#InternsofNU: Catherine (Medill ’18), FCBx

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Catherine (Medill '18) spent her summer interning at FCBxCatherine Zhang is a senior in Medill studying journalism, marketing and business institutions.

Describe your summer internship.

As an account management intern for FCBx, the agency’s experiential marketing division, I spent my summer working on big Anheuser-Busch brands like Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob Golden Light.

My internship has given me the ability to think strategically about how an experiential activation could give people a personal taste of a brand. Whether through Chipotle pop up shops at Lollapalooza or Corona-sponsored Electric Beach concerts at rooftop bars, I now see these events as a way to create relationships and connect with consumers.

In my ten weeks working here, I’ve been able to touch the before, during and after of events that my team plans and executes. I’ve gotten to work on presentations that I know our clients will see, as well as sit in on all of our calls with AB brand managers. That’s not a privilege that every internship allows, but I find that it heightens the stakes and urges me to double check my work and pay more attention to details.

Another thing I’ve appreciated about FCB’s internship program is the learning and development sessions that cover everything from presentation skills to PowerPoint skills. When a company sets aside time in our schedules to have these trainings, it makes me feel as though they are invested in me and my own professional development.

How did you learn about the opportunity? What resources were especially helpful in your internship search?

I never would have known about FCB if it weren’t for Northwestern Career Advancement’s marketing trek last summer, when I visited FCB’s New York office as well as a few other agencies. We heard from alums and other representatives, and I was intrigued by the agency’s roster of impressive clients and work.

Before I even got the internship, I remember hearing about FCB’s flat organization, meaning that you really can meet and interact with anyone there. And it’s true – I set up coffee chats with people in my office, people who were on different teams like Strategic Planning and Analytics, and even the CEO of FCB. Everyone was willing and happy to give me a moment of their time so that I could ask questions and learn more about the agency and their experiences.

What is one of the most impactful learning experiences you’ve had during your internship?

Probably the most stressful part of the internship was our week-long Think Tank, a hackathon of sorts. The interns were divided into teams and tasked with coming up with an innovative marketing strategy for a brand. In a matter of days, after many late nights and extra cups of coffee, we dissected the business problem and brainstormed an overarching concept as well as three activations to execute our ideas. After lots of constructive feedback from both account and creative managers, we presented our ideas to a panel of judges that consisted of the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Talent Officer, the Chief Strategy Officer and more. In the end, I got to know my group very well and better understood the comprehensive process of creating and pitching a marketing strategy.

What did you enjoy most about your internship experience?

Overall, I’ve loved interning at FCB because it feels like working at a small agency but with the resources of a large one. People never really stop brainstorming and there’s no rigid process to follow in the work, and you can actually get to know the wildly smart people who work here. Also, the coffee bar has the strongest cold brew I’ve ever had. Beyond our day-to-day work schedules, I’ve found that my team is truly caring and great to be around.

On the day of our office outing, the last thing I expected to happen as I was walked up the escalator in the John Hancock building was to trip, rip open my toe and have to cut the afternoon short. A few hours later, after getting 6 stitches in my toe, I was completely content with heading back home, but my manager Matt and my colleagues at FCBx convinced me to meet up with them at a tiki bar along the river and even called me an Uber. I loved being part of a team that knows how to both work hard and play hard.

 

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What Does Pre Law Really Mean?

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lynn-pageBy Lynn Galowich Page, JD, Assistant Director, Student Career Advising, serving students in the School of Education and Social Policy (SESP); Northwestern’s pre-law adviser

I inevitably have a fair amount of pre law appointments that start with, “I think I want to go to law school and pursue a career in law but I am not sure what I need to major in or do to prepare.”  In fact, many upper class students who have decided to pivot from something else and now explore law think they are too late to pursue law school.  They believe they missed taking some prescribed undergraduate pre law requirements. Great news for all of these students: unlike medicine or some other career paths, there are not any specific requirements or major needed to apply for law school.

