#lifeafterSU

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!

The Most Future-Proof Career Advice Ever

Marina will take over @WorkingOrange on Thursday, October 22.

By Marina Zarya, ’11; G ’13, Time Inc., Video Producer, Branding + Culture

Now that I’ve got your attention with my very-catchy headline, I’ll warn you that the actual advice part of this post will be underwhelming.

Ready?

My advice to you, eager Syracuse University student, is BE KIND.

Yes, that’s it. The job you’ll have soon does not exist yet, and your skills will keep evolving to meet market demands. What won’t change is how you should treat people. And if this is the part where you’re clicking off the page, that’s OK, you’ve read the most important part and I hope it sticks. If you’re enjoying my snippy prose, you’ll be pleased to note that I’ve prepared a few examples to illustrate what I mean.

/bē/ verb; Exist
/kīnd/ adjective; Of Kin, gracious, congenial, altruistic, accommodating

Put the two words together and they mean to exist in empathy, act with integrity, humility, and grace. This is a way of being. A state of mind that everyone is capable of tapping into and effectively living in. Please don’t misinterpret this as a suggestion to be lovey-dovey 100% of the time or to let people walk over you.

“Be Kind” doesn’t mean “Be Nice”. Nice guys (or gals) finish last for a reason. Niceness is short-lived and stems from a need for immediate approval (and therefore comes from insecurity). Niceness implies an alternative (usually selfish) agenda, and is a disingenuous approach to relationships. Kindness is being aware of others; their feelings, needs, and time. It means being confident in your ability to empathize, or help if need be. It means adding value to interactions and relationships, not taking away from them by being self-serving. Here are a few ways to do this.

Be Kind:

  1. To *everyone* you meet.

As far as your career is concerned, you just never know where you’ll see the person again. Every single job or freelance gig I’ve ever had (including the one in which I decorated cupcakes in a bakeshop window during a summer in high school), I got because I was kind to someone, not realizing they held a key to my future employment.

My favorite quote on this subject is one that I learned of in grad school by the great Dr. Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Be kind to your teammates. People love working with kind people, and certainly remember them when other co-working opportunities come up.

As I’m sure you’re well aware, networking is the utmost important part of finding work. Interpret this as your chance to be kind. For one, be kind enough to get the person’s name and position right when you email them. Be kind to follow up, to demonstrate that you appreciated a new connection’s time. Be kind and do your research – understanding the person’s background will lead to a productive conversation and no wasted time. Mostly, be genuinely interested in what they’re doing, and don’t start the relationship with “I’m looking for a job at your company”.

  1. To yourself.

I learned the hard way. As the former reigning queen of caffeinated all-nighters in Bird Library and Newhouse Photo Labs, I can attest to the severely negative impacts of disrespecting your body’s needs for sleep, healthy food and exercise. I won’t preach too much on this point, for fear of sounding like a hypocrite. Part of being a productive adult is learning to manage the fine balance of your own well being, whatever combination of factors it is for you. This is probably harder than finding a job, but is crucial to your success. Science (and Arianna Huffington) suggest that getting enough sleep is the most important thing you can do to take care of your brain.

“Be kind” applies to negative self-talk, too. Yes, we all fall back on deadlines, procrastinate doing laundry, or forget to send emails. These things happen. Guilt-tripping yourself over past indiscretions or behavioral patterns that you may have inadvertently formed will not help you change them. In fact, bad-mouthing yourself in your head activates your brain’s reward center, making your biological self think that you’re having a great time beating yourself up – making the feedback loop of negativity a “fun”​ habit.

  1. Online. 

Just because you don’t see the person you are writing to does not mean that you don’t have to be kind. Write carefully thought-out emails that get right to the point, and if something is too long for an email, pick up the phone (old school, I know). Being kind online also means being kind to your image online – when you’re job-searching, recruiters will rifle through your tweets, Instagram posts, and anything really. Do yourself justice by portraying your professional self accurately.

     4. To your community. 

In the near future, you’ll be in a position to offer career guidance, or recommend a classmate for a role you see opening up at your company. Be kind. Pay it forward.

Speaking of which, current juniors and seniors should apply to my company’​s (Time Inc.) Summer Internship & Fellowship Programs. The preferred deadline is December 1, which is sooner than you think.

