More Than Just a Pay Check

More than just a paycheck-01By Emilee Smith G’16

As a student, it’s sometimes hard to imagine that school will end and that you will in fact have a job. Whether it’s a job or internship though, there are a lot of things to consider before agreeing to an employment position.

While our first thought tends to revolve around the pay involved, there are a lot of other factors to consider that should play a part in your decision-making process.

To name a few…

  1. Benefits. If you are accepting a full-time job, then you want to inquire about benefits including (but not excluded to) insurance packages, retirement, vacation days and opportunities for development, such as workshops and seminars.
  1. Personal Development. Aside from inquiring about workshops and seminars, ask yourself, will this job challenge me and enhance my career? One way to ensure a strong career trajectory is by constantly gaining new and challenging experiences. It’s OK to have 10 different jobs, but it’s not necessarily OK to work the same job 10 times.
  1. Flexibility. Assess how flexible your employer is in regards to sick days and unexpected emergencies. Also, if you are planning to have a child in the foreseeable future, ask about maternity and paternity leave.
  1. Workplace Culture. When you are interviewing with different organizations, take in your surroundings. Is this a place you can see yourself working for? Consider the atmosphere as well the way employees are interacting with one another. Also consider the company values and whether or not they align with your own.

There are many other factors that go in to accepting a job, or not. When you begin to evaluate your options and job offers ask yourself, “what’s important to me?”

These are just some of the items that you may find important in your decision about a company and job. To discuss others, call us at 315-443-3616 to schedule an appointment. 

Your Summer Reading List

Recommended Reads

By Emilee Smith G’16

Learning is not limited to inside the classroom, and summer break is a great way to catch up on some self-learning and development. We all know that reading is a great way to expand your knowledge, and reading the right materials can also help you in your career. Leadership books, in particular, can inspire you to pursue your dreams and provide advice on how to do so.

Below are a few leadership books to consider:

1. “Lean in For Graduates” by Sheryl Sandberg

After her wildly popular book “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead,” Sandberg wrote this newer publication for recent college graduates. Aimed at young professionals, this book provides advice on resumes, interviewing, salary negotiation and how to get the most out of your first job.

2. “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcom Gladwell

An author of modern classics, Gladwell uses this book to influence the way you view success. Analyzing what causes people to be successful, this book can be enjoyed and appreciated by students and seasoned professionals alike.

 3.“The Wisdom of Walt: Leadership Lessons from the Happiest Place on Earth” by Jeffrey A. Barnes

Written by a college professor, this book analyzes the practices and wisdom of Walt Disney and teaches readers how to emulate Walt as a means for success. This book is especially useful for communications majors and professionals, who can learn from Walt’s storytelling techniques and ability to engage audiences.

Summer is the best time to catch up on some reading.  So take some time over the next few months to check out your local library, grab a cup of coffee and improve your career from the comfort of your couch! What books do you recommend for advancing your career?

10 Ways Summer Can Help You In Your Career

How to be productive this summer

By Emilee Smith G’16

School is out for summer, yippee! But just because classes are finished and the sun is shining doesn’t mean you should take a three-month break from productivity. These summer months are a great time to get ahead for the coming academic year and gain experiences for your future career. Here’s 10 ways you can be productive this summer:

  1. Work in your field. Whether it’s a paying job, internship or volunteer opportunity, working in your field is the best thing you can do for your career.
  2. Didn’t get a job or internship in your field? No worries! Use your free time to brush up on skills related to your intended profession. If you are a writer, write. If you’re an artist, make art. If you’re a history major? Read and visit museums. No matter what your field is, there are always ways for you to improve upon your knowledge and add to your portfolio.
  3. Revise your resume. Hopefully this past year you spent some time getting feedback from professors and career counselors on ways to improve your resume. Take time over the summer to make this document even stronger.
  4. Set up informational interviews. Politely reach out to people in your industry and ask if you can have informational interviews with them. This is a great way to make connections and also learn more about companies you think you might be interested in.
  5. Volunteering with places you care about is a great way to build connections with organizations as well as the individuals who work for them. Also, volunteer experience always looks great to future employers.
  6. Utilize LinkedIn. Aside from updating your profile, use LinkedIn to find alumni and other people in your industry.
  7. Read your textbooks. If you will be returning for the 2016-2017 academic year, start reading your textbooks early. This is a great way to get ahead and be prepared for your fall courses. It will also make your homework load more manageable when you return.
  8. Make a 5-year plan. If you still have multiple years of college left, spend time figuring out when you will be taking your required courses. If you have already done this, work on determining where you think you would like to begin your career and how you plan on developing past initial employment.
  9. Start a blog. Blogging is a great way to improve your writing and social media skills and also looks great on a resume. Employers love seeing that you are able to create and deliver content on a regular basis, so start a blog about something you love!
  10. If you can afford to, spend time traveling. Doing so will not only broaden your knowledge but can also help you determine where you would like to be geographically after graduation.

