Twelve students traveled to New York City last month as a part of CWiB’s Spring Immersion Trip. Liz Mullin, Class of 2017 has shared some of her reflections below.
As a freshman, I am still on the road to figuring out not only the ropes of college, but which classes and interests along the way will spark a light inside for future career pathways. Colgate Women in Business took a group of 12 students to New York City with the aim of connecting past students to current ones in order to develop networking connections in all realms of the business world. We were able to meet with a variety of companies focusing on fashion marketing, investment banking and business consulting.
The most surprising aspect was the variety of information and advice every single alumna had for us. It was so refreshing hearing the completely different journeys everyone had taken to get where they were now. Here is a short but insightful list of pieces of advice I recall from the trip:
-Market yourself and the liberal arts education
-Keep track of yourself because no one else will do it for you
-Google the top interview questions and know your responses
-Be as resourceful as you can- Figure out as much as possible before asking questions
-Keep a clean and up-to-date presence online- decide whether your presence on all social media is for personal or professional use
-Internships, Internships, internships!
-Never talk about the money- you want the job regardless of the pay
-Work a job on campus (helpful for when you need references!)
-Research your interviewer and/or company to be fully prepared
-Follow up within 24 hours
It was so refreshing knowing that everyone we met went through such similar experiences as we are going through now—some were on clubs, varsity sports, sororities, and involved in a variety of other things on campus which gave great connections for conversation starters and points of interest. Personally, Deloitte Consulting peaked my interest the most because it was a career field I originally had no interest in and it completely spun my viewpoint around. The energy in the conference room gave a strong impression that everyone who worked at Deloitte loved what they did and who they worked with. I had never considered consulting and after walking out of that office I can without a doubt see myself in that field. Lastly, it was so enjoyable to be able to connect with the 12 girls from all different classes at Colgate. I loved all of our conversations, the laughs and the bonding experience to branch out and put ourselves out there to get ahead. This trip was hands-down one of the most influential and turning point experiences I have had thus far at Colgate and I can’t wait and continue to be a part of the CWiB club to further my connections and foster deeper relationships with women in all classes here.
Below is another reflection piece by Ms. Lindsey Skerker ’14 covering CWiB’s Senior Immersion Trip to NYC during September 25-29th.
I was fortunate enough to be part of CWIB’s Senior Immersion trip to New York City a few weekends ago, and one of the highlights was getting to visit Google. We met up with Deb LoCastro ’05 who is the University Programs Manager at the company. Her job is to promote Google on college campuses to encourage students to explore career opportunities within the company. She told us all about Google’s company culture, which includes free food, nap pods, and scooters around the office. Additionally, the company offers incredible family and healthy benefits.
Deb also told us about the company’s new initiatives. Google has connected over two billion people to the internet, but that is still only a quarter of the world’s population. They are working on balloon-like wi-fi devices that would float in the atmosphere so that more of the world can have internet access. Google is also working on a self-driving car and Google Glass, which are eyeglasses that have computer technology.
One of my favorite parts of Deb’s talk was the “True Colors” exercise she had us do. At Google, during staff orientation, everyone takes a “True Colors” test to learn what kind of worker he or she is. This is such a vital part of the company as it teaches employees about not only their own strengths and weaknesses, but others as well and how best to compromise and adapt when working on a team with all types of people. Going around the room, it was so interesting to learn what everyone’s colors were and how very accurate we all thought the exercise was.
I learned that I was a “blue” and that a blue is stereotypically a people person. We want to be liked and thus value keeping harmony within a group. Additionally, we like interpersonal interactions unlike some of the other colors who might prefer working alone. This activity seems so important in not only the workplace, but in college as well. By knowing about others work styles and preferences, it can help to bypass certain issues and result in more people being pleased with the outcome of a group meeting or project.
Deb also gave a few other tidbits of advice (especially some interesting psych-based advice, as that was her focus in college):
- Mimicking behaviors in interviews establishes a better relationship
- Emails matter as do strong writing skills
- Know how to frame your story and how to market yourself and your past experiences
- Be flexible and willing to adapt (i.e. don’t be tied to a specific city or job)
- Build your resume and work experiences around what your future dream job may be (LinkedIn can be helpful for this)
- Be persistent and find ways in, such as utilizing school vacations to network a propose an internship opportunity
- Advocate for yourself and don’t be afraid of letting people know when you are proud of a job well done
- Pay it forward to get it back
– Lindsey Skerker ’14
Seniors from CWiB traveled to NYC September 25-29th for a fun weekend packed with several employer site visits and great opportunities to meet and talk with accomplished Colgate alumnae. Below is a post by Sophie Salzman ’14, CWiB’s Peer Mentoring Program Coordinator.
After an exciting and informative day at eBay Enterprise and Google, the CWiB seniors geared themselves up for the reception at Hukkster, a company co-founded by a Colgate alumnus. Armed with our knowledge from the day, we welcomed alumni to a two-hour event where we were able to ask alumni questions about their careers, share our own professional experiences with them, and learn from their mistakes as well as their successes. Perhaps my favorite part of the evening was the speed dating activity that took place. The idea behind this activity was for us to generate a one-minute “elevator pitch” which would tell alumni the information they needed to know in order to give us their best advice and suggestions. I never realized how difficult it was to develop a one-minute summary of who you are, what you have done in the past, and where you want to go. Although I struggled at the beginning, as the end of speed dating drew near, I was able to confidently tell alumni about myself – my professional experiences, my on-campus leadership positions, and my hopes for the future – all within the specified timeframe.