Graduating seniors and grad students should check out the Careers page. We’re constantly looking for new talent to join the company.

​We also post frequent updates and job alerts on InstagramLinkedIn, and Twitter, keep in touch with us there!

————————————————————

Marina Zarya works at Time Inc. as the Video Producer for Branding + Culture. She did both her BS and MS at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, in Advertising and Multimedia, Photography and Design, respectively. While at Syracuse University she was General Manager at WERW Real College Radio, an Engagement Fellow, Remembrance Scholar, News21 Fellow and Bayliss Scholar.

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 cafaulkn@syr.edu. All students who have sophomore standing in credits are encouraged to apply.

Top Tips to Make the Most of Your Internship

By Jennifer Pluta and Lucy Rodgers

Internship panel hosted by the Lubin House and Syracuse University Career Services
Internship panel hosted by the Lubin House and Syracuse University Career Services

A few weeks ago, Syracuse University in NYC hosted a program in partnership with Career Services called “Making the Most of Your Summer Internship.” Attendees heard from a fantastic panel of alumni, including:

Josh Books ’11, Nielsen Catalina Solutions
Daniel Greenberg ’13, MediaLink
Josh Levy ’10, William Morris Endeavor
Pamela Medina ’13, General Assembly
Ciara Schoenauer ’14, Fullscreen

These recent alumni from various industries and fields provided their perspectives on how to have a successful internship in New York and elsewhere.

Here is what they had to say:

  1. What we hear most from employers is that they wish interns were more proactive. They encouraged everyone to follow the advice, “be a go-getter.”
  1. If you experience any “down time,” don’t wait for direction. Instead, look for assignments and present ideas.
  1. Be sure to take advantage of your resources because the connections you make at your internship can definitely go a long way in the future.
  1. You drive yourself and that itself is motivation. Even if you make a mistake and you may get discouraged, keep going.
  1. Treat your internship seriously. Treat it like a job. For example, go beyond your assigned responsibilities and ask to sit in on meetings.
  1. Your connection with Syracuse University is huge. You can see all 50,000 alumni who call New York City home on LinkedIn. So, use those Orange connections!
  1. When you are trying to network and make a connection, a great way to end an email is to ask “if there is ever any advice that you can give me, please reach out.”
  1. Don’t ask someone you are trying to connect with to meet for coffee and then expect them to do all the talking. Be prepared and ask insightful questions.
  1. Be sure to attend any professional development opportunities or networking events within the organization where you’re interning. Local events are great, too.
  1. Get and stay connected with fellow Syracuse University student and interns in order to build your network.
  1. After the internship, make sure to maintain your connections through emails, thank you notes, or holiday cards.

Check out all of the tweets from the event for a full re-cap of the evening.

For more advice on how to make the most out of your internship or if you are still seeking a summer internship, Career Services can help – call 315-443-3616 to make an appointment today!

All The World’s A Stage…And Teachers Are Players, Too

Guest post by Jaimie Salkovitch ’05

Jaimie Salkovitch '05 dancing with one of her students.
Jaimie Salkovitch ’05 dancing with one of her students.

As a musical theater major at Syracuse University, I never imagined that my audience would one day be a room full of first graders from Brooklyn.

After I graduated with my B.F.A., I worked nights and spent my days auditioning for shows in New York City. I loved the theater world, but eventually I began to crave a more stable position. A desk job wasn’t for me – I wanted a career that would throw me curve balls every day, one where I could make a difference in people’s lives. Recalling my transformative experience volunteering at an inner-city school as a high school student, I decided that teaching would be just that career.

In 2008, I began working toward a master’s degree in special education at Fordham University, and a friend recommended that I apply to work for Success Academy, a growing charter school network that at the time had four elementary schools in Harlem. I was hired as an assistant teacher, and today, I am a special education teacher at Success Academy Crown Heights.

At first glance, the voice and acting classes I took at Syracuse University seem unrelated to the math and English lessons I teach today. But after seven years of teaching, I’ve found that not a day goes by when I fail to apply the lessons I learned as a musical theater student in my classroom.

When I started at Success Academy, I quickly realized that the traits that make an actor great – preparation, quick thinking, the ability to accept feedback – are the same qualities that make a teacher successful in the classroom.