According to the American Bar Association (ABA):

Being “pre law” does not denote a student’s major or program of study; instead, being prelaw identifies a student’s educational goal. Students are surprised to find out that there is no particular suggested major, nor are there any specific courses required for entrance to law school. There is no single path that will prepare you for a legal education. Students who are successful in law school, and who become accomplished professionals, come from many occupations and educational backgrounds. Some law students enter law school directly from their undergraduate studies without having had any post-baccalaureate work experience and others go to law school after working for some time. Those who work before going to law school come from many different jobs and industries.

Since there is not a set pre law major, students planning to go to law school should take courses that will provide opportunities to hone the following skills that law schools look for:

  • Critical reading and ability to synthesize complex material
  • Logic and problem solving
  • Research and writing
  • Oral communication skills
  • Relationship building and collaboration
  • Organization and management

For students who do want to delve into a law related studies, Northwestern offers The Legal Studies program. This program has both an undergraduate major and minor and provides an environment where students and scholars study legal issues using the methodology and perspectives of the social sciences and humanities.

The bottom line is that students who are interested in possibly going to law schools should choose a major they like and strive to do well in, since GPA is a major factor in law school admissions.

Outside of the classroom at Northwestern students can explore the field of law in many ways, including:

Experiential Opportunities

The NEXT externship program
Chicago Field Studies/Legal Field Studies track
Various internship & research opportunities

Student Groups

Phi Alpha Delta – Coed Professional Legal Fraternity
Northwestern Mock Trial Team
Northwestern Interdisciplinary Law Review

Informational Interviews with Legal Professionals

Northwestern Network Mentorship Program
Our Northwestern Alumni Directory
LinkedIn – join Northwestern Alumni Group

Finally, as Northwestern’s pre law adviser, I am here to help students explore and prepare for legal careers, including assisting with all aspects of the law school application process. I offer one-on-one advising, workshops and a pre law newsletter. Any interested student can make an appointment with me through CareerCat as well as sign up for the pre law newsletter by indicating law as an industry interest on their CareerCat profile.

#InternsofNU: Jamie (SoC ’18), Daryl Roth Productions & Daryl Roth Advertising

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jamie1Jamie Joeyen-Waldorf (SoC ’18) is a theatre and sociology major, also enrolled in the IMC and leadership certificate programs.

Describe your summer internship. 

I spent my summer interning at Daryl Roth Productions/Daryl Roth Advertising. For the advertising company, my responsibilities ranged anything from group outreach for potential ticket sales to helping prep for an opening night of an Off-Broadway show. For productions, I did a lot of script coverage and assisted in various research and development of new work that is being produced for regional or Broadway theaters.

How did you learn about the opportunity? What resources were especially helpful in your internship search?

One of my Northwestern mentors (who I met through the Network Mentorship Program) told me that Daryl Roth was one of the absolute best to work for in the business. I had heard of her before, knowing she produced Kinky Boots, The Humans, The Normal Heart, War Horse, and a slew of Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning productions. I cold-called her office number and asked if they were taking interns and her assistant told me to forward my resume and cover letter. I landed an interview, and that led to my internship.

What did you enjoy most about the experience?

Because I was the only intern in the office, it allowed me to help out in a lot of different areas and meet almost everyone in the company, and no two days were the same. For productions, I would get to read scripts submitted to our office and write summaries/feedback notes that Daryl herself would read. I also got to be in the room during a new musical reading, scout out an experimental performance, taste donuts from a potential caterer, and attend an Off-Broadway opening night party.

What is the biggest takeaway from your internship?

Try to get to know as many people as possible at all different levels and places in their careers. Treat every task with the same amount of enthusiasm, even ones that are not as intellectually challenging, because your attitude is so important and if people like being around you, it’ll make all the difference.

What advice do you have for students pursuing internships that will help them be most successful?

Take rejection, learn from it, and move on. Honestly, a lot of hiring decisions are based on being in the right place at the right time and knowing the right people. However, you can help yourself by putting in the preparation work with cover letter/resume/interviews and maintaining confidence throughout the process.

