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!

LinkedIn as a Recruitment Tool

RachelMervisBy Rachel Mervis, ’11

LinkedIn is essentially a resume open for everyone to see. There are different points of view on which aspects are the most important to utilize. Essentially it depends on your strengths as well as your objectives. I got my current job at iAcquire, an SEO agency via my LinkedIn profile. I asked the recruiter what information leads him to select his recruits.

  1. He chooses second connections so that he can ask 3 or 4 people about the candidate and get the truth about their work ethic and personality.
  2. He doesn’t place too much emphasis on endorsements as he does not know the people who have given them or whether they were solicited.
  3. He looks for the skills acquired through past internships and jobs.

I have often wondered whether it is prudent to show your sense of humor somewhere on your LinkedIn profile. I asked this to our recruiter who stated, “it sort of depends on the position you are looking for and the way you go about it. It is vital that any humor be classy and appropriate.”

The takeaways from this are to connect on LinkedIn with every classmate, colleague and acquaintance that you meet along the way. Obviously, it is unfair to say to make a good impression with everyone you meet. However, it is important not to burn any bridges, as well as to make every effort to put your best foot forward. The sooner you adopt these principles, the easier it will be to establish a network and a career.

Feel free to email me with any further questions at

Megan Lucas' #LinkedInSUccess Story

May 2013,  The Advisory Board Company
May 2013,
The Advisory Board Company

Continuing our series on #LinkedInSUccess stories, Megan Lucas ’13, shares how she leveraged LinkedIn in her job search!

I graduated Syracuse University College of Arts and Sciences in May 2013, and like everyone else, was very worried about finding a fun full-time job that would potentially turn into a career. I studied international relations, Spanish, and economics as my undergraduate work, and was very reliant on the Maxwell Career Services and LinkedIn. I went to a few networking events in Syracuse and DC before graduating and right after graduation, but relied a lot on online applications and portals.

Beginning in June 2013, I was working an unpaid internship at the Center of Hemispheric Defense Studies at National Defense University. I enjoyed the work and networking opportunities, but knew that I was “burnt out” in doing research for academic institutions, as well as working for non-profits. I wanted to join the private sector, and geared my job search that way. I stumbled upon a job opening at The Advisory Board Company via LinkedIn, and applied. After my first failed interview at Advisory Board, I noticed a few more job positions and decided to apply and subsequently prepare myself better for the interview. I researched the positions as well as the company, and physically wrote down pages of answers to common interview questions, as well as notes detailing my strengths, weaknesses, and how those character traits contributed directly to the position and the firm.

During this process, LinkedIn was invaluable. I was able to research the company, other positions, as well as other Syracuse alumni on the network. I noticed a particular alum had graduated from SU one year before me with the same major (international relations), and asked for a “LinkedIn Introduction” via Kim Brown, one of our many connections in common. We messaged on LinkedIn, exchanging phone numbers, and had an informal phone call shortly after. Not only was I able to feel out more about the company and its inner workings, I used our shared history and career desires to apply to my personal fit and career trajectory. During my next set of interviews, I mentioned the previous voluntary outreach anecdote, and wholeheartedly believe that it was this fact that showed I was able and willing to take all necessary steps for the company and role; to “go the extra mile” (which is ironically one of the company’s cultural values).

The bottom line: getting a job is not only about personality, work ethic, and work history. It is not just showing skills and answering all the interview questions with confidence (never arrogance). Yes, you must be able to read, write, think, comprehend, react, and do simple math and logical deductions in your mind. But a lot of the time, getting the job comes down to fit: not only should you be a well-tailored fit for the company, but the company should be a well-tailored fit for you. LinkedIn is one of the websites that expedites this process; I believe to find a well-suited position, you need to utilize all the tools that LinkedIn provides.

Good luck, Megan and thank you for sharing your story! Stay tuned for more #LinkedInSUccess stories!

