Exploit every option you have—LinkedIn was a big tool for me and really supplemented my resume.  If you fill it out right and appropriately, you could get job interviews from recruiters through LinkedIn. Also, don’t let a “no” stop you.  Sometimes you get rejections, but you shouldn’t let that stop you. A rejection is just a means to an end and part of the entire process.   Make sure that you continue to send out applications, and that you match their skill set and what they’re looking for.

Ashley LoBue is a Career Advisor at Northeastern Career Development.  A Boston College graduate, Ashley has over 3 years of experience working in higher education and is a proponent for international and experiential education.

I Graduated. Now What?

image source: www.thecollegecrush.com

image source: www.thecollegecrush.com

In a recent blog featured in the Washington Post, author Dylan Matthews writes of successful do-gooders at high paying Wall Street jobs who have opted to cash in for good instead of pursuing careers for good through what he calls “earning-to-give”. Matthews highlights MIT grad Jason Trigg who spends his days writing code at a hedge fund on Wall Street; Trigg believes that he can make more of an impact on the world by donating his hard earned income to organizations that are making a real difference. “A lot of people, they want to [help] and end up in the Peace Corps and in the developing world without running water… [but] I can donate some of my time in the office and make more of a difference,” says Trigg. Arguably, Trigg may be able to give away more money in a year than most people give in their entire lives.

In my job at the Social Enterprise Institute at Northeastern University, I come across many recent grads who believe that there are only two such paths for doing good. The Bill Gates’ of the world are hard hitting tech billionaires turned philanthropists, while the John Hatches of the world are idealist Peace Corps volunteers who start their own charitable organizations. What Matthews and Triggs fail to highlight are the numerous other paths to doing good for the world – paths that don’t involve sacrifice, or pay cuts, or digging wells for poor people in Africa.

A few years ago, one of my students, Shari, graduated from Northeastern and got a high paying job at a top four accounting firm. Last year, Shari came into my office unexpectedly and updated me about her life — she moved to New York City, lives in a fabulous apartment, makes more money than she can ever spend, has no student loan debt, and has achieved the quintessential American dream in every sense. She recently completed her CPA, and has ample opportunity to grow at her firm, but she asked me, is this enough? Because being a middle manager at a great accounting firm, volunteering on the weekends, and donating money to her favorite organization wasn’t fulfilling a deeper sense of urgency. Shari was tired of doing taxes for rich people, and wanted to use her business skills and knowledge to make a real difference.

A year later, she sent me an email, subject line: Remember our Conversation in November? “The conversation I am referring to is the one where I hate my job and its killing me working there. So that’s still happening but the feeling has become more suffocating,” she wrote.

I believe the path of social entrepreneurship leads to meaningful, well-paying careers for young people who understand enterprise as the solution to the world’s most pressing social problems. They are leaving behind the concept of traditional charities and non-governmental organizations and pursuing jobs at the intersection of business and development. This past May, the SEI graduated its largest class of seniors. Since we began in 2008, our students have gone on to pursue wonderful careers in finance, accounting, investment banking, or even entrepreneurship. However, as more students graduate, I’m surprised by the number of alumni like Shari who send desperate emails one-to-two years into their careers, seeking advice and encouragement to leave their desk jobs for something else.

Then I think of our alumni who are pursuing careers in the private sector, the public sector, through fellowships and other non-traditional paths – and I am compelled to respond.

For instance, Myles worked two years at a mobile healthcare start up before he left his job, the apartment he owns, and his friends/family to live in Kenya for six months to consult for a mobile tech social enterprise through Village Capital and Frontier Markets Program. Tim could have taken a finance job anywhere, but he also chose to work at Root Capital where he analyzes the company’s lending portfolio (mostly fair-trade coffee) from the mountains of Peru.

Or take Cynthia, who also left her job at a top accountancy firm to work at New Profit Inc., a venture philanthropy fund that specializes in high impact organizations and social enterprises. Meanwhile Nele is in Kenya working at the Paradigm Project, a for-profit B-Corp that sells solar cookers to lessen the environmental impact on our world. Lucas was recently awarded a Fulbright Fellowship where he will be researching the impact of fracking on the environment in Germany. From Atlanta to Seattle, we have a number of Teach for America Corps members working in the country’s toughest schools – in fact, Serrano turned down a lucrative offer at a management consulting firm to join TFA instead.