Even if you didn’t get your dream job this summer, there is no reason to fret! There are still plenty of things that you can do to prepare for this coming year and ultimately your future career.

Career Services is open all summer! Don’t wait until the fall to get career help. You can meet with a career counselor over the phone or via Skype to discuss career-related topics. To set up an appointment, call 315-443-3616!

How to Stay in Touch as an Alumnus

Congrats on graduatingBy Emilee Smith G’16 and Jenna Turman

Congratulations, Class of 2016! The great thing about Career Services and Syracuse University is that our assistance doesn’t discontinue once you graduate. Our guidance, resources and time will always remain available to you, even after you walk across the stage at graduation.

Here are a few ways to keep in touch with us after you graduate…

  1. Update your contact information! Syracuse University will contact you about events in your area based on the information we have. If your address says Syracuse but you live in Washington, DC, you won’t hear about all of the events occurring in that city. Make sure to update your information each time you move to stay in touch.
  2. Check out the alumni club in your area. There are over 70 clubs in many cities throughout the world.
  3. Participate in the Alumni Webinar Series, a monthly professional and personal develop webinar presented by alumni experts in various topics. Check out the Career Services website, and follow along on social media for updates and schedules.
  4. Stay virtually connected! Follow @SUAlums on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for up-to-date information. Also, check out @WorkingOrange to job shadow other alumni. As part of Generation Orange, graduates from the last 10 years, you have even more ways to stay connected. Follow @SUGenOrange on Twitter.

So whether you are seeking counsel immediately following graduation or considering a career change later, know that our doors are always open. Aside from stopping by in person, you can call us at 315.443.3616, to set up a phone or Skype appointment.

Graduation and the Road Ahead

The road ahead

By Emilee Smith G’16

The time has come. After four years of waking up early for classes, cramming for tests and pulling all-nighters, graduation has happened! These years have been some of the most stressful but also some of the most rewarding in your life. In four short years you have underwent a journey of self-discovery, made valuable connections, and started down the path to your career.

So with graduation just passed, what should you be doing before you officially leave college behind?  Here are a few ideas…

  1. Keep networking. While this is great advice for anyone, you should especially keep networking if you have not yet secured a job or internship. The more you grow your network, the more likely you are to learn about job and internship opportunities.
  2. Keep in touch. Just because you are leaving college behind doesn’t mean you should leave your connections behind. Whether it’s friends or professors or Career Services, be sure to keep in touch with all of the people you have met and bonded with during your time here.
  3. Keep building your portfolio. Review your portfolio and make sure all of your best work is included. Have yet to start building a portfolio? Check out this article to learn where you can begin.

But aside from the habits you already know about, it’s now time to look to the future and adapt habits and practices pertinent to college graduates. These tips should get you started:

  1. Get qualified. If your career or chosen profession requires further education or certification, be sure to register for the given exams or certification programs.
  2. Join professional organizations. Does your profession have a professional society or organization that you can join? If so, research what you need to do in order to become a member.
  3. Understand your finances. In six months you will have to begin making payments on your student loans. Visit the websites of your student loan providers and gain an understanding of what you will be expected to pay each month. Looking at the numbers will help you determine a payment plan best for you.

 Although it can all seem a little overwhelming, just remember: you are a brand new Syracuse University graduate. The world is full of opportunities and you are more than prepared for whatever the career world throws your way. Be sure to celebrate, and prepare for the road ahead.

We’re here for you after you graduate as long as you can complete a phone or Skype appointment! Call 315-443-3616 to set up an appointment.

Assembling Your Portfolio

Building a portfolio

By Emilee Smith G’16

Portfolios come in all shapes and sizes. Some are digital and display designs and videos while others are presented on paper, featuring art projects or written music compositions. Looking past the differing displays and varying content, there are several pieces that every portfolio should contain.