Besides for nailing our elevator pitch, speed dating enabled my peers and I to talk with various alumni in different business roles. This gave us a taste for what they do on a daily basis. The alumni that were there had various occupations ranging from, for example, starting a company to consulting to human resources to administrative work. These conversations in and of itself provided the other CWiB seniors and I the chance to grasp a better understanding of the jobs out there. Moreover, these conversations opened the door to the networking world for all of us. As we know, not only are good grades, well-established leadership positions, and a well-rounded resume important in obtaining a job. Nowadays, it is about who and where you are connected to that matters.
By speaking to many female Colgate graduates, this reception gave us the opportunity to foster relationships and make connections. Even more so, this evening provided all of us with the chance to see that success after college is indeed possible if you put the right amount of hard work and effort into finding, and keeping for that matter, a job. I am confident that we all can follow in these women’s footsteps and ultimately be one of the alumnae speaking to current Colgate women down the road. At least, this is what I hope!
Colgate Women in Business met during the last week of March to discuss our members profiles on LinkedIn, a prominent job search and colleague connection website primarily used to network. In creating a profile, you can post a resume online, list your education background and work experience, provide a short summary and photograph and connect with potential employers and friends to build a strong networking foundation.
Once you have a profile with LinkedIn you can build your network by requesting to connect with classmates, previous employers, parents, siblings, friends, etc. LinkedIn will also show you “degrees” of connections too. For example if your sibling shares a connection with someone at NBC, they will be a connection by two degrees of difference.
Making the right connection is key, however…. Linkedin is not Facebook. CWIB suggests requesting certain connections with potential, whether that be in an industry of interest or an employer with whom you share a common background and unifying attribute, such as Colgate University. The Colgate University group on LinkedIn unites all current students and alumni who participate with this virtual interface. Searching the Colgate group serves as an alternative to ICAN or Navigate because it also lists alumni by career, industry and city.
A few weeks back, I was browsing through the Colgate University group, specifically of alumni who work in the food and wine industry. I discovered a ’97 alum who owns his own wine distribution and importing company, and I was able to set up a phone conversation with him with just a few clicks. LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for exercising the number one piece of advice you’ll hear in Career Services, “Networking”.
Make sure to update and revamp your LinkedIn profile as needed. It is a fantastic professional and social outlet for finding a job, researching an industry or simply looking for a potential connection that may form a bridge leading to your next opportunity.
As we all know, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. A strong handshake, eye contact and appropriate attire can attribute to one’s success in both the professional and personal realm. When Professor Keating spoke to CWIB prior to our spring break vacation she focused on the first impression, namely when meeting a potential employer for the first time. We discussed key factors such as physical appearance, nonverbal expression and emotional perception when preparing for or during an interview.
Keating studies the psychology of leadership among other areas. She discussed how to grab the attention and interest of your interviewer or someone you’re meeting for the first time. She noted how dominance and comfort can be expressed by leaning forward, using your hands and smiling. Humans innately read and interpret body language and posture in order to understand the environment and attitude of the person they’re with. A strong, warm handshake is crucial; not only does looking someone in the eye while shaking hands matter but also ensuring that one’s hands are not clammy or wet. These are negative circumstances and can suggest discomfort, nervousness and insecurity. These nonverbal communication signs all contribute to the perception others form and create.
Outside the direct realm of the interview Keating called attention to the Facial-Feedback Hypothesis and how women are perceived in the workplace. We are expected to smile, to speak with a higher pitch, and to have warm personalities. Women who do not portray these qualities are considered abnormal and therefore cold. Simple things to remember like a friendly nod, leaning forward, making eye contact and speaking at the same speed and tone as your partner can combat signs of discomfort or awkwardness in a first meeting.
One of the more profound topics Keating discussed was laughter and humor as a social bond. Laughter is a common expression of comfort, joy, happiness and friendship and it serves as a common identity to which everyone can relate. As I mentioned earlier both a warm, an inviting smile and infectious laughter are generally expected of women and those who are more introverted may find they experience the negative outcomes from this perceived “coldness”. Furthermore people respond to laughter regardless of age, sex and status. Laughter can simply create positive vibes which are always helpful in new environments.
Keating concluded her discussion by reminding the women of CWIB that a strong introduction and a little self-deception of one’s emotions can be helpful in an interview. Feigning confidence is not always a good thing, however it can be a crucial aspect of the job-search as well as navigating a new environment.
On Saturday February 2nd the Colgate Women in Business New York Immersion trip had the opportunity to speak with two inspiring and informative Colgate alumni, Katie Finnegan and Carlee Leraris. Katie Finnegan is a co-founder of the new online shopping resource, Hukkster, through which you can track great items and get notifications of when they go on sale. Carlee Leraris is a long-term employee at Goldman Sachs. Both gave us valuable insight into what it takes for a woman to succeed in traditionally male-dominated sectors, such as investment banking and technology entrepreneurship.
The Seniors first met with Katie Finnegan, who spoke with us about professionalism on the job. Her most powerful piece of advice for success on the job was to “under-promise and over-deliver.” Ultimately, she said, success on the job is about making your boss’s life easier. If she/he can rely on you then your work experience will improve. Additionally, she emphasized the importance of always being more conservative than others when first starting a job. Whether it is presentation in email or the way you dress, it is best to air on the side of greater formality so as to be respectful and give a good first impression when just getting acquainted with a new work environment.
We then had the opportunity to speak with Carlee Leraris who gave us advice on how to distinguish ourselves in the job application process. She asserted that it was critical in this process for us to identify our “brand,” or what makes us different that the number of other candidates. Furthermore, she said this unique “brand” should be visible in our resumes so that it will set us apart from others. Our resumes should not only visually look different, but should tell a story about how we got to where we are today, what has prepared us for the job to which we are applying, and why we would be the best fit for a position.
Both Katie and Carlee emphasized the critical value of ruthlessly networking through LinkedIn or iCAN. In today’s competitive job market, cultivating relationships will make all the difference.