In an otherwise tough job market and economy, our alumni inspire me. So while writing at my desk, I send Shari an encouraging email with lists upon lists of fellowship opportunities, domestic jobs, and international postings, none of which involve well intentioned voluntourists or digging wells in rural Africa. I am hopeful for her, and the many other graduates who know that earning-to-give is one path of many to meaningful, fulfilling careers that make the world a truly better place.

Esther Chou cur­rently works at the Social Enter­prise Insti­tute as the Assis­tant Direc­tor of Pro­grams. She grad­u­ated from North­east­ern Uni­ver­sity with a BA in Inter­na­tional Affairs & Eco­nom­ics and is currently pursuing an MsC in Management.  She also worked for a refugee relief orga­ni­za­tion as the Project Man­ager for their micro-finance ser­vices, help­ing to cre­ate income oppor­tu­ni­ties for rural farm­ers and micro-entre­pre­neurs. She has spent three years work­ing in the inter­na­tional devel­op­ment field in cen­tral and south­ern Africa. You can find the extended version of this post http://www.northeastern.edu/sei/2013/09/i-graduated-now-what/

 

 

 

Two Ways To Get Off To A Fast Start At Work

Set the standard! Source: tofurious.com

Set the standard!
Source: tofurious.com

The guest post for The Works was written by 2012 NU communication studies alum, Chris Garland. Since then, he’s worked as a Corporate Trainer for both Sysco Foods and Halliburton Energy Services, where he flies around the country supporting thousands of employees. His work mostly deals in Corporate Training and Change Management.  

Barely a month after graduation, I flew to the middle of nowhere Alabama – by Alabama standards – to support a local Sysco Foods’ office in implementing a new sales platform.  Did I feel ready to support and advise them?  The answer didn’t really matter.  What mattered was that I learned how to make myself a valuable resource for them.  I learned how to get off to a great start.   If I didn’t, I was nothing more than an Independent Contractor, who could easily be fired at a moment’s notice without even the requirement of a reason.

Now that I’m on my third project as a Corporate Trainer, I’ve learned just how important it is to get off to a great start at work.  The two ways I shared  can be easily adopted and used in your own careers, co-ops, and anything else you may pursue in your professional life.

#1: Set A Benchmark

We’ve all had assignments that restrict us to completing them in specific ways, i.e. 10 pages, APA format, 5 sources, 7-minute speech with a PowerPoint, rubbing your stomach and head with different hands while standing on one leg, etc.  How often have we been asked to complete an assignment with no standard way of doing it?

When you start a new job, chances are you will be asked to do tasks that have no benchmark.  Each predecessor before you probably whipped together their own version of completing whatever assigned work task, and while each version may have been completely satisfactory work, they weren’t done to the point that a standard was a set. Be the one to set that standard.

My first job after graduation I was contracted to work on a Corporate Training team with Bluewolf for Sysco Foods.  Bluewolf was finishing up a Salesforce.com implementation and my Project Manager asked me to work on a tip sheet for their new custom developed mobile version of the application.  This app would not be taught in a class like the web version, but it would be used by thousands of sales employees throughout the United States.  A simple tip sheet would have been enough to do the job, but instead, I made a full-blown user guide.  I made sure to receive feedback from employees that would use the guide as well as the developer that created the app to ensure it was not just an abundance of information thrown on a page, but something that was user friendly.  I can honestly say I put 100% into that assignment.

A couple of weeks later, I was contacted by a Bluewolf employee asking me for the non-PDF version of the guide for Bluewolf to use for two reasons.  The first one was no surprise as they wanted to use the guide as a template for future use.  The second reason was for something I did not expect.  They wanted to use the guide as an example of work that can be provided during sales meetings with new clients.

#2: Become A Subject Matter Expert

Think about some of the smartest, most insightful teachers you have ever had throughout your college career.  They challenge their classes to ask question after question and to critically think about the topic at hand.  Occasionally, the discussion reaches the inevitable point where the teacher just does not know the answer.

When you start a new job, you are bound to ask questions – I honestly don’t think there is such a thing as too many questions or stupid questions – and if you ask enough, you may eventually venture into subjects no one has the answers to.  Become the Subject Matter Expert.