Whether you are an art major or aspiring teacher, start thinking about how you can fill these categories and begin collecting materials. Some essential pieces include:

  1. Your resume. The resume acts as a summary and is a great way to introduce potential employers to your work and accomplishments. It sets up the experience of looking through the rest of your portfolio.
  2. Examples of your work. No matter what your major is, you already possess examples of your work. These can be projects completed in school, work produced for an internship or job or even work that you have done on your own! Your field of study will most likely dictate the format of these examples. (After all, it makes sense that an aspiring video producer would have a digital portfolio, right?)
  3. If you have certifications related to your field then you should definitely include them in your portfolio. Not sure what certificates you should pursue? Ask your professors or schedule a meeting with a career counselor!
  4. Letters of Recommendation. Letters of recommendation act as great vouchers for your skill sets and work ethic. Reach out to employers and professors, both past and present, and ask them (politely) if they wouldn’t mind writing a letter for you.
  5. Awards and Publications. When it comes to awards and publications related to your field then you should absolutely showcase them in your portfolio. This will help employers recognize just how fantastic you are!

While no two portfolios look the same, all of the strongest will contain these five categories. By gradually collecting and assembling these pieces, you will ensure that you have a spectacular showcase by graduation.

So if you haven’t already, get started right away! Opportunities can arise at any moment and you may need a portfolio sooner than you think.

You have a friend in me: the importance of mentors

Quote about mentoring on image of girl staring into distance

By Vanessa Salman ’17

In any group setting, whether it be your sorority, work, or an internship, there is always going to be someone there with more experience, more exposure, and knowledge than you. I can’t stress enough how important it is to lean on these people for guidance.

It’s okay to ask questions or for advice. It does not show weakness, but rather an eagerness to learn and grow. Now, it’s one thing to ask questions about every menial task, however you should not be afraid to reach out to someone and seek their input. Before seeking help, come up with a few potential solutions to the issue at hand. If you’re still stuck, fear not, as your mentor is there to lead you to the light at the end of the tunnel.

It is essential to find a mentor-like figure, especially in a professional setting. They have so much experience and knowledge to lend you, despite how new they are in their career. Mentors are able to provide career and academic advice, provide insight into their journey to where they are, and be a sounding board for you to express your future goals and plans.

When you find this person in your place of work or internship, it enriches your experience. Two summers ago, I interned in a prestigious congressional office in Washington, DC. From the start, our Staff Assistant took me under her wing. She helped me navigate through the three House Office Buildings, offered me support, and was always willing to lend me advice. She and I shared similar long-term career goals, which helped us bond more.

I was just a young, bright-eyed, 18 year-old girl in our nation’s capital, which could be overwhelming to some. Not for me, thanks to Jessica’s help. Looking back, I realize her guidance made my two and a half month internship a memorable experience. To this day, I occasionally ask her for advice, we keep in touch, and I visit her every so often in her new office when I’m in town. And to this day, I still look up to her as a mentor, and will continue to do so as I begin to make the leap into the professional world.

A mentor-menteeship doesn’t necessarily have to be a formal relationship, but a relationship nonetheless. They have a wealth of knowledge to share with up-and-coming professionals in their respective fields.

So my slice of advice to you is to be open, be inquisitive, and be you. If you do these things, you will find a mentor in the most natural way.


Social Media as a Career Skill

Using social media to build your career

By Emilee Smith G’16

In our digital age, social media is a highly sought-after skill. Although many of us are familiar with social media on a personal level, there is much value in using the platforms in a professional manner.

But with so many platforms and an abundance of information, where do you begin? Below are 5 tips and tricks that can help you improve your social media presence and knowledge in a way that will impress your future employers:

Be Professional. Perhaps the most obvious, it is exceedingly important that you keep all of your profiles professional. Even Facebook, which most people feel is more “personal,” should demonstrate a certain level of professionalism and possess a smart narrative. One of the first things your employer will do before hiring is look you up on social media, so make sure they like what they see!

Develop Your Personal Brand. You are uniquely you! Be sure that your personal brand is consistent throughout all of your profiles. One way to do this is by keeping your voice and personality constant.

Engage. Whether it is LinkedIn or Twitter, be sure you are following the companies you are interested in and respectfully connecting with influencers in your industry. It is called social networking for a reason, after all!

Be Proactive. Certain platforms, such as Twitter and WordPress, have a tendency of intimidating new users. Don’t be afraid! The only way to improve your skills and learn is by diving in. Being proactive and having a thorough understanding of all of the major platforms will make you much more marketable after graduation.