 

How to Have a Successful Skype or Virtual Interview

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LauraBy Laura Myers, associate director of student career advising, serving students in the School of Communication and Bienen School of Music.

Congratulations, you landed an interview! You’ve been practicing answering interview questions but you just found out it’s not over the phone, or in person, it’s virtual! Whether it’s a Skype interview or a digital interview using a program such as HireVue, it’s important to plan ahead and present yourself in the best way possible for ultimate success.

Preparation

Practice: Mock virtual interviews with a friend or career adviser can help you gain confidence, improve your interview skills, and get familiar with the technology.

Location

Make your space interview-appropriate. A quiet room free of distractions with a neutral wall to serve as a backdrop is best. Ideally, this is a space that you have to yourself, but if others will be nearby, let them know in advance so that they can give you privacy for the duration of your interview. The last thing you need is a knock on your door in the middle of your interview. (If you’re in need of a quiet space for your virtual interview, interview rooms are available for Northwestern students in NCA’s Interview Center at 630 Lincoln St. Email recruit@northwestern.edu to reserve a room.)

Think about lighting. You want to try to look the same virtually that you would in person. Place a lamp at either side of your desk (at the same height as your webcam or higher) to ensure the room is well lit. At the very least, make sure you don’t have a light shining behind you.

Consider the location of your webcam. I think we all know by now that the selfie shot from above, though annoying, is a really flattering angle. The best position for your webcam is at your eye-level, pointing slightly down.

On-Camera Presence

Present yourself professionally. Dress in business professional attire for a virtual interview, just as you would for an in-person interview. Also, be mindful of your body language. A smile and good posture convey confidence and enthusiasm!

Make eye contact with the camera. Instead of looking directly at your computer screen, focus on the camera to maintain natural eye contact with your interviewer. It may help to place a post-it note with a smiley face above the camera hole.

Technology

Test your connection. Confirm that audio and video are clear prior to your interview for both you and the person with whom you’re connecting. Make sure that you have a strong Wi-Fi connection (or, even better, connect to a router with a network cable to avoid a disconnection).

Update your profile. When doing a Skype interview, your interviewer will see your Skype username and picture, so it’s important that both are professional.

Minimize interruptions. Shut out of other computer programs beforehand so that the video screen is the only window open during the interview. This especially includes applications that make noise, such as social media and Gmail.

Post-Interview

Send a thank you note. Make sure to get your interviewer’s contact information, if you don’t already have it, and send a note within 48 hours. Find tips for writing a thank you note on the NCA website.

Sources and Additional Information on Virtual Interviews

How to Write a Master’s Student Resume with Little or No Experience

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BrettBy Brett Boettcher, NCA associate director of professional program strategy & management, serving students in the School of Professional Studies and master’s students in The Graduate School.

Welcome to Northwestern Career Advancement’s (NCA) international master’s student blog series.  This series is designed to provide international master’s students with career information and strategies.  Find our previous posts here. We will add more posts during Fall Quarter 2017.  This blog series is a collaboration between NCA and The International Office.

As a graduate student at Northwestern, you will be developing a strong skill set that will benefit you as you seek jobs/internships or as you progress to the next steps in your career. An important tool to develop sooner than later is your resume, as it will be needed for the internship or job search process. Your resume will assist you to tell your story to employers highlighting your key skills, experiences, and interests so you can gain an interview for a desired job/internship.

Northwestern master’s students begin programs with varying backgrounds. Some students have previous related work experience that they can easily apply to new job/internship opportunities. It is also the case where master’s students might start a new program with little experience, or in the case of career changers, little related experience. The purpose of this blog is to address the later, assisting students with less experience to develop a resume that will strengthen their argument for interviews.

This blog will focus on key areas of your resume that are intended to draw attention to experiences you already have. For a comprehensive guide to developing all parts of your resume, review the “Resume Building” section on the NCA website to learn how to format your resume, key tips, and see samples.

Using Master’s Program Skills and Experiences

The obvious and strongest starting place, when you have little or no related experience, is to focus on the skills and experiences you are gaining during your master’s program. Key areas to reflect on include class projects, skills learned/developed, and courses.