I recently started a second project with Halliburton – yes, that Dick Cheney company – and from day one I was asking multiple trainers question after question to learn how the new application I would soon be training worked.  Eventually I found an area of the application that no trainers had learned how to use yet.  I made it my goal to figure out this functionality of the application, which led to me meeting with one of the developers to discuss all of the intricacies from a software standpoint and a training perspective.  Before long, I became the local Subject Matter Expert for all of the other trainers to learn about this topic.  So while I only recently joined my team, I was already able to become a valuable resource for both my colleagues as well as my project managers.

Setting a Benchmark and Becoming a Subject Matter Expert are both ways to get off to a great start in a new position.  However, when I started brainstorming and listing every single way to get off to a great start I could think of, they all had one simple thing in common.  They are all about taking the initiative.

Chris Garland graduated from Northeastern back in Spring 2012 with a Communications degree.   Since then, he’s worked as a Corporate Trainer for both Sysco Foods and Halliburton Energy Services, where he flies around the country every week to support thousands of employees in places that have ranged from Denver and Los Angeles to Des Moines, Iowa – where “I had such a great BBQ sandwich that I almost finished eating it without even realizing I didn’t put on any of the provided BBQ sauce on.” His work mostly deals in Corporate Training, Change Management, and finding cool new places in cities he’s never been to.  Reach out to him via email at garland9.c@gmail.com.

Print Isn’t Dead

source: www.mediamill.tt

source: www.mediamill.tt

This guest post for The Works was written by Erica Thompson, a recent journalism graduate from NU who is currently working as a Copy Editor at the Boston Globe.

“Print is dead,” said my journalism professor in our first lecture freshman year. “Get out while you can.”

The harsh advice wasn’t exactly how I planned to start my five years at Northeastern, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t leave a lasting impression. While print media has taken a serious hit in our primarily digital world, I’ve discovered that calling the newspaper industry “dead” is nothing but a hasty generalization.

So despite the discouraging words, I stuck with journalism, as I encourage those currently in the major to do, too. It’s tough, undoubtedly. Finding sources to contact and explaining yourself as a “student” journalist isn’t like writing a 10-page research paper or studying for an accounting exam; it’s a different kind of mental discipline.

But it was worth every 3 a.m. haze in Snell, every moment of panic that I didn’t credit a source correctly, and every snippy critique from a fellow student—not just because it made me a stronger writer (and person), but because I, along with most of my former classmates, got a job after graduation.

source: fyeahjournalismmajorcamel.tumblr.com

source: fyeahjournalismmajorcamel.tumblr.com

And it wasn’t by happenstance. I graduated Northeastern in May 2013 and, like many other journalism majors, completed three co-ops that really set the stage for my job search. While co-op provided me (as I’m sure it did for others) with experience, writing clips, and the day-to-day skills necessary to be successful in a job, the connections I made and the networking that took place during co-op were an equally large component to successfully landing interviews and actually getting a job offer.

Without a doubt, the journalism industry has definitely seen a struggle, and the number of jobs is not as high as a field like business or nursing. But as a Northeastern alumnus, having contacts through co-op is the key to getting your foot in the door.

The notion of “co-op connections” is something I only came to appreciate after I graduated, and something I wish I had been more conscious of while working. As much as the co-op department stresses the idea of networking, work becomes routine and it’s easy to forget that in six months, you won’t be sitting at that same desk, with those same people.

But being able to reach out to former colleagues, especially in a competitive field like journalism, is the difference between sending your resume into the black abyss of Mediabistro, and obtaining the direct e-mail of the hiring manager for a certain position. And, most importantly, the connections made on co-op extend beyond just the company you’ve worked for. It’s the connections current employees have with other companies, which opens up double, if not triple, the doors for post-grads.

Treasure that. It’s the most unique part of being a Husky, particularly in the field of journalism. And don’t give up on the industry. Just because it’s changing doesn’t mean it’s dead.

Erica Thompson graduated from Northeastern in May 2013 as a journalism major with a minor in public policy. She currently works as a Copy Editor at The Boston Globe, where she co-oped twice. She can be reached at erica.thompson@globe.com or on Twitter, @EricaThompson_

The DOs and DON’Ts of working in the professional world

This post was written by 2012 alum Michele Richinick who is now a digital reporter for MSNBC.com in New York City as a guest post for The Works.

Let’s face it: there are certain actions and behaviors you should and should not exhibit in the workplace. But some people just don’t know right from wrong.

