Connections. Confidence. Career Architecture.
Loyola’s Career Center supports and prepares students every step of the way
Isabelle Garrity, ’20, Communication Major/Marketing Minor
When I talk about how robust the Loyola Career Center is—and how often I’ve popped in to ask a question or advice or find out when the next workshop is—my friends who go to other schools are shocked.
For most of my friends who attend other universities, it sounds like if they have visited their career centers (many have not), they have received mostly generic career advice. None of my friends have relationships with their career service team like my peers and I do at Loyola.
I’ve shown them emails I’ve received from the Career Center staff, who I’ve worked with extensively over the past two years to make career connections with my studies, my interests, and my career goals. I’ve described the different platforms I have access to as a student. They can’t believe the resources I have at my disposal.
The difference at Loyola is that every relationship is personal.
The Career Center here recognizes that there isn’t just one formula for success. Each student requires different improvements, different practice, and different strategies. And this is what sets our Career Center apart.
A constant pursuit
A little background about my experience with Loyola’s Career Center…
After a busy spring my sophomore year applying for various internships, I left Loyola in May feeling defeated. Even after a tremendous amount of interview practice and résumé development with the Career Center, I hadn’t landed my dream summer internship. I hadn’t landed a second or third choice, either. I was frustrated because I couldn’t understand what else I could have done. I was thirsty for experience and eager to be a part of a new work environment.
Only two weeks after returning to New Jersey for the summer, I received a call from a member of the Career Center team. Eileen Hiebler, associate director for career connections, had met with a Loyola graduate who was looking for a digital marketing intern to assist with marketing her product for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Even as the school year ended and summer began, the Career Center had kept my name in mind for positions. As Eileen heard the details of this remote internship, she knew this would be a perfect match for me.
And so began my role in a company I’ve been working with for two years. On the side, I was also able to work with Shirley Villagray, founder of One Smart Cookie Cutter. It was an incredibly valuable experience. I owe the Career Center tremendously for opening the door to this opportunity. Eileen reminded me that the job and application process is never over, it is a constant pursuit.
With this perspective in mind, I have shifted the way I think about opportunities—and about my own professional development, aiming to be better in any way possible. When I thought things had come to a dead end, the Career Center showed me that growth and unexpected opportunities are constant components of the career process—as a student looking for an internship and beyond my time at Loyola.
Practice makes perfect
I have been able to effectively work with the Career Center staff one-on-one. My confidence in interviews has improved tremendously. The preparation I’ve been afforded has led me to gain confidence in every interview; I’ve learned how to harness my skills and model them for the specific position I am interviewing for.
The Career Center instilled in me the notion that two of my greatest assets are my mouth and my ears. I am more confident in my voice than ever. I now understand the importance of listening. Effective listening has been a key component in my interviews. When I ask questions, I focus on listening to the answer to help me determine where I fit into an organization’s equation.
The Career Center has allowed me to take a critical and constructive angle at my strengths and weaknesses. Instead of asking me to list what I perceive of as my strengths, the Career Center team has helped me identify ways in which my strengths have shined in the context of my experience. The more I noticed these characteristics, the more I believed in them. I have become more conscious of how self-motivated I am, and this is something I am able to communicate to interviewers effectively.
Through events, career fairs, and technology, the Career Center has been able to direct me to potential employers, networks, and passionate alumni.
Handshake has served as a great tool. It’s allowed me to hear about the various networking opportunities on campus and allowed some of my organizations—my Public Relations Student Society of America, for one—to advertise our events, like our Internship Panel for students.
Platforms like LinkedIn and Indeed are great for job searching, but Handshake is unique because it allows students to set up potential on-campus interviews. Additionally, Handshake offers more transparent information about job positions that students and applicants can’t find online. In a job arena where online presence is making things less and less personal, Handshake offers an opportunity for the job search to be more direct and meaningful.
The other thing I like about Handshake is the fact that the employers on the platform have said they are looking to employ Loyola students and graduates. It’s a huge confidence booster as I look at these various positions to explore. I feel more positive about my application knowing employers have an idea of the remarkable school I attend.
Through Loyola Connect, I have been able to reach out to alumni who have expressed their eagerness to help Loyola students—providing mentorship in their field, offering to help with career placement, and more. Loyola Connect allows me to search and reach dozens of different companies—and I can filter Loyola alumni by their locations and majors. This tool adds a whole new dimension of career exploration and potential.
Nothing is out of reach
When I first started to apply to positions, I shied away from any company that seemed “too good to be true” for me. The Career Center has taught me that any company is not “too good to be true.”
Even after taking big jumps, landing interviews at amazing companies (like S’well), and not getting the job, I’ve realized everything is worth a shot. It takes just one small connection, one call, or maybe one email to enhance your application. The Career Center has provided me with the confidence to go after any role at any company.
Beyond career preparation, I’ve made meaningful relationships and found incredible mentors. I am fueled by my own passion and the energy that exist within the Career Center’s team.
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