All posts by Lisa Orbe-Austin

About Lisa Orbe-Austin

Career Development Center

Resolving to Resolve

Standing Out in a LineIt’s a new year and there is much talk of resolutions and improving yourself in a variety of ways whether its health, finance or attitude — there are constant reminders that we should be working on something. Life is a constant process of improving, but also appreciating what is in the moment, which is tough to balance.

If you are looking to make a change in your professional life, whether it’s a new position, your first position, a promotion, or addressing a longstanding issue at work, there are a few things that you may want to do to increase your chance of success.

  • Find a change buddy or more than one – support tends to make the change easier and groups can have a powerful effect on behavior.
  • Write out and make visible your goal. Having a consistent reminder of your goals keeps you focused and motivated.
  • Understand that the road to reaching goal is not a straight line. There are many twists and turns and you have to work your way back to being on track regularly.
  • Reward yourself for hitting mini-targets. Set little mini-goals along the way and celebrate those achievements in positive ways — not in ways that will set you back.
  • Set yourself up for success by not creating temptation around yourself.

Change is possible if you take the right steps to support it. So, create those resolutions or make those plans to reach the goals that you thought were out of reach. Go you!

Bring the Holiday Cheer to Your Networking

dreamstimefree_43256With the holiday season already started, this is wonderful time to think about building and strengthening your network. There are so many built-in opportunities to make the most of the events and increase the power of that all important professional and personal community. Here are some tips to make the most of spirit of the season.

  1. Organize a volunteer event. It is a great time to give back and organize an opportunity for your club, your class, your intern group to share what they have with others. Think about a relevant theme connected to your group. For example, if you are in a fraternity, it might be a great idea to find an opportunity to volunteer with a family-oriented organization, or to work with men or young boys. If you are in the marketing club, consider offering your knowledge to help a small non-profit or volunteer organization market their holiday/development events.
  2. Meet new people at holiday parties. Holiday parties can be a wonderful time to get to know new people in your organization, family or community. Branch out from your regular group and strike up positive conversations about the music, food, the venue. Remember to stay away holiday party alcoholic drinks as well as an alcohol induced activities or behaviors — never a good idea.
  3. Reconnect with colleagues, supervisors, friends. There are a lot of opportunities now to find a reason to reach out to people that you have fallen out of contact with. It’s so much better to rekindle a relationship when there is nothing for you to gain and it’s simply checking in.

There is no excuse not to build up your network especially with all the events happening around you. It’s a perfect time to network in a natural and organic way.

LinkedIn: Reducing Spam

LinkedInLately, many counselors at the SCDC have been hearing from students about receiving SPAM on LinkedIn. This phenomenon, while somewhat new to us,  has some simple solutions that will reduce your frustration and risk related to using the professional networking social media site.

Here are some easy to apply tips:

  • If you receive an invitation to connect that contains spam,
  1. Open the invitation.
  2. Click Ignore and select a reason why you want to ignore the invitation.
  3. Select Report as Spam.
  • If you find inappropriate discussions, content, or spam on a group,
  1.  Open the discussion and click Flag to notify the group manager that an item might be inappropriate, or that it may need to be moved to the Jobs or Promotions tab.
  2. Click the down arrow next to Send a Message or Send InMail in the top section of the member’s profile
  • If you find inappropriate content on a profile,
  1. Click the down arrow next to Send a Message or Send InMail in the top section of the member’s profile
  2. Select Flag as inappropriate.
  3. Select a reason for flagging the profile.
  4. Click Send.

In general, you also want to check your “Email Preferences” in the LinkedIn Account dashboard and make sure that you are set up only to receive the types of messages that you are interested in getting.

Seniors On Your Mark, Get Set, Go: The Mile Markers You Need to Hit This Year

800px-Marathon_RunnersWelcome to your senior year of college! I am sure that it will prove to be an exciting culminating year of your college career. This journey is a marathon and not a sprint. If you want to have a year that sets you up for a prime position after graduation, here are 26 mile markers that you need to hit over the course of this next year:

Mile Marker 1 Add your summer internship to your resume.


Mile Marker 2 Update your StarrSearch profile.


Mile Marker 3 Create a LinkedIn account and join the Baruch SCDC LinkedIn group.


Mile Marker 4 Reach out to previous internship supervisors. These are potential mentors and at the very least an integral part of your network that you need to keep connected to.