1-first-job davidrjolly

Source: davidrjolly.wordpress.com

I completed three co-ops at Northeastern and have been working in New York City for the duration of my post-grad life since Commencement in May 2012. But I have been learning about the professional world since December 2008 when I began my first co-op.

I polled a few friends (most are fellow Huskies) and coworkers, and this is a compilation of our advice. I’m not saying we experienced all of the following events, but we definitely witnessed them in our respective workplaces throughout the country:

 

The Don’ts:

1. Don’t “Reply All” to an email chain. Understand the differences—and repercussions—between “Reply” and “Reply All” to avoid humiliation.

Did you really want your thoughts on the meeting going to everyone? Source: online.wsj.com

Did you really want your thoughts on the meeting going to everyone?
Source: online.wsj.com

2. Don’t have a personal conversation at your desk. Find a conference room to discuss your after-work issues that you must have with your best friend, sister, significant other, or landlord (or anyone who isn’t related to work, actually).

3. Don’t bring your personal emotions into the office. Your desk neighbor doesn’t want to hear your sob story from the weekend, so leave that at the door.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, despite how silly you think they seem. This way, you will avoid erroneously completing an entire project only to realize you did it all wrong.

5. Don’t gossip about fellow coworkers…or your boss. You’re not hurting anyone but yourself when you do. Better yet, don’t be so intolerable that people gossip about you.

6. Do not insert emoticons or multiple exclamation points (if any) into work emails. Despite how relaxed your superiors might act, always be professional.

7. Do not wear weekend attire to the office. Save the crop tops, flip-flops, and see-through shirts for the weekend. No one will take you seriously if you don’t.

8. Don’t apply for a job you don’t want. It will be a waste of time for both parties if you meet the employer for an interview and initially know you will decline the position.

9. Don’t talk back to your boss, even if there isn’t much of an age difference between you two. Hopefully you will have the chance to climb the career ladder someday. You will want people to respect you then, right?

10. Don’t forget that at work socials, you’re still at work. Be careful not to overdo it if alcohol is being served, everyone will know why you “called in sick” the next day.

11. Don’t be nervous, but also don’t overstep your boundaries. You should express your opinions, but keep them G-rated.

12. Don’t forget an umbrella. Sitting in wet clothes all day is not fun. Keeping a pair of shoes under your desk also proves helpful.

The Do’s:

1. Do arrive early. You will be remembered for answering your phone at 8:01 a.m. in a world where tardiness is common…especially in cities.

2. Do network with people outside of your cubicle. A perk of having a job at a company you appreciate is meeting other people with similar interests who share advice from their past experiences.

3. Do be willing to engage a coworker who asks for your help. Use the opportunity to stand out and share the knowledge you learned as a Husky. Don’t be annoyed by their questions.

4. Do bring in goodies. Who doesn’t love to eat? If you have free time one night, bake cookies or brownies and bring them to work. Everyone will love you.

5. Do create a proper personal email address. Depending on your profession, you will most likely have to correspond with your coworkers after work and on weekends. Replace foxychick123 with a professional username, such as your first initial and last name.

6. Do jump at the chance to complete a new task. Your coworkers likely gave it to you because they have confidence in your abilities, not because they have time to dish out so-called busy work.

7. Do be flexible. Sometimes a project calls for earlier or later hours; be OK with adjusting your schedule accordingly.

8. Do work on holidays. This might not be an issue for every profession. But if it is, you will be rewarded in the long-run for missing the family barbecue on Memorial Day. Did you really want to see Uncle Henry anyway?

9. Do keep an eye on your personal budget. Just because you have an income now

Gotta love some 2 Chainz Source: Elitedaily.com

Gotta love some 2 Chainz
Source: Elitedaily.com

doesn’t mean you should make it rain all in one place. Invest in your future.

10. Do make sure your ear buds are plugged in securely to your computer. Your coworkers don’t want to hear lyrics streaming from your 2 Chainz Pandora station.

11. Do be open-minded. In your work and in your communications.

And finally…
12. Do always wear a smile. Having a positive attitude about being at work will affect your job performance…significantly.

Michele Richinick graduated from Northeastern’s College of Arts, Media and Design in May 2012 with a journalism degree. She now works as a digital reporter for MSNBC.com in New York City. Check out her MSNBC.com author page http://tv.msnbc.com/author/michelecrichinick/  and Tweet her at @mrich1201. 