Course projects offer a way to identify and display key skills and experiences that can resemble practical work samples. When choosing projects for your resume, it is important to be selective and choose only those projects that are applicable to the skills sought by an employer of interest. It is always best practice to customize your resume to the needs of each employer. When selecting projects, limit the number of projects you present to the employer to a select few (1 to 3 projects) because you will want to provide a description of what you accomplished.

As mentioned above, it is important to provide some details, in bullet form, on each project. Give careful thought to both the technical side of your project and how you completed your project. Yes, you want to walk through the steps involved in developing your research project, but if you worked as a part of a team, you will want to discuss your role within that team. If you led the project or you led part of the project, you will want to talk about that. Always make it clear to the reader what skills you used and what your role was on the project.

Crafting a skills section on your resume can provide quick information that can show an employer what you have to offer. It also helps you to include key words from a job/internship description, which can benefit you if the organization you are applying to uses resume scanning software in their recruiting process. Guidelines for developing a skills section include:

  • Focus on those skills that are evidence based. Avoid those skills that could be seen as opinion, such as “fast learner” or “great communicator”;
  • More is not always better. A resume is not a place to tell your complete story, it is the place to present your best, strongest argument to get an interview. Carefully consider your skills developed in each program and customize your skills list to those that are applicable.
  • Place the most relevant skills toward the beginning of your list
  • You might also note your proficiency level with each skill. Proficiency levels range from basic knowledge to expert.

You can also use selected courses to identify knowledge or skills that are applicable to internships and jobs. It is common for students to participate in courses offered by organizations like Coursera or Microsoft outside of their programs. This information can be listed in your “Education” section and separate from your Northwestern degree program. When presenting your course(s), identify the title of the course, who offered the course (Coursera, for example), and the date when you completed it.

Transferable Skills

Transferable skills can be another way to present applicable skills to employers. Transferable skills are relevant skills that were developed/gained in an unrelated experience. These skills tend to include: leadership, team work, research, communication, problem solving, resourcefulness, and others. You can find transferable skills in internships, past work experience, undergraduate experiences with student groups/organizations, and volunteering.

You can represent transferable skills on a resume by mentioning them in your bullet point descriptions of the above examples. For instance, if you were the president of a student organization as an undergrad, and you led your organization to host a student program or festival, you could speak specifically to how you led your team to this achievement, highlighting these skills that align best with the new job/internship.

Resume Assistance

Along with other Northwestern career services offices, including Engineering Career Development and Medill Career Services, NCA offers appointments and Express Advising to have your resume reviewed. Feel free to schedule an appointment with an adviser that fits your school and program.

#InternsofNU: Mikowai (McCormick/Bienen), General Motors

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I’m Mikowai, a rising senior in the five-year McCormick/Bienen Dual Degree program! Yeah it’s definitely an unusual combination. I’m studying Industrial Engineering and Piano Performance, with an Integrated Marketing Communications certificate from the Medill School. When I graduate, I’m hoping to combine the technical aspects of engineering with the creativity and storytelling of marketing.

Describe your summer internship.

This summer I’ve had the incredible opportunity to be an intern at General Motors in Detroit, Michigan. I’m working in the Global Customer Experience team, specifically dealing with social media marketing and analytics.

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Beautiful Downtown Detroit

How did you learn about the opportunity? What resources were especially helpful in your internship search?

Last fall quarter I received my first interview with GM. The Northwestern Career Advancement website had many interview tips and tricks that I read through while preparing for this interview. Anticipating specific questions that I assumed would be asked and planning out detailed and comprehensive answers to each of these questions gave me security and calm during the actual interviews. While planning was an essential piece of the interview process, I believe that it is just as important to make a personal connection with the interviewers so that they can see you as an actual person that they would want to work with. For example, finding something that you can both relate to or have a common interest in can help you achieve this.

What did you enjoy most about the experience?