When I started at Success Academy, I quickly realized that the traits that make an actor great – preparation, quick thinking, the ability to accept feedback – are the same qualities that make a teacher successful in the classroom. During productions at Syracuse, I had to improvise if I forgot a line, or if a prop was missing from the stage. Today, if a student is disruptive in class, I have to think on my feet to resolve the issue immediately – while making sure I don’t lose the attention of my young audience.

My acting career also taught me to accept feedback — a critical skill for any teacher. In the same way that directors guide their performers, Success Academy principals offer in-the-moment feedback to teachers, allowing them to improve rapidly. The trick is learning how to accept constructive criticism and incorporate it into your next lesson. As an actress, I had a lot of experience doing just that.

Today, my colleagues and I work together to ensure our scholars are meeting Success Academy’s high expectations. We all care deeply about our students and work to create a school environment where children arrive eager to learn every day.  To achieve this in my classroom, I might ask scholars who have a hard time grasping a book passage to act out a scene, so they can better understand a character’s motivations or a certain plot point.

As I collaborate with my Success Academy colleagues to improve student learning, I am always reminded of the family-like atmosphere I discovered at Syracuse University, where players worked together to give the best possible performance.

At Success Academy, I have found the perfect position for me — no school day looks exactly like the one before.  Each morning, I have an opportunity to impart a new lesson to an eager young audience. That’s an exciting and sometimes scary responsibility — but one that the stage prepared me for.

Founded in 2006, Success Academy is a free public charter school network with the dual mission of building world-class public schools across New York City and advancing education reform across the country. Success Academy operates 32 schools in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Admission is open to all New York City families. Students are admitted by random lottery, held each April. Across the Success Academy network of K-12 schools, 76% of students are from low-income households; 8.5% are English Language Learners, and 12% are special needs students. About 94% of students are children of color. For more information about Success Academy, go to Successacademies.org

Jaimie Salkovitch is a K-2 special education teacher at Success Academy Crown Heights in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from Syracuse University in 2005 with a B.F.A. in musical theater and received her masters degree in special education from Fordham University in 2010.

From Modern Presidency to Providing Presidential Protection

By Kim Brown, Assistant Director for Alumni Programs

As a student at Syracuse University, Aaron Rittgers always looked forward to Modern Presidency class with Professor Margaret Susan Thompson. Little did he know that ten years later, he’d have a job that would give him a front row seat to the President of the United States, the Vice President, First Ladies, and other prominent world leaders.

Major Aaron Rittgers '03 speaks to Air Force ROTC cadets.
Major Aaron Rittgers ’03 speaks to Air Force ROTC cadets.

Rittgers is a Major in the United States Air Force. As a student at Syracuse University, he was in the Air Force ROTC. He graduated from SU in 2003 and is now Commander of the 811th Security Forces Squadron at Joint Base Andrews. What does that mean? His squadron is responsible for guarding Air Force One when it is on Andrews, for protecting Air Force Two all over the world, and for protecting the President, Vice President, First Lady, and other leaders while they are on Joint Base Andrews. That means Rittgers has some insider information on President Obama’s golf game! Andrews is one of the President’s favorite place to golf.

Major Rittgers visited campus at the end of October as part of the Alumni Speaker Series. He spoke to the Modern Presidency class, to the Air Force ROTC cadets, to a group of parents on campus for Family Weekend, and more. The timing of his trip also coincided with a visit from General Martin Dempsey, who awarded Major Rittgers with his Bronze Star Medal after a yearlong tour in Iraq. Rittgers has done seven tours and spent 1100 days in the Middle East!

Since Rittgers works so closely on protecting Air Force Two, he’s had several interactions with fellow Syracuse University alum Vice President Joe Biden. When asked about those interactions, Rittgers said that Biden is one of the most down-to-earth guys you could meet – and that the two enjoy chatting about ‘CUSE. Major Rittgers also told ROTC cadets how proud he is of them for choosing to join ROTC in a post-9/11 world.

It’s always an honor to welcome Syracuse University alumni back to campus to share their career stories, and we’re especially grateful to Major Rittgers for sharing so much of his time and talent with our students!