It’s been 3 hours… and I’ve been on Pinterest

You know the feeling, you have so much work to do (at work or for class) and yet you find yourself staring at the computer.  The Pinterest sirens call to you and you can’t get away, or you just keep refreshing that Twitter feed and before you know it you’re reading about Grumpy Cat’s latest adventure.  You look at the clock and somehow 3 hours went by and you’ve made no progress. You’re thinking (or whining) to yourself, “Why is my midterm tomorrow? I just need one more day.”

You: I can't escape Pinterest Grumpy Cat: Good. Source: grumpycats.com

Source: grumpycats.com

Joel Stein recently released a video for Time where he tried to be a Millennial for a day. HeJoel Stein Millennial was pretty much an epic fail, but it was definitely entertaining to watch and further proved how easily it is to get distracted. The distraction, however, doesn’t always come from the social media addiction, but rather because you’re paralyzed with so much work, completely overwhelmed and not really sure where or how to start. The result: you procrastinate on social media or analyze your fantasy team line up for the next 2 hours. I’m sure you can relate.

Many of the clients I meet with feel similarly when they’re searching for jobs.  They end up spending hours on social media or on sites like Indeed and SimplyHired, but often don’t feel like they made any progress.

Here are my 5 tips to help kick it into gear and only check Facebook 5 times in an hour as opposed to 15.

1. Make a plan.  Whether it be job searching, homework or whatever, have a schedule and a to-do list.  This will give you something concrete to follow so you don’t loose track of what you’re doing or get distracted.  Plus it’s super satisfying to check stuff off when you’re done.

2. When you turn on the computer, DO NOT OPEN GCHAT, otherwise it’s over.

3. As a matter of fact, just stay off the internet all together if you don’t need to use the internet.

4. If you have to do “research” open minimal tabs and write down the sites you want to use to help do research.  For some reason, writing things down seems more permanent, like you’re more obligated to stick to it.  It’s like when you tell somebody you’re running a 10K or going on a diet, if you don’t do what you said you would, you feel bad about yourself.  If you need to find scholarly articles, no need for Google, don’t get tempted, just go straight to http://library.northeastern.edu/

5. Give yourself a timeline, I found this to be extremely effective.  It feels like a race against time.  As a competitive person who likes to win and works well under pressure, completing something by a certain deadline feels satisfying.  If you’re super daring, tell somebody when your deadline is so they hold you accountable.  I’m a sucker for the guilt trip I guess.

For more advice, check out this great Freelance Switch article, and hopefully your next daunting project only takes you a few hours instead of a few days.

How do you stay productive?  What is the biggest distraction you encounter?

Kelly Scott is a Career Advisor at Northeastern University and social media enthusiast.  A Gen Y, she enjoys writing about workplace culture and personal online branding. For more career insight, follow/tweet her at @kellydscott4.

Get Involved Now to Get Ahead Later

Students signing up at the Student Involvement Fair during Welcome Week 2013. Photo Credit: Gabi Valladares

Students signing up at the Student Involvement Fair during Welcome Week 2013
Photo Credit: Gabi Valladares

This article was written by Gabi Valladares, a recent alumna and now Coordinator of Social Media Marketing and Virtual Engagement in the Center for Student Involvement on campus as a guest blogger for The Works.

Five years in college can sound like a lifetime to some, but it flies by when you’re on co-op, studying abroad, or participating in a dialogue.  Before you know it, you’ll be out in the “real world” and on the search for a full-time position, along with just about every other college graduate.

Fortunately, Northeastern University has over 300 student organizations that can help with your skill development and aid in preparing you for life after college. Employers value leadership roles and community involvement and look for that experience when vetting candidates. Career Services can help you highlight that experience on your resume. Here are just a few of the ways you can get involved on campus and ahead of your job market competition:

1. Take on an executive position.  

If you are involved with a student organization and feel that you’re ready to take on a leadership role, run for a position on the executive board!  This will provide you with great leadership training, which is often something employers ask about during interviews.  You will also feel more comfortable having had this experience when you’re asked to take lead on a project or partnership in the future.

2. Represent your student organization at networking and on campus events. 

The Center for Student Involvement, along with other offices and departments around campus, often host events that showcase the student organizations we have here at Northeastern University.  If you can work a few of these events into your schedule each year, we highly suggest representing your group during one of them.  This will help not only in increasing your numbers, but will also provide you with the opportunity to practice “pitching” your organization to potential members and partnering organizations.  Networking is a major part of finding a new job and connecting with those in your field, so we suggest getting some networking practice while you’re still in school.

