Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am currently an Assistant Director for Career & Professional Development at DU. In my role, I serve as a career advisor for Daniels undergraduates, Economics majors, and students enrolled in the Learning Effectiveness and Disability Services programs; I am also charged with creating non-traditional mentoring and job shadowing opportunities for all DU students.
Born and raised in Illinois – corn fields not Chicago – I went to a small liberal arts college, Bradley University, which happens to be similar to DU in many ways. My bachelor’s degree is in Marketing with a minor in Professional Sales; however, I started out as an Art Photography major and changed to Business in my Sophomore year because they eliminated Photography as a major. I worked full-time throughout college, so I wasn’t very involved on campus, but I was part of a student volunteer group for most of my academic career.
I moved to Colorado for the mountains, so I love the outdoors! I don’t love the cold, though, so I’m not a fan of winter sports, but I love hiking and water activities, and this year, I plan to learn how to rock climb and go white water rafting. I’m also a self-proclaimed foodie and mixologist, so I love to cook and entertain whenever I can.
Fun Fact: I love my job, but this is likely not where my career path ends. In my 15 years of working, I have been a bartender, receptionist, retail manager, financial advisor, marketing communications specialist, event planner, catering business owner, graphic designer, and operations manager – and in some respects, I loved all of those roles. It’s not that I didn’t know what I wanted, but each successive position helped me refine what I wanted professionally, build my skills, and meet new people who helped me along my journey. My career path has been neither straight, nor easy, but it has all built on itself to get me to this wonderful place where I can still see a whole world of opportunity in my next 40 years.
What were your experiences with Career Services during undergrad?
Although I had a part-time job in my school’s student center, where the career center was located, I had no idea they were there as a resource. I met with my career advisor one time in my senior year when I was required to do it for my graduation degree audit. In that 30 minutes, I cannot remember leaving with anything of specific value. To the best of my knowledge, I don’t remember any of my classmates talking about using the career center, either. I went to one employer information session, Humana, and ended up interviewing there for several positions. Ultimately, I decided I didn’t want to move to Kentucky, so I removed myself from the process. Overall, my experience with career services was non-existent, so now I joke that my career path is an attempt to make up for the support I didn’t get and help students realize all the exciting possibilities in the workforce to create their own careers.
What advice would you give current students on their career journey?
I have SO much advice that I want to share about career development, hence my career choice. I like Buzzfeed-style lists, so I’ll try to make it less boring with a list, but just know there is a lot more where this came from!
7 Pieces of Career Advice I Wish I Had Received as an Undergraduate
- Your major does not define your future – No one expects you to know what you want out of the rest of your life when you’re 18-22 years old. Enjoy your academics, but get some life experience, too, and be open to change.
- Take some time for self-assessment and understand what YOU want out of a career – don’t base life decisions on what your parents want, what will be easy for you, or what you think will make you a lot of money. And by the way, self-assessment is a lifetime process that you should engage in regularly.
- Don’t stop looking for a job you love until you find it (and you may find it multiple times in your life). It’s possible to have a job that is not just a paycheck.
- Ask for help– whether it’s an introduction to a hiring manager, an informational interview, or just advice through a challenging time. People are generally good and want to help, but they can’t help if you don’t ask.
- Listen– Be genuinely curious about others and how they got to where they are today. You’ll probably find that no one is where they planned to be, but that’s often a great thing! Learn from other people’s missteps, so you can avoid unnecessary challenges.
- Create your own personal Board of Advisors– There is a misconception out there that you will be matched with or find one mentor that will be your source of advice for everything. You may have one person you talk about finances with and another about career development and another about personal matters. Find experienced people with whom you connect and trust, and allow them to be your advice specialists.
- Treat the job search like dating (but never ghost an employer!) – I read an acronym a long time ago in a book called The Success Principlesby Jack Canfield and it changed my life. SWSWSWSW – Some Will, Some Won’t, So What, Someone’s Waiting. When you hear a “no”, move on. There are millions of other opportunities waiting for you out there – go find one that fits!
Students have their own Career Advisor specific to their major (yes, even undeclared students have an assigned advisor). To make an appointment:
- Log onto PCO (Pioneer Connect Online) http://du.edu/pioneercareers
- Create an account
- Click the “appointments” tab to see the availability of your Career Advisor
Any questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out!
Look out for more blogs in this series coming Spring 2018!