Meet the 2016-2017 Career Advising Fellows!

By: Beth Mannella, Career Advising Fellow

The Student Professional Development Center is excited to announce the 2016-2017 Career Advising Fellows! For the sixth year, the two fellows will join the SPDC as full-time staff and serve in various career advising capacities over the 2016-2017 academic year. Keep reading to learn more about the incoming fellows!

Massachusetts native, Katie Greene, enjoys helping students clarify their personal and professional goals. Katie graduated from the University of Massachusetts Lowell with her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts. Upon graduation, she explored a variety of career options, through which she gained experience in Admissions at a school for English as a Second Language. Katie’s experience serving as a liaison between students and staff confirmed her interest in higher education student affairs. This interest led Katie to Merrimack College, where she worked for the past 2 ½ years as the Administrative Assistant to the Department of Communication Arts & Sciences, gaining valuable experience within academic affairs. While an employee at Merrimack College, she pursued her Master of Education degree in Higher Education. For fun, Katie enjoys the performing arts, dancing Lindy Hop, and spending time with family and friends. Katie is thrilled to be joining Elon University as a Career Advising fellow. She is grateful for the opportunity to foster the career development of Elon students, and for the privilege of working alongside the SPDC staff.

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Katie Greene

Leo Hall grew up in North Carolina and earned a Bachelor’s in Special Education from Appalachian State University.  After graduation, Leo taught adults Basic Skills at Sampson Community College for three years, then decided to pursue a Master’s degree in College Student Development at Appalachian State University.  Leo immediately loved the program and had the opportunity to visit the United Kingdom to learn about higher education abroad.  The experience abroad was incredible and helped her reflect on supporting students.  Leo hopes to go abroad again in the near future! After completing an internship at the University of North Carolina Asheville in Career Services, Leo realized she wanted to continue helping students with career exploration and development.  Leo has a passion for helping students by building relationships and asking intentional questions. In her free time, Leo enjoys hiking, journaling, seeing musicals and reading.  Leo’s favorite places are the mountains, coffee shops and bookstores.   Some of her best memories are spending time with family, friends and traveling. Being a Career Fellow at Elon is an opportunity Leo is excited and grateful to begin!

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Leo Hall

Please join Latisha and me in welcoming Katie and Leo to Elon University as the 2016-2017 Career Advising Fellows!


Fellowship Finale & Moving Forward

By: Beth Mannella, Career Advising Fellow (2015-2016)

Since beginning the Career Advising Fellowship in July 2015, my experience at Elon in the SPDC has been the most rewarding post-master’s experience possible.

Fellows at Student Org Fair
Latisha Taylor and Beth Mannella (2015-2016 Career Advising Fellows) tabling at the Student Organization Fair in September 2015

Looking back: In preparation for my Career Advising Fellowship interview one year ago (to this day!), I read numerous blog posts, and I looked forward to the prospect of learning industry trends and overall knowledge of career services to then share on this blog. Throughout my fellowship, I wrote blog posts on new beginnings, things coming full circle, ePortfolio tips, media analytics, updating cover letters, and continuing to search for a job/internship during March madness! My content developed from attending presentations hosted by my colleagues in the School of Communications, teaching five sections of Transition Strategies courses, and meeting one-on-one with students. These opportunities served as means of gaining first-hand knowledge of challenges students face regarding professional development, as well as learn feedback from employers to share with students and colleagues beyond Elon.

Gratitude: Prior to joining Elon, I ran residence halls for four years and was seeking a new functional area within higher education to start my career. Elon provided endless opportunities throughout the fellowship that led me to a career in which I am excited to wake up to every morning! Throughout the fellowship, attending conferences, managing on-campus employer relations in the fall semester, presenting to students on finding careers in new-to-me areas (criminal justice, geriatrics, history), and having support from an office who appreciates, respects, challenges, and encourages the fellows has been invaluable. Every day for the past nine months, I felt gratitude toward Elon and my colleagues for providing this Career Advising Fellowship and all of the opportunities embedded in the fellowship.