3. Partner with other student groups and committees around campus. 

In most companies or organizations, you will be working within a team.  Whether you are a part of a small team or leading a large group, it is always important to have teamwork skills under your belt.  Sometimes, this means branching out from your typical comfort zone and connecting with other student groups that have similar missions and/or purposes.  Partnerships can be formed for any number of reasons, but we often see groups working together to co-host events.

4. Attend a conference with your student organization. 

Depending on what type of group you are involved with on campus, there could be any number of conferences or seminars that might be applicable to your organization.  Test out your leadership and networking skills by taking your organization to one of these events.  You’ll probably end up attending at least a few more of these throughout your professional career and we all know that being prepared can’t hurt!

Of course, these are only a few of the ways that your involvement with activities and student organizations can help you develop your professional skills.  Keep an open mind and always be on the lookout for experiences that will benefit you long after your college graduation.

Gabi Valladares is the Coordinator of Social Media Marketing and Virtual Engagement in the Center for Student Involvement.  As a recent Northeastern University alumna, she is ecstatic to be (once again) joining the University full-time.  To find out more about how you can get involved on campus, follow/tweet Gabi and the Center for Student Involvement on @434CSC.

Alum Advice: Create Your Own Opportunity

Image source: http://www.jeetbanerjee.com/50-great-quotes-about-entrepreneurship/

Image source: http://www.jeetbanerjee.com/50-great-quotes-about-entrepreneurship/

This guest post was written by Joe Ciccolo, a 2004 Criminal Justice graduate and an accomplished expert in building enterprise risk management functions.  He now serves as a financial regulatory consultant for various Rotary International service projects. 

There’s no question that the current employment landscape is extremely challenging for today’s job seekers. While employers have trimmed spending to the bone and large-scale layoffs have subsided, hiring remains anemic. Organizations positioned for growth are very deliberate and highly selective when it comes to interviewing and retaining candidates for employment.

This so-called “employer’s market” continues to disproportionately affect college graduates, as employers remain committed to measuring qualification in terms of years of experience. Not surprisingly, the popular refrain I hear from so many recent graduates is ‘how can I get a job that requires experience, if I can’t get any experience?’ It’s a question that I asked myself many a time while submitting 100s of applications in the months following my graduation from Northeastern in 2004. How I wish I knew then what I know!

The answer to this question is simple…create your own job. After all, experience is not the product of formal employment, but rather the demonstration of one’s ability to identify and solve problems, and effectively manage projects.

To accomplish this, I advise those I mentor to seek out and approach an organization that has a particular need that would benefit from their unique skill set. For example, the marketing graduate might begin by exploring the collateral of various non-profit and civic groups within her community. After identifying a potential need, say for example brochures for an upcoming charity golf tournament, she could then approach the group and offer to provide her expertise in exchange for formal recognition. Such an endeavor would not only provide much needed project management experience and items for her professional portfolio, but would also put her in a position to meet business owners and other influential parties. Similarly, a computer science student might offer to create a website and social media presence for a local organization in exchange for his credentials appearing at the bottom of the homepage or recognition at an upcoming fundraising dinner.

The opportunities are limitless, and applicable to all graduates irrespective of major. All it takes is individual motivation and to the willingness to put yourself out there. Non-profit and civic organizations are always looking for motivated individuals to share their vocational talents. In so doing, individuals will have the opportunity to display in demand project management and problem solving skills, while giving something back to their community.

Continued best wishes to members of the Class of 2013 and those following in their footsteps. Go Huskies!

About the author:

Joe Ciccolo graduated Magna Cum Laude from Northeastern University’s College of Criminal Justice in 2004. He’s an accomplished expert in building enterprise risk management functions, including the fraud prevention department of a publicly traded financial services firm and most recently the anti-money laundering department of a large online bank. Mr. Ciccolo is a Certified Fraud Examiner and Anti-Money Laundering Certified Associate. He serves as a financial regulatory consultant for various Rotary International service projects. 

Mr. Ciccolo can be reached via email at joeciccolo@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter: @AML_Report  

Note: Views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Ciccolo and do not necessarily represent those of his employer.