Mile Marker 5 Have all your materials reviewed (i.e., resume, cover letter)


Mile Marker 6 Create a list of the Top 10 companies that you are interested in and get started on your research file for each of them. It will help you not rush this research when you have an interview and it will also help you to develop company research skills which are a critical long term skill to have.

Mile Marker 7Develop your network. You should set a goal to meet 3-5 new people at various stages of their career each month of your senior year. A network is critical to your job search. The majority of job seekers find a position through a network, which is more than any other job search source. Attend a networking workshop if this sounds scary or impossible.

Mile Marker 8Set up a professional twitter account and follow relevant professionals and companies. It will help you stay in the loop and watch the trends in your field and it can help you build contacts. Be conscious about your postings because your social media will be seen an extension of your professional self.

Mile Marker 9Complete the OCR workshop to become eligible to participate in the On-Campus-Recruiting program.


Mile Marker 10 Start reviewing StarrSearch for OCR relevant positions once you are eligible.


Mile Marker 11 Attend all possible events geared toward your future career goals. Learn about companies by attending pertinent corporate presentations.


Mile Marker 12 Be able to fully articulate what position you are looking for and what will make you an asset to any firm. You will have to work eventually on tailoring this to each firm that you apply to.


Mile Marker 13Attend the Fall Career Day


Mile Marker 14 Participate in the a Career Day Prep Workshop so that you are fully prepared to make the most of the Fair.


Mile Marker 15 Start reviewing all potential career opportunities on Starr Search and other job search engines by the end of Fall.


Mile Marker 16 Keep a log/spreadsheet of all the positions that you apply for and the materials that you have sent.


Mile Marker 17 Develop a buddy system or group of other senior job seekers that will help you to stay on track. You need to serve as each other’s support system when things are tough and to celebrate each other when things are going well.

Mile Marker 18 By January, attend a job search workshop so that you are full-speed ahead on your search.


Mile Marker 19 Reach out to your references to formally request their support and ask them for a letter so that you have one on file. If you need one you don’t want to ask for one last minute. You can just ask them to update the letter with necessary contact information or personalize it any way needed.

Mile Marker 20 Have a connection with a mentor or career counselor to support you through your search. It’s much harder to go it alone.


Mile Marker 21 Update your information in StarrSearch when your grades come in for the Fall semester.


Mile Marker 22 Get involved with a professional organization outside of Baruch. You need to be able to establish your commitment to the field and belonging to a professional association and participating in their events is one way to do this. You should also consider taking a leadership role. Many of these organizations have seats on their board for Members-At-Large and students seats. It never hurts to inquire.

Mile Marker 23 Thank your references periodically. It’s important to realize the time and effort it takes to be a reference. It’s important that they feel appreciated.


Mile Marker 24 Do something for some of your networking contacts. It’s important that networking not be simply focused on “What can you do for me?” It needs to be reciprocal (i.e., supporting your network as much as you would like it to support you).

Mile Marker 25 Attend Spring Career Events.


Mile Marker 26 Finally, Mile 26, Celebrate Your Successes. Job search is a process and it can take a while. It has been said that it takes about 1 month for every $10,000 you are hoping to earn. You need to focus on cheering yourself on for getting out of your comfort zone, learning something new, having an interview, etc. All of these things are important to eventually finding your first job.

Not all of these items have to be completed in the order that they appear, but you should address them all if you’d like to find yourself with a position after graduation. Remember, it’s a marathon so pace yourself, stop at rest stops for water and celebrate crossing the finish line and all the mile markers in between.








3 Things That You MUST Communicate During an Informational Interview

dreamstime_xl_6524449When you have gone through the trouble of finding the important contact, setting up the informational interview and preparing to meet the person that may very well be a critical person in your network, there are a few things that MUST happen in the meeting to make it truly worth everyone’s time. Here are the critical communications that need to happen during the course of that meeting:

  1. I know what I want to pursue and I can clearly communicate it. An informational interview is not a career counseling session. The networking contact may offer you suggestions or give their opinion about your path or plan, but you should not enter this meeting not being able to clearly articulate your path and interests in a simple, coherent, clear fashion. If you need help with this, seek the advice of a career counselor to work on this process. Now, you may have a couple avenues that you want to pursue, you need to be clear about who the networking contact is, what he/she does and how they may be of help to you so that your communications about your plans make sense to how they may assist you.
  2. I am interested in building a long lasting professional relationship with you, which includes learning more about you and your career path and considering ways in which I may be of help to you. Networking is always a two-way street and you need to approach it as such. If you are always approaching someone with “I need,” “Can you help me with,” “Could you please,” etc., your networking contacts are going to become burned out and eventually tire of helping someone who they feel is only out for themselves. So, make sure you learn how to build solid reciprocal professional relationships.
  3. Do you know anyone else I can speak with? You want to communicate a genuine interest in building a substantial network of professionals from a variety of experiences within the field. This is a great way to expand your network in a meaningful way.