Stay Relevant. Publications such as Smart Brief on Social Business are free subscriptions that publish the newest social media developments. Reading publications such as this not only improve your knowledge on professional social media use, but also showcase your desire to learn more about the industry and developing trends.

While sometimes overwhelming, our social world is a blessing. Never before have we been able to network, engage and learn like we can today. Embracing these tips today will undoubtedly make you a better job candidate tomorrow. So good luck, and stay social!

Exploring the Unknown

vsBy Vanessa Salman, ’17, Career Services Ambassador

College is all about self-discovery, right? You have the opportunity to figure out if you’re a morning or night person, fast or slow reader, independent or group “studier”. One of the most valuable discoveries, however, is finding your path of study. While many say that you’re not confined to your major in the workforce, picking one that will equip you with the proper knowledge and skills can give you a competitive edge when seeking employment.

Searching for a major isn’t like searching for your soul – it’s not finite. Here at Syracuse University, and most universities, there are countless programs to explore. From physics to political science, engineering to communications, the options seem endless. Don’t be afraid to immerse yourself into the seemingly obscure academic abyss that is college major selection – dive in full-force; you might surprise yourself.

Changing your major or coming into college without one is not a bad thing. It’s okay to not know what you want to study when entering your post-secondary educational career. While many students apply under specific programs and majors, that doesn’t mean you have to as well. The worst thing one could do is to compare their journey to finding a college major to someone else. We don’t live in a homogeneous society: as individuals, we have unique qualities and differing motivations from one another, therefore everyone’s experience won’t be the same.

While this may seem overwhelming, don’t think that you have to go at this alone. There are many resources at your fingertips to help you throughout your journey in finding the major for you. Aside from Career Services counselors, whom you can make an appointment with or speak with during drop-in hours, there are advisers in each department that are more than willing to give you advice and tell you about their program(s). Professors also serve as important resources in guiding you in the best direction. Don’t be afraid to reach out to individual professors if you find interest in what they’re teaching, regardless of if you are able to take their class right now.

When it comes to selecting a major, the best piece of advice I have is to search until you find your passion. That sounds scary, but it’s doable. Find the field that ignites the fire within that you had no idea existed. Sure, coursework can be daunting, and you’re not always going to be gung-ho about doing that 15-page research paper, but if you have a genuine interest in what you’re studying, the sense of accomplishment felt post-grueling assignment is indescribable.

Ask questions, do your research, take a class or two – it could lead to the unearthing of your future career.

Unsure about your major or exploring your options, join us for our Major Mixer & Panel tonight at 5 p.m. in 202 Hall of Languages. Upperclassmen who’ve been unsure of their major will talk about their journey and share tips to help you find yours.

Orange Central: A phenomenal chance to meet alumni

By Kim Brown ’06, Assistant Director for Alumni Programs

Have you heard? Orange Central is this week! Our Office of Alumni Relations welcomes everyone to celebrate their love of Orange – and with so many alumni visiting campus, it’s an incredible opportunity for students to make amazing career connections with alumni who want to help the next generation of Orange.


So how can you take advantage of Orange Central as a student?

Check out the list of events – and sign up to attend them. Many Orange Central events are open to students. You’ll find the whole list here. Take some time to go through it. There is, without a doubt, something for everybody! You’ll even find some events, like Slice of Orange Days, Trivia Night, and Camp ‘Cuse, that are specifically for YOU!

Don’t be afraid to say hi. Most of our alumni will be checking in at the Goldstein Alumni and Faculty Center, which is right next door to Bird Library. If you’re leaving the library and see alumni mingling around GAFC, say hello! You never know who you’ll meet, and our alumni are always thrilled to have conversations with current students. They miss SU, and you offer them a chance to live vicariously. Tell them what you love about this special place!

Offer help. For many of the alumni who come back for Orange Central, it’s been years since they were on the Syracuse University campus. Whitman is new. Ernie Davis is new. Dineen Hall is new. If you see folks looking lost, offer to help them find their way to a campus building. Again, you never know who you might meet!

Aspire to win an Arents Award. The George Arents Award is Syracuse University’s highest alumni honor, presented annually to alumni who have made outstanding contributions to their chosen fields. Check out this year’s winners, who will be awarded at Orange Central 2014, and then chart your own path to becoming an Arents Award Winner!

Hope to see you at Orange Central 2015!

*updated for Orange Central 2015