Moving forward: After the fellowship, I am joining Action Greensboro in Greensboro, NC as the Program Director for a new initiative, the Opportunity Greensboro Summer Fellows Program. This position combines many aspects of career services that I gained experience in (and realized I loved) during my fellowship. As the Program Director, I will work with a cohort of students from the seven local Greensboro colleges and universities, each respective institution’s career services office, and organizations throughout Greensboro who host local college students (my cohort of Summer Fellows) in paid summer internships. To learn more about the Summer Fellows Program, which launches summer 2016, feel free to check out the website here! In addition, my supervisor is an Elon alumna, which is great!

Overall: It is amazing to explore new career areas and find a position/office/environment that truly fits. I am forever grateful for the Career Advising Fellowship in the SPDC and the greater Elon University community for providing ten incredible months. I am looking forward to staying nearby in Greensboro and continuing to support the Career Advising Fellows, while engaging with the SPDC in my new position!


Job & Internship Search During March (Madness)!

By: Beth Mannella, Career Advising Fellow

As a former Wisconsin resident/graduate student/Assistant Hall Director, March was a special month where college students throughout the state dedicated their time to college basketball. If you are a current student seeking full-time employment or an internship for this upcoming summer, you likely feel the search pressure as March (Madness) has begun. While building your bracket and watching March Madness might be one of your favorite times of the year, searching for jobs and internships during basketball games could be part of your viewing experience.

New Job Ahead

A few weeks ago, Elon welcomed employers from G&S Business Communications and Foothills Brewery to speak about the job and internship search. Employers provide a wealth of first-hand knowledge about search processes, as they are the ones reviewing resumes, extending interview offers, conducting interviews, and ultimately assessing if candidates are the right fit for the organization. Whether you are in your second year of college or graduating this May, read through the employer’s insights below as you continue applying for jobs and internships during March Madness commercial breaks!

We asked: What do you suggest in terms of students researching the company?

  • Use LinkedIn, Google, and the company website
  • Check out a company’s social media – what stands out?
  • Rule of 3: know the job description, know the company, and know yourself
    • For example, in an interview, our employer from Foothills Brewery asks, “Tell me what you know about Foothills brewery?” It only takes 30 seconds to show the employer you’ve done your research!
  • Be prepared to thoroughly answer WHY you want to be at the company. Again, show them you have done your research and that you know yourself.

Bottom line: To show you have done your research, consider writing/saying “I saw _____ on social media and I really liked it because _____.”

We also asked: How do students stand out?

  • Cover letter! Submit a tailored cover letter (not generic) and PROOFREAD! Find something you can pick out from the company website (campaign, research, mentor program) and make it clear in the cover letter to show you have done your research.
  • Get in touch with current employees on LinkedIn and make a connection, then send a message to find out what they love about their job.
  • Proofread: Employers can eliminate 1/3 of submitted resumes due to misspelled words, incorrect punctuation, and bad grammar.
  • If you are invited in for a face-to-face interview, ask who you are going to be interviewing with, and review the interviewer’s LinkedIn profile to gain background information on the person.

Bottom line: Proofread application materials and connect throughout the search process.

Feel ready to research companies and stand out? There is one final bottom line for the job and/or internship search: It is soul crushing to dread waking up to go to work. You never want that. There is SO much opportunity out there so you don’t have to dislike your job – you just need to put in the work to find it.

We are grateful for the insights of employers who visit campus and engage with our students about topics such as the job and internship search. Thanks to G&S Business Communications and Foothills Brewery for sharing information with us!

P.S. March Madness begins March 15th!

New Year – New Cover Letter!

By: Beth Mannella, Career Advising Fellow

As the first month of the New Year winds down, it is time to reconsider New Year’s resolutions. Have you set resolutions and kept them? I have not been one to set resolutions in the past, but as this 10-month fellowship gears up to begin recruiting for the 2016-2017 Career Advising Fellows, I have set personal goals of updating my resume, cover letter, and reference documents.

Regardless of where you fall in terms of searching for a new position, updating your cover letter will take time, effort, and attention to details. Latisha and I recently finished teaching a 3-week January term Transition Strategies course and had the opportunity to review first and second drafts of our students’ cover letters. Then, we held a cover letter workshop for first-year students in one of Elon’s residential neighborhoods! Kicking off the New Year with a new cover letter might be exactly the resolution you need.

As you review your cover letter(s) and make revisions, here are four suggestions to keep in mind. Remember, every cover letter should be tailored to the specific position you are applying for, so do not be afraid to personalize it. In addition, you will find that cover letters vary based on your writing style and the position you are applying for! Please note – my suggestions are mere suggestions, which stem from my experiences as a career advisor, instructor, and job seeker.