An informational interview is a very critical part of the job search process, but the meeting in and of itself is not what is important. What is important is that you are clear about who you are and that you approach the meeting as a person who is interested in and passionate about the field you’re in or planning to pursue and wants to build with others within that field.


Moving Away from Your College Job Toward Your Professional Future

Key for a good job

It’s very common for students to work in part-time or full-time jobs to support themselves and/or their studies. Often these jobs in retail, administrative office work, family businesses are not the career paths that you are interested in, but they serve to provide some financial stability or contribution. However, sometimes the more difficult issue becomes the struggle to leave this position after graduation and pursue the professional area of your interest.

Here are some mistakes that many students with jobs make during their undergraduate education:

  • Not getting several internships in their professional area of interest. The complaint is often that there is no time with a job to do an internship. You must find a way to do several internships because without the relevant experience and contacts you will have a much harder time finding a job in your field.
  • Staying too long. Sometimes, the stable money is seductive and hard to resist and many college graduates stay on in the job beyond their graduation, but the farther you are away from graduation, the harder it will be to leave the job and also explain why you stayed and how that contributed to your development as a financial analyst or PR Rep.
  • Placing this job prominently on their resume. Either due to having no/few internships or the length of time at this position is seen as more valuable than relevance, many students place this job visibly on their resume. You have to have developed enough experience and skills in your new professional area that this job is rendered insignificant to your pursuits after graduation.
  • Spending little time developing their new professional identity. With a job, there is often very little time for other things. You must, though, value your networking, programming/events specific to your professional interests and developing a professional identity. You need to see yourself as a future accountant, journalist, communications professional, etc. This will help you take the next steps.

Having a job during your undergraduate degree can help you to develop all kinds of important skills – multitasking, time management and ability to quickly shift sets. However, you still must focus on your plans after graduation and pursue all the requisite training experiences needed to transition if you don’t want your part-time college job to become your profession.

3 Tips to Turn Your LinkedIn Profile from Static to Interactive

NetworkingMost job seekers today have constructed the requisite LinkedIn profile, but very few feel that they have reaped anything significant from it. LinkedIn is a powerful resource if you engage it. If you think that it will do its magic just by collecting contacts, you are sadly mistaken. You need to be an active, informed user to experience the true power of this social media platform. Here are 3 tips that can take you from an infrequent LinkedIn lurker to a fully engaged and benefiting member:

  1. Add “Skills and Expertise.” You want to add skills that your contacts will easily be able to identify you as having illustrated through their engagement with you. Don’t add every skill possible. Be selective and remember your brand and the skills that are valued in your field. Also, endorse your contacts’ skills   which will engender good will and also potentially reengage a contact that you haven’t spoken with in a while. Make sure that you actually have witnessed and can vouch for these skills. 
  2.  Use the new feature, LinkedIn Contacts. Get familiar with its capabilities and review how to use it. It catalogs conversations so you can see how long it has been since you were in contact with a colleague. It also prompts you to reach out to people on your contact list, which can be a useful reminder that you should constantly be engaging with your network–not only when you need them.
  3. Join a group that you can regularly participate in. You want to get involved in a group related to your field where you are comfortable sharing relevant articles and making useful comments. Don’t just “like” a posting instead make a comment to the person, who posted. It may turn into an important contact.

Summer Job Search: Don’t Let the Summer Slow You Down

dreamstime_19638355It’s June and the glow of graduation is quickly fading. The “What’s Next?” questions begin to be the center of your interactions with just about everyone. You are feeling a mix of relief, sadness and absolutely terrifying and paralyzing fear about this time in your life. While you may feel like it’s just you, it is pretty normal.

So, what to do about it?

First, here’s what not to do: Don’t sit around and get absorbed into a vortex of daytime TV, YouTube, Facebook, Angry Birds. This just makes the bad feelings worse, believe it or not.

