Career Advice

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.

The Internship Application Rollercoaster

vsBy Vanessa Salman ’17

It’s that time of year again — that’s right, it’s summer internship season.

You’ve perfected your resume after going to Career Services’ drop-in hours, made your cover letter a window into your professional soul, and submitted your application. A week later, you still haven’t heard back and you’re as antsy as could be. The worst starts to go through your head: do they hate me? Did they hire someone better than me? Did they even see my application?

I’m gonna stop you now – stop thinking this.

Take a breath. A deep, cleansing, mindful breath. This process is scary and competitive, but if you don’t get that coveted position at that fancy magazine or don’t intern with a notable Member of Congress, that is okay. There will be plenty of opportunities in the future, but for now, focus on finding something else for this summer.

Easier said than done, I know. But you have to keep a positive attitude and your head held high in these types of situations. The search, the application, and the wait time are all extremely nerve-wracking, however the reward of the experience is worth the temporary insanity – I promise! As cliche as this may sound, everything happens for a reason, so maybe not getting that internship will lead you to an experience you didn’t expect.

I say this all from personal experience. I went through this process just like everyone else, and let me tell you — it was emotionally draining. Applying to internships, especially those with larger organizations, make you feel like a number. You constantly refresh your email and just hope that there’s something about you that stands out among the hundreds or thousands of other numbers in the applicant pool. If you don’t get that internship you’ve been vying for, explore other options.

I applied to quite a few internships this summer, ranging from consulting firms, to various federal agencies, to congressional offices, and didn’t receive any good news. After encountering many dead ends, I decided to explore other options other than internships for the summer. I am so glad I did this, as I received a job opportunity for something that I hope to do post-graduation. As bummed as I am that I won’t be interning in Washington, DC with the rest of my friends this summer, I am happy with the way things have turned out, and it’s all because my summer didn’t go according to plan.

There are so many ways to find other job or internship opportunities (no, I’m not just saying that). LinkedIn, Indeed, and are just a few means of finding opportunities online. Play around with the keywords you use to find more results.  Also, Syracuse students have an advantage because we have access to OrangeLink, which gives you access to job and internship postings, in addition to an employer directory. How cool is that?

Instead of sulking, it’s best to spring into action, and search for something else to do with your summer. You won’t regret it.

Need help with making the most of your summer? Call our office to schedule a phone, Skype, or in-person appointment, at 315-443-3616!

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.

Craft Your Resume with These 5 Tips

A typwriter and a piece of paper that reads resume

By Emilee Smith G’16

We all have experience stressing over resumes. We know how important the resume can be when making good first impressions and securing job interviews. But how exactly do you go about creating the most effective resume?

Well, I’ll tell you…

1. What is perfect? Before crafting your resume, first recognize that there is no such thing as “perfect.” Everyone is unique and no one’s resume will look exactly the same. It’s important to recognize this so that you can go about making what is the best resume for you.
2. Keep it short. While we all have a lot to offer, hiring managers are looking for brevity when they are wading through hundreds of applications. Pick your most impressive experiences and accomplishments and limit them to one page. After all, they can always ask you for more information during your interview.
3. Keep it clean. Don’t crowd your resume with small, overflowing text. Aim for a clean, modern, design with ample white space. The more attractive it is, the more likely someone is to pay attention to it. If you have design experience, consider using Adobe InDesign to create your resume, taking advantage of the program’s capacity to create custom margins and layouts.
4. Establish hierarchy. Design your resume in a way that forces viewers to see the most important aspects first. When applying for professional jobs, it is already implied that you have a college degree. Therefore, you don’t need to place education at the top. Instead, consider listing relevant experience first.
5. Edit frequently. This is a living document, which means you should be revisiting it constantly. Tailoring the document to every application will demonstrate to employers how serious you are about the position.
6. Ask for advice. Improve your resume by seeking out professors, mentors, and career counselors. While you may not always agree with the advice they give you, hearing different opinions will give you insight as to how other people view your resume.

By following these tips you will not only improve your resume, but also further your career. Don’t be afraid of writing and editing your resume. Embrace the challenge and use it to your advantage!

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!

Reflections on Spring Break in the US Capital Region

By Vanessa Salman ’17

Vanessa Salman outside the White House
Vanessa Salman outside the White House

I vividly remember the December morning I received my acceptance into the 2015 Immersion Week Program, as if it were yesterday. My feet had just touched the snowy Syracuse ground after a 5-hour bus ride from New York City when I received the email from Tracy. As I read the words “CONGRATULATIONS,” I nearly tripped and fell on my face. I guess you could say I was ecstatic, although that is definitely an understatement. I am grateful and appreciative that my love for our nation’s capital shined and landed me a spot on this life-changing trip.

On our trip, we visited some pretty awesome places. Our week included visits at The Washington Post, National Geographic, The National Press Club, The Capitol, just to name a few. It’s still pretty surreal that we got to walk through the newsroom of WaPo where the Watergate Scandal broke. Oh yeah, and the FBI headquarters – totally got to be Derek Morgan for a day. It wasn’t just the places that were fascinating, but the alumni that we met at each location. Each place we went to, the alums recalled their years at Syracuse University and their journeys from the land of Orange to the workforce.

The one thing about D.C. that is so unique is there’s a piece of history on every corner. From the different monuments, to landmarks like Ford’s Theater, to the White House, there is a piece of American history everywhere you go; it’s inescapable (but like, the good kind).

Before going on this trip, I didn’t understand how united, kind, and truly supportive the Syracuse University alumni network is. I mean, we hear about it all the time; SU alumni have awesome jobs, connect with them! But this trip gives you the opportunity to do this in person, as opposed to on digital platforms like LinkedIn.

If you’re a sophomore, I strongly suggest you apply this year. Regardless of what college you’re in or what your interests are, this trip is a helpful learning experience. You will learn and grow so much over the span of just one week from improving on your interpersonal, networking, and team building skills. I saw so much growth in not only myself, but the group I traveled with as well quo.

Oh, and D.C. has AMAZING food. If you’re down to splurge, there’s Founding Farmers, which is an organic restaurant close to the Farragut West metro. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’re in luck because you can vote on the Georgetown Cupcakes vs Baked and Wired debate. I am totally Team Baked and Wired, just saying.

The application for the Immersion trip is open in OrangeLink through November 13. Career Services will host an information session on October 21 in 232 Schine from 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. to answer questions and provide more information on the immersion experience.  For questions or more information, please contact Christina Faulkner at All students who have sophomore standing in credits are encouraged to apply.