  1. Header: I recommend students use the same header for all position materials: resume, cover letter, and references. This allows for your documents to be cohesive, which is helpful when an application requires that all documents are submitted in one PDF file. Having a consistent header also allows for your materials to look uniform. *If you have an updated LinkedIn profile, be sure to customize your unique URL and paste it into your header. Don’t forget to un-hyperlink it though!
  2. Formatting: Be sure to keep everything left aligned. It might feel strange to have your paragraphs begin at the far left, but this is traditional cover letter formatting. Also, for margins, I recommend using the same margins for your resume, cover letter, and references (again for consistency).
  3. Tell A Story: Your resume (which is also updated, right?) will give specific, detailed examples of the work you have completed throughout various experiences. Your cover letter is a space where you can tell a story. Do not repeat exactly what your resume says. Instead, choose relevant experiences that relate to the position you are applying for. In each middle paragraph (aim for 1-2), tell a story that guides the reader through your skills and experiences.
  4. The Closing Paragraph: We want our cover letter to speak to our qualifications and skills, as well as give reasons for why we want the job! In your closing paragraph, use 3-4 sentences to remind the reader of a few skills you bring and thank the person in advance for considering your candidacy. Notice how I do not suggest reminding the reader of how to contact you? This information is above in your header, so no need to use space on it in the closing. Finally, if you have the capabilities to sign your signature, scan it as a PDF, then crop the image, this is a great way to imbed your actual signature on your cover letter.

As you revise your cover letter(s), I hope you will keep these suggestions in mind. Just remember to proofread, proofread, and proofread (and have someone else read your cover letter) before you submit it for a job application! Happy New Year, and happy cover letter-writing!


10 Tips: Media Analytics

Media Analytics post

By: Beth Mannella, Career Advising Fellow

Panelists Ryan Sweeney (‘10, Strategic Communications) and Nicole Martin (‘03, Business and Economics) engaged with Elon students to discuss all things related to Media Analytics, which was not a major when both panelists attended Elon. Elon introduced Media Analytics as a major for the 2014-2015 academic year, which is exciting for our current and prospective School of Communications students!

Below I’ve listed 10 tips from Ryan and Nicole’s experiences regarding starting a career and being successful in Media Analytics. Personally, Media Analytics was fascinating to learn about as a Career Advising Fellow with no prior knowledge. If you are also new to Media Analytics, keep reading to learn more!

  1. Communication: In Media Analytics roles, you need to tell the story and communicate it to your audience. Especially with agencies – clients are in the daily trenches. You have to see ideas and tell them what they need, while supporting it with data. In addition, it is crucial to be able to have a wealth of info but be able to boil it down.
  1. “Tell me about yourself: Do not go into your life story about siblings unless it is truly fascinating. This really means: how can you fit in here? Your response can include: I am able to change my perspective, I am very data driven, organized, off the cuff, open-minded thinker, strategic, and more! *Think about key words related to Media Analytics
  1. Interviews: You will often be asked, “What did you think about our website?” Be able to give examples of what you like/what you didn’t like. Also, show your curiosity – this shows that you do not necessarily accept things as they are and you want to dig more.
  1. Language: R – stats language is increasingly becoming a favored language for statistical analysis. It is all open source and free.
  1. Skills: Basic business communication is really important – you have to be able to speak colloquially to certain people. Cannot jargon, jargon, jargon because people will get lost!
  1. Social Listening: As trends in the industry are constantly changing, stay current with Avinash Kaushik, Seomoz, FlowingData, Social Control.
  1. On Failure: Failure is fantastic. Although failure is sometimes expensive, so as long as you can plan it out and test, then you have learning opportunities versus huge financial failures.
  1. Advancing your career: Psychology is very important. Panelists recommended students obtain a Master’s in Psychology over pursuing an MBA.
  1. Internships: If there is no internship available at your desired agency/company, offer to come in and write whitepapers for the company – this is a great way to get your foot in the door!
  1. Hiring: Employers want people on the team that are passionate, can be trusted, and can see the big picture. Keep this in mind (in other industries as well)!