#LinkedInSUccess: Think Quality, Not Quantity

Nichole May '12
Nichole May, Our Ability

We asked alumni about their LinkedIn success stories through a Google + Hangout a few weeks ago. We got so many amazing stories we wanted to share a few!

Kicking off the #LinkedInSUccess series is Nichole May, a 2012 Whitman grad who used LinkedIn during a career change.

Ever since I was a teenager, my dad always used to tell me that “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”  I never understood the true meaning of this phrase until I began my first career transition.

Flashback to December of 2012:  I knew I wanted to make a career change, but how?  Being so new to the workforce, it was tough to figure out what were the first steps to a successful career change.  Syracuse University has an amazing set of resources: its faculty, staff and alumni.  After reaching out to a few of the university’s MVPs of social media and job searching, I had a set plan.

1. Network
2. Network
3. Proofread resume and cover letter
4. Network

With this plan in full swing, I began to reach out to alumni in the Albany, NY area in the marketing/communications industry using the advanced search option on LinkedIn.  When I began to make connections and apply for jobs, I realized that it is not the quantity of people that you reach out to, but the quality.  In other words, it is more important to have five solid new connections that know your personality and what you are interested in rather than 15 connections that you spoke to one time and will not remember you in two months.

In January 2013, I reached out to Class of 1990 Newhouse graduate John Robinson (CEO of Our Ability) on LinkedIn.  From when I reached out to John until mid-April 2013, we spoke on the phone and met in person roughly four or five times.  John was not originally looking for someone to join his team, but through persistence and a genuine interest in him and his company, I was able to show him what a valuable team player I could be.  As I look back on my job search some of the key factors that have allowed me to land that perfect job were: a positive forward-thinking attitude, networking and social media.  Social media, as you all know, has become such an integral part of our everyday lives and it has become even more essential in the job search world.  What hiring managers find out about you online can make or break your chances of being hired.  LinkedIn is a great place to outline your professional and academic accomplishments.

I know I am biased, but Syracuse has some of the most friendly and helpful alumni.  As long as you are genuine in your message and you aren’t just looking for “a job,” but rather advice or guidance, alumni are always willing to lend a helping hand.  Thank you for reading and as always Go Orange!!

If you would like to connect with me, please follow me on Twitter, @nichole_may, or add me on LinkedIn.

Thanks to Nichole for sharing her story! If you would like to share your LinkedIn story, let us know via @CareerSU. Stay tuned for more #LinkedInSUccess stories!

Happy birthday to 'CuseConnect! Are YOU connected?

By Kim Brown, Alumni Programs Coordinator

We have a lot to cheer about these days! Our basketball team’s winning, this summer-like weather has the Quad PACKED, and…‘CuseConnect is now seven months old!

What’s ‘CuseConnect? It’s the LinkedIn group that Career Services launched on August 19th, 2011 to connect SU students with SU alumni, as well as alumni with fellow alumni, for career advice and job/internship opportunities. In the past seven months, we’ve grown to nearly 2,700 student and alumni members! Are YOU one of them?

Students do need to attend an orientation here in Career Services before your request to join will be accepted. You can sign up for an orientation in OrangeLink (accessed through MySlice). If the times don’t work for you, just give our office a call at 315-443-3616 to set up an orientation with me (Kim Brown) at a time that’s convenient for you.

Alumni are accepted to the group as soon as we see your requests to join. Joining the group says that you’re willing to be contacted (via LinkedIn messages) by students and fellow alumni as they explore different careers, opportunities at your companies, advice on what it’s like to live and work in certain cities, and more. It’s a phenomenal way to “give back.” I can’t tell you how many students have e-mailed me to say what great connections they’ve made or have stopped by my office with bright eyes to share the story of a great informational interview they had with an SU grad they found in ‘CuseConnect. THANK YOU to our alumni who’ve already come on board!

Courtesy: LinkedIn

The top industries represented in ‘CuseConnect (but our group certainly isn’t limited to these!) are:

  • Marketing and Advertising
  • Information Technology and Services
  • Public Relations and Communications
  • Financial Services
  • Higher Education
  • Law Practice

What you’ll find inside the group is a vibrant discussion board filled with all kinds of career-related topics. Under the “Jobs” tab, click on “Job Discussions” to find (and post!) job and internship opportunities for our ORANGE family.