Being in Detroit was a wonderful experience. The beautiful company-provided apartments with close proximity to the Renaissance Center, GM’s world headquarters, gave me access to the exciting regrowth of Detroit’s downtown. There are many fantastic restaurants and museums that I was able to explore, making my foodie heart happy. A week off over July 4th allowed me to travel to Thailand with another intern. It was an incredible chance to travel for an extended period – an opportunity that I haven’t found at any other company.

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Exploring Bangkok

What is the biggest takeaway from your internship?

Working for a top-notch large company provides learning experiences that cannot be received anywhere else. Seeing how teams interact with each other on projects, understanding how culture shift takes place, and interacting with upper-level management have been invaluable learning opportunities for me. I was thankful to have a fantastic team that I loved working with – coworkers that work hard together, but also enjoy spending time with each other outside of the workplace.

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RenCen Work Location

What advice do you have for students pursuing internships that will help them be most successful?

While there are so many internship opportunities, it is also competitive and difficult to land one. One piece of advice: keep an open mind to opportunities. Apply to as many internships as possible, even if you aren’t necessarily thrilled about a certain company. It’s all about the relationships! Once you’ve interviewed somewhere, email them back and thank them for taking the time to interview you.

Most importantly, the GM internship has been FUN. It’s been a blast going to Tigers games with coworkers and working on projects that I really enjoy.

Consulting internship recruitment while studying abroad

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lizjoseBy Liz Abello, Assistant Director, Employer Strategy & Jose Santos, Associate Director, Student Career Advising

If you have chosen to study abroad this fall and are interested in consulting internship recruitment, you’re on the path to developing skills that consulting firms value! Adaptability and global competency are key to being a successful consultant.

Consequently, going abroad should not prevent you from participating in consulting internship recruitment. Recruiters have shared that, like on-campus candidates, quality of application is the determining factor in whether or not a student gets an interview.

We would be misleading you if we said that consulting internship recruitment while abroad is easy. Being abroad will require additional preparation, but it is possible; students have successfully secured a consulting internship while abroad. We know you can do it, and NCA is here to support you throughout the entire process.

Employer Perspective
Consulting firms handle study abroad candidates in one of three ways:

  1. Most firms will have study abroad candidates apply through the normal fall recruitment process and will interview the candidate virtually for first-rounds.
  2. Some firms will have an accelerated process for study abroad candidates. For those studying abroad, a firm will have an earlier application deadline, will conduct in-person interviews in a regional office during the summer, and will extend an offer before a student goes abroad.
  3. Rarely, consulting firms will choose not to interview a study abroad candidate because they value an in-person experience.

Preparation
Since you will most likely be leaving for your study abroad program in August, it is imperative that you start preparing early! NCA has created a Consulting Internship Recruitment Preparation Timeline for Study Abroad Candidates (PDF) to help you maximize your summer. You do not need to inform consulting recruiters that you will be abroad since this will be on your resume. Remember, your career adviser is available to meet with you via phone, Skype, or in-person.

Interview Logistics
First-Rounds
NCA can technologically support first-round interviews and will work with you and the recruiter on logistics. If you are selected for a first round interview:

  1. Sign up for an interview slot in CareerCat that works with the time zone in which you are living or will be travelling.
  2. Email the recruiter and Liz Abello (liz.abello@northwestern.edu) to remind them that you are studying abroad; share your Skype account and international phone number in case there are issues with internet connections.
  3. Review NCA’s Best Practices for Consulting Virtual Interviewing (PDF).
  4. Log into Skype at least 5 minutes before your assigned interview time, and NCA will call you via video conference to start the interview.

Second-Rounds
For second-round interviews, companies typically do one of the following:

  1. Interview you virtually, much like the first round.
  2. Bring you to a nearby international office for an in-person interview.
  3. Fly you to a domestic office for an in-person interview.
  4. Wait until you are home in December to interview you in-person.
  5. Continue the interview process in-person during winter quarter.

Second round logistics are at each company’s discretion. NCA is always available to help you navigate this process.