Instead, get busy doing useful and positive things for yourself, your self-esteem and your future. Here are some ways to get going:

  • Join the Job Search Bootcamp – although imagining being in a group can evoke feelings of competition and potential embarrassment. Job search groups tend to help participants find a job 4x faster than doing it alone because of the supportive camaraderie that boosts your motivation to work.
  • Start attending Alumni Events – networking events are critical for building connections that will eventually support your next move. It’s important to get out there and build a community of professionals that you can count on and who also can count on you.
  • Develop a schedule – you need to treat your job search process like a job and schedule out your time so you’re not floundering and wondering what you should be doing with your time.
  • Sign up for job search alerts on major job boards – this way, you don’t have to look at them every day. You only need then to view them when a job that fits your criteria pops up. It makes your search more efficient.
  • Reach out to your references – ask your references for permission and then let them know that you will be actively applying and for what types of positions.
  • Get your materials in tip top shape – have everything reviewed and order networking business cards.
  • Update your profile on Starr Search – to make sure that it is accurate so that you are not left out of any positions that might be a fit.
  • Develop your own support group – reach out to other friends who are in the same situation. This allows you to have a support group that can empathize with you and offer you additional tips and ideas.
  • Read our job search blog posts to give you additional ideas about what you can be doing to succeed at this process.

This is only a starter list of things that can get you off the couch and into your first professional position. Start doing things and stop avoiding the feelings of fear. Your future is bright, but you need to do something about it in order to see that.

Writing Samples: How to Make Sure that You are Never Without One

3D Concept Of A Skills Puzzle.Career coaches often find that new job seekers will avoid job postings that require anything more than a resume and cover letter. Clearly, an employer is utilizing additional requirements to assist in choosing candidate with the requisite skill sets and to potentially weed out lazy applicants (i.e., they are looking for employees that will go the extra mile). As a job seeker, you do yourself an injustice not to apply for positions that are a fit because they require more of you.

One of the additional requirements often requested is a writing sample and this strikes fear in the hearts of many recent graduates. Here are some things to consider to prepare for such a moment:

  • Write for one of the publications on campus. It will guarantee a review by an editor to make sure that the product is the best representation of your work.
  • Get your papers reviewed by the writing center. It will allow you another set of eyes and also teach you the skills that you need to enhance.
  • Write a blog. You can utilize Blogs at Baruch to get your own blog and practice your writing as that is the only way you will truly get to be a stronger writer — more and more practice.
  • Take writing intensive courses. These will require you to write regularly and get used to feedback. It’s a great built in mechanism to improve your writing and have many options for writing samples.
  • Take on opportunities to write on internship. If your internship supervisor asks you to take a shot at writing a press release or other communication, do it. However, you really want to use this more for practice as most times you will not be able to use this as a writing sample.

If you are concerned about your writing skills, then the best way to address it is to write, write and then do some more writing. Don’t avoid it as your writing skills will never improve and it will always make you uncomfortable, embarrassed and inclined to avoid job applications were one is required.

3 Things to Have on Hand When You Are in the Job Search

dreamstime_940704When you are searching for a job, there is no telling when you will meet or run into the connection that moves your search a step forward. So, you always need to be prepared for such an occasion. Here are 3 things that you should be carrying at all times during your job search:

  • Your Networking Cards – you need to have a memorable networking card that is appropriate for your field. At the very least, it should contain your field, email, phone and Linkedin profile address. If you want to include things on the back of the card, consider special skill sets, areas of expertise, certifications, a QR code for your resume. Here’s an interesting video on developing eye-catching business cards.
  • A Notetaking Apparatus – either a notepad and a pen or app on your phone. You should be taking notes about the people that you meet and what your follow-up tasks are. For example, Anna Smith, Recruiter at a Tech Firm, Met at an IT Panel at Baruch, Need to connect with her on LinkedIn and also send her the article that I mentioned from CIO.
  • Access to Your Contacts – sometimes, a networking contact may need you to make an introduction. It’s great to have easy access to your contacts so you can make an immediate introduction for them. It makes an impression. This might mean have easy access to your LinkedIn with a mobile app or having them organized in some easy to access fashion.

In your professional career, you always want to be prepared to network even in the most unlikely moments. Make sure that you are never found missing the tools that you need to be an expert networker.