We are thankful for the insights of Ryan and Nicole, and are hopeful these 10 Tips: Media Analytics resonate with you, whether you are pursuing Media Analytics or were unfamiliar with the field and opportunities!


ePortoflio: Top 5 Things to Consider

By: Beth Mannella, Career Advising Fellow

Last month, our colleagues in the School of Communications hosted an informative panel about ePortfolios. Students from various majors within the School of Communications received first-hand feedback and information about developing an ePortfolio. If you work with ePortfolios in any capacity, I have provided the Top 5 Things to Consider, based on information from McKinney and FleishmanHillard employees who frequently view ePortfolios as part of talent acquisition processes!


1. What should I include on my ePortfolio?

The best balance of materials is 1-2 best examples from different categories – hone in on the BEST content. For example, include one example from a class assignment and one example from a student organization publication. Focus on quality and not quantity – share your work with industry professionals, peers, advisors, friends, and family to gather feedback as to which pieces stand out most and should go on your ePortfolio.

2. What about photos and my social media profiles?

Our panelists like photos on ePortfolios, and beyond that, recommend linking all social media platforms to your ePortfolio. Wherever you have a digital presence, link to it!

3. Should my resume mirror my ePortfolio?

These two separate documents should complement and support each other. They should NOT be mirror images of each other. For example, on your resume, explain what you did for a company/position. On your ePortfolio, showcase the actual work through graphics. One great option is to have a link to your resume as a supporting backend page for easy employer reference/downloadable option.


4. What about design and platforms – do employers have preferences?

Regardless of the platform, your ePortfolio needs to be organized, clean, and have a memorable URL address – no messy numbers/letters! Our panelists shared the most professional platforms are Square Space and Cargo Collective. These platforms are more design-oriented, reflecting true portfolio websites. As far as design, keep it clean, simple, and intuitive to navigate – the focus should be on your content, not the site itself.

5. Is there a benefit to purchasing a domain name?

YES! This is part of your brand and from a SEO (search engine optimization) perspective, having a domain name makes this a lot easier! However, it is important to note: an employer will not turn down your portfolio because it is not a self-owned domain.

Final takeaways:

Get your ePortfolio out to as many people as possible for feedback before you start sending it out for full-time jobs. You cannot receive too much feedback! You want to aim for ease of access when viewing your ePortfolio, so gain gut reactions to your materials and accessibility. In addition, there should be no typos – NONE! This is grounds for dismissing your candidacy. Ultimately, be unique!

Whether you are a student developing an ePortfolio, a career advisor working with students who create ePortfolios, or interested in developing your own ePortfolio, it is my hope these top five tips will help! A huge thanks to Marianne Gissane and Beth Stevenson for serving as panelists!

Full Circle

By: Beth Mannella, Career Advising Fellow

Happy Friday! As I reach my two-month anniversary of starting this fellowship, I am amazed at how several aspects of my experience thus far have come full circle. For example, Ross Wade began this fellowship five years ago and recently came back to Elon University as the Director of Career Development in the Student Professional Development Center! With Ross’s return to Elon, he now supervises the Career Advising Fellows, which is extremely exciting! The opportunity to work closely with Ross, who developed this incredible fellowship, seems surreal!

In addition to experiencing this fellowship come full circle with welcoming Ross Wade back to Elon, when I interviewed for the fellowship, I expressed interest in corporate and employer relations and corporate campus recruiting. Fast forward to this week, where I helped manage our first fall event, employer information session, and on-campus employer interviews! Next week, I will continue to help manage employer-related events, including the following:

  • Sales Meet and Greet
  • Job & Internship Expo
  • Employer Lunch & Learns
  • On-campus interviews
  • Employer Information Sessions

I am beyond fortunate to have the opportunity to serve as the point person for all on-campus employer relations for the next several months and continue to gain experience in this realm.

It has also been wonderful to have a friend (and former colleague) join the Elon University community. When I was in my first year of graduate school, several colleagues began working at Elon, so my circle of higher education colleagues expanded to this institution. Now that I am here in this fellowship and another former colleague has joined campus, things are continually becoming full circle!

As my fellowship “circle” continues to become fuller, one of my greatest realizations over the past two months has been recognizing how important office culture, campus climate, weather (ha!), communication, and a positive attitude blend to enhance this fellowship experience. Thank you, Ross Wade, for developing and implementing this fellowship five years ago!