Next Steps

  1. Make an appointment with your career adviser to discuss consulting internship recruitment while abroad.
  2. Review NCA’s Consulting Internship Recruitment Preparation Timeline for Study Abroad Candidates (PDF).
  3. Review NCA’s Best Practices for Consulting Virtual Interviewing (PDF).

Good luck!

NEXT 2017: Job Shadowing @ The Richards Group

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beccaBecca Smith (SoC ’17) is a Communication Studies and Spanish double major. Becca spent a day job shadowing a Northwestern alumnus at The Richards Group via the NEXT program.

Tell us about the organization and alumnus that hosted you. Why were you interested in job shadowing this alum?
I completed my NEXTernship with The Richards Group, an advertising agency located in Dallas, Texas. I shadowed Brad Todd, one of the Principals at The Richards Group. I was interested in The Richards Group because I wanted to get a feel for the advertising and marketing scene in Dallas, as I am very interested in working there after graduation. Brad’s position interested me because I could tell that he had experience and connections in every branch of The Richards Group, giving me overarching exposure to the advertising industry.

What did your day entail?
When I arrived, I was greeted by Brad and Kelsey Hoffmann, one of his team members. I chatted with different members of The Richards Group before sitting in on a brainstorming session. Much to my surprise, my opinion was encouraged and accepted with the same attention and importance as everyone else in the meeting. We took a tour of the building and I saw how much of an emphasis The Richards Group puts on a balanced and healthy lifestyle. The building includes a full-size gym, free healthy snacks, and exercise classes. After lunch, my day finished with sitting in on a few meetings and talking to people from different departments.

What was your biggest takeaway from your day? What new insights did you glean from this experience that will help you most as your prepare for or make decisions about your career path?
As cliche as it sounds, I left The Richards Group feeling at home. I already had a network of brilliant people in an amazing company, simply by spending eight hours with The Richards Group. After my NEXTernship, I realized just how important it is to think about how you and a company “fit” together. I had an absolutely amazing experience and I am so thankful to The Richards Group, Brad Todd, Kelsey Hoffmann, and the NEXT program for giving me this opportunity.

The Northwestern Externship Program (NEXT) matches Northwestern students with alumni for a day of job shadowing each spring, co-hosted by NCA and the Northwestern Alumni Association.

Northwestern grads: 10 pieces of career wisdom from alumni and NCA staff

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careercat-grad

Photo credit: Student Affairs Marketing

As this year’s graduating class of Wildcats prepares to begin a new chapter, we’ve collected some parting words of wisdom from alumni and our own NCA staff to help guide them in their professional pursuits.

Whether you’re beginning a new job, graduate school, or another career endeavor, like public service or a fellowship, we encourage you to take these 10 tips wherever you go. (Curious about where the undergraduate class of 2016 is now? You can find that here.)

First, we asked five members of the NCA team to share their advice for new graduates. Here’s what they had to say:

Geni Harclerode, Director of Employer Recruitment and Engagement, on asking questions and building connections while on the job:

Remember your first 6 months on the job will be a huge learning curve so give yourself permission to be curious – asking a lot of questions is a sign of interest, not weakness, and people are going to want to help! Cultivate your professional network and pay it forward by answering questions of current students when they reach out.

Matt Formica, Assistant Director, Career Advising Team (serving students in Medill), on applying your Northwestern education and experiences to future opportunities:

You’ve been given an amazing opportunity by receiving an education at Northwestern. I would encourage you to leverage that opportunity not only for your own personal and professional fulfillment, but also to make a positive impact on others.

Laura Myers, Associate Director, Career Advising Team (serving students in SoC & Bienen), on allowing each new opportunity to inform your career path:

It is completely OK if you still don’t have a clear idea of how your career path will take shape. Please remember that your first job is not your last job, and each position you have will be a learning experience to help you figure out what you should do next.

Larry Jackson, Assistant Director, Career Advising Team (serving students in McCormick & WCAS), on considering your long-term career goals:

The days of staying with one company one’s entire career have passed. Consider pursuing opportunities beyond your first job that will allow you to continue building relevant skills and experiences to help you achieve your long-term career goals.