If you’re on Twitter, we’re also using #HireOrange when we post jobs/internships from SU alumni specifically for SU students and fellow alumni. Be sure to check it out!

Do you have a SUccess story to share as a member of ‘CuseConnect? Have suggestions on how we can make the group more useful? Please let us know by leaving a comment below!

Spring Break Tips

Stop and smell the flowers AFTER following up on this advice!

By Jeff D’Andria, Graduate Assistant

At Career Services, we understand the importance of resting up during spring break, but here are a few small things you can do to make a gigantic impact on your future. After all, your future doesn’t take breaks.

Your spring break to do’s:

  1. Add one new person to your network. The best tool for researching and contacting persons of interest is LinkedIn. Check out two groups on LinkedIn: ‘Cuse Connect and the Syracuse University Alumni Network. Once you’re accepted to these groups, click on the “members” tab and identify people you’d like to contact for an informational interview. Outside of those two groups, you can utilize the “advanced” search function to find people that went to S.U. and  currently work at the companies you’re interested in. Reach out!
  2. Reconnect with one person in your network. After you make contacts, it’s important to keep in touch. Send an email to catch up by asking what they’ve been up to and be sure to inform them of your latest updates. There’s a big difference between being in touch three times a year vs. once a year. You don’t want to be “that person” asking for a favor after being completely out of touch. Check in!
  3. Apply to one position. If you’re graduating this May and looking for a job or simply need a summer internship, the time to apply is now. For the job search, check out and many other job search engines on our website. For you internship seekers, NYJobsource lists companies and organizations to intern with in New York City. Here are a number of other internship sources on our website. And no matter what, remember to customize your resume and cover letter to the positions you’re applying for each time you apply.

After completing these to do’s you’ll have made one new contact, reconnected with another and applied to one dream opportunity. Get these things done and you’ll be way ahead of your competition that snoozed during the break.

We’ll be in the office over Spring Break so stop in if we can help! Drop Ins are Monday – Friday from 1-2:30pm and appointments are still available.

Sales: So Much More Than Cold-Calling

By Shannon Feeney

Cold-calling is so last century! (flickr / zigazou76)

There seems to be a stigma around the word “sales” when it comes to job seekers.  The images that come to mind are of cold-calling for new clients, salaries based solely on commission, and forcing people to buy something they don’t want.  I am hoping this blog post will help debunk some myths and shed some light on why you shouldn’t shut the door on a career in sales.

1)      Let’s consider sales for what it really is – account management, relationship building, and business development.  If you have a knack for working with people, love the idea of not being at a desk 24/7 and might want to own your own business, then maybe sales is for you.  Take a look at the job descriptions for sales positions in OrangeLink see if they are a fit for you!

2)      Not ALL sales positions are commission-based!  This is why it is so important to do your research into company-specific sales postings.  Many employers will offer their staff starting salaries with the potential to earn more.  Even starting salaries for entry-level sales positions are higher than perceived – according to’s salary calculator, the average salary for an entry-level sales representative in New York City is $59,000.

3)      The job outlook is good!  A recent article from US News listed sales manager and representative as one of the “hot jobs” that will be hiring this year. (We can’t disagree either – look at the positions employers are hiring for at the upcoming Spring Career Expo!)   This isn’t a new trend either; CNBC reported that sales was one of ‘The 10 Jobs Most in Demand in 2011.’

So before you completely shut out an opportunity in sales, I encourage you to do some more research.  Talk to the employers at the Career Fair hiring for sales positions, connect with alumni on ‘CuseConnect (through LinkedIn) who have started their careers in sales, and attend Career Services events such as ‘Sales Forecast: Successful’ on February 23 (6 p.m., Hall of Languages Room 114) to hear what working in sales is REALLY all about from the people who know best.