Jeff Jenkins, Senior Assistant Director, Career Counseling Team (serving students in SoC, WCAS, Bienen & SPS), on staying true to yourself:

Keep what you value in front of you as your guide. If you feel you are being asked to compromise what is important to you, have the courage to do the right thing.

Similarly, we collected five quotes from past #TakeNUToWorkDay alumni Twitter Takeovers, NCA’s virtual job shadowing program. When asked, “What’s the best career advice you’ve received?” here’s how our alums responded:

Derek Tucker (McCormick ’15), FCB Global:

Jo Lee (SESP ’14), HackerOne (FuelX during the time of this Twitter Takeover):

Natalie Bortoli (Medill ’98), Chicago Children’s Museum:

Victor Shao (WCAS ’13), DoorDash:

Andrew Christy (WCAS ’14), Alzheimer’s Association (ALS Association during the time of this Twitter Takeover):

So, there you have it! We wish our graduates much success in their next opportunity. It won’t be long before we’ll be asking you to share your best career advice for new graduates! Congratulations, class of 2017!

Making the first year a great year

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LarryBy Larry Jackson, NCA Assistant Director of Student Career Advising, serving students in McCormick School of Engineering & Applied Science and the science fields in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

You got your first job after graduation. Congratulations! You probably have a lot of excitement about the company you will be working for, the work you will be doing, the location you will be living in, and/or the new friends you will make with your colleagues. The possibilities are limitless! Along with this opportunity comes a responsibility to put your best foot forward. Here are seven tips to help you maximize your first year on the job so that it is a productive and enjoyable year:

Build a strong working relationship with your boss. Engage with your manager early on to better understand his/her role, experience, and expectations regarding your work. When expectations are clear and you know how you will be evaluated, you can use this information to meet (or exceed) the performance objectives set for you.

Be respectful in all professional communications. Emails and memos should be formal in tone, concrete and concise. Always use appropriate grammar and punctuation. Sometimes your messages may be shared with superiors and other stakeholders so it’s important to compose content that is polite in tone yet easy to understand. Also, in personal interactions, be well-mannered and specific with your talking points during discussions. People are more likely to listen to your input when you are articulate, concise and considerate.

Prioritize and manage tasks and deadlines. Some of your work assignments will be planned and others may arise spontaneously. Identify your most urgent tasks based on the level of involvement that is required, and the length of time it will take and plan accordingly.

Actively engage with your colleagues. In the workplace, there will be a diversity of ages, work styles, backgrounds, attitudes, and experience levels, to name a few. Try to build rapport with your colleagues by buying them coffee or inviting them to lunch. Ask about their experiences and interests inside and outside of the workplace. By having a positive, inviting attitude, your colleagues will be more interested in wanting to develop a relationship with you which could make for a friendlier work environment. Speaking of colleagues…

Stay away from office drama. Every work place has its issues. There will be people who won’t like a certain colleague, people who don’t enjoy their work, and people who will talk ill of management and/or the company for a multitude of reasons. It’s important to stay impartial during these discussions, as you never know who is listening. Your goal is to be likable among as many colleagues as possible in order to build healthy, working relationships. When you feed into divisive conversation and interactions, it only creates a greater divide within the office.

Be change agile. Priorities in the workplace can shift at a moment’s notice so you have to have an attitude of flexibility in order to adapt and succeed in your work. Consider how you can mentally prepare yourself to pivot from one task to the next. Think about what makes it easy and what makes it difficult so you can make a plan beforehand to address those challenges.

Accept feedback gracefully. Your manager (and sometimes colleagues) will have ideas on how you should perform your work. The feedback you receive will be positive and negative. Listen to their ideas and focus on the most important aspects of their feedback. Considering and adhering to the content of their suggestions will show that you are invested in your professional success as well as the success of your team and organization.

Following these seven suggestions will propel you to greater heights during your first year. Chart your course conscientiously as these efforts lay the foundation for a rewarding career. Many well wishes in your new position (insert your name here). I am rooting for you all of the way!