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Getting Started in DC: A Beginner’s Guide

Getting Started in DC: A Beginner’s Guide

Working or interning in Washington, DC, may seem like a stretch goal for many students. But according to Dr. Yuval Levin, Vice President and Hertog Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington is an exceptionally open place for people who are willing to work hard. Dr. Levin spoke recently to a group of University of Dallas students about securing work and internships in the nation’s capital.

Dr. Yuval Levin

“The world of congressional staffers is quite young,” Levin said. “The typical congressional staff will consist of 7 or 8 people in their twenties who are each assigned a specific set of issues. They’re very involved in the work of legislation.” According to Levin, working on a congressional staff is the best way to learn how Washington really works. “Congress is driven by process,” he said. “Working on a congressional staff teaches you about powerful personalities and about the scheduling and tempo of legislation.”

Working for a congressional committee or for a senior member of a committee is another way to get solid policy experience. “The substantive policy work is done in committee,” he said. Many staffers working on these committees are very young as well. Levin recalled his own experience as a young staffer: “I remember sitting on the budget committee and negotiating health care issues and thinking, ‘Do they realize I’m 21?’”

Levin said that although Executive Branch staffers are generally more experienced than Hill staffers, there are many lower-level departmental positions that offer a good start for young staffers. He emphasized that a recent graduate’s willingness to work is the most important factor in securing work in Washington. “Don’t limit yourself to one office or one area of government. If you’re willing to be paid pretty poorly, there’s work out there,” he said. Outside of working on the Hill or in the Executive Branch, Levin said that the organizations that support the policy apparatus–think tanks, party committees, and PACs–are also great places for recent college graduates to gain experience that could lead to other positions.

Levin recommends that interns or recent grads think first about working as a congressional staffer. First, it’s the easiest way to get in, and, second, working on the Hill provides the kind of experience that students can use as leverage to get other positions. “You can’t pretend to understand how government works if you haven’t seen it first hand,” Levin said.

The first step to getting a job on the Hill is to contact your local congressional representatives. “Call the offices of your two state senators and your local congressional representative,” Levin said, “and offer yourself up to opening letters, doing research, whatever they need.” This approach can work whether you’re looking for an internship or a job after graduation. “DC has a low barrier to entry,” he said, “if you’re willing to do the work.”

For more information about internships and employment in Washington, DC, or anywhere else, contact the Office of Personal Career Development for an appointment.

Alumni Give Advice on Leveraging a Liberal Arts Major

Alumni Give Advice on Leveraging a Liberal Arts Major

For many students, settling on a major is a choice that causes anxiety and quite a bit of hand wringing. Will I learn enough to succeed after graduation? Will I gain the skills I need to get a job?

At a recent panel hosted by the Office of Personal Career Development entitled “You Majored in What?” a group of UD alumni explained to anxious students how the comprehensive liberal arts education they received at UD opened doors and led to opportunities that they would never have thought possible. Below are their responses to questions posed by students, faculty and staff.

Yvonne Freeman
Bob Hyde
Steven Harrell

Matt Victorine
Shannon Doherty

How did your background in liberal arts help you in your career?

Yvonne Freeman (BA Mathematics, 1989), VP of Total Rewards, Michaels: I think people underestimate how effectively liberal arts majors can block and tackle and process problems. There were a lot of things I could’ve done–and my liberal arts degree opened up a lot of possibilities for me. I, personally, would rather hire a liberal arts major because they are better prepared to tackle the unknown.

Bob Hyde (BA Secondary Education, 1975), Senior VP, Bank of Texas: They used to say that BA stood for “didn’t buy anything,” but I disagree. One of my first assignments was to take a 6 page letter that my boss wrote, make it better and reduce it to one page. People with liberal arts degrees focus on the view from 10,00 feet instead of the microscopic view.

Steven Harrell (BA English, 2009), Communications/PR Specialist, Jackson Spaulding: Marketing and communications is really just storytelling. With a liberal arts degree and especially with an English major, you’re really trained to tell stories and to synthesize large swaths of information from an intelligent point of view.

How do you balance the pursuit of education with the pursuit of a specifically liberal education?

Shannon Doherty (BA Psychology, 2013), Business Development Analyst, GM Financial: I had no technical skills when I graduated. But it I had 90 days to get a job or I would be living in my parents’ basement. You have to find a way to gain some hard skills. Chip away at them through summer jobs and internships. That’s one thing I wish I would have done differently.

Matt Victorine (BA History, 1991), VP and Regional Manager, Fidelity Investments: When you apply to a company, learn about all the jobs that they have to offer and figure out what skills you need to get into the job you want. You want to apply to a company that teaches how to do their jobs. I’ve done hundreds of interviews and these days, if you can half-way speak well, you’re advancing to the next round.

Hyde: Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re not expected to have a full skill set when you graduate. And macroeconomics are in your favor–there’s a shrinking work force right now. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. If an opportunity doesn’t work out, chalk it up to experience. Don’t get caught in analysis paralysis.

Victorine: There’s no better job market in the country right now than Dallas/Fort Worth. It’s a fascinating time if you’re looking to explore different companies. If you’re flexible and nimble, there’s a lot of jobs out there.

Harrell: I wandered in the desert for a good long mile. But I did a lot of freelancing while still at UD and I learned to say “yes” to just about everything as long as it was ethical. Even though I might not be an expert in a particular subject, I at least had some familiarity and could move forward with a little training.

Freeman: We have a saying at Michaels that we hire for attitude and train for skills. If someone can at least carry themselves well, that’s half the battle. As a hiring manager, I know I’m not getting someone with a lot of prior experience, but I know that I can train the right person for the job.

The University of Dallas does not seem to have a high brand recognition, even in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. How have you explained UD to potential employers?

Victorine: It’s important to know your story. Explain to people that UD is a great, small university and tell them why you came here.

Harrell: The lack of recognition can be a negative but it can also be a real positive. You can tell your own story: “Here’s the kind of person I am because I went to UD,” instead of, “Oh, you went to Baylor, I know what you’re all about.”

Doherty: There are a lot of Ivy League grads in the The GE Capital Leadership program that I’m in. But because UD grads have proven themselves so well, there are more and more UD people in the program. UD people want to help UD people.

How did you gain the additional skills you needed to be successful in the job market?

Victorine: Take the first opportunity you can to get in the door of a good company, and then they will train you to do the job they want you to do. Big companies will teach you how to do the job.

Hyde: Think about what you would like to do, and then getting paid is the frosting on the cake. Look for companies that have a future and who are doing something good in the community.

Do you use your major in your job?

Freeman: Math at a liberal arts school is different from math at another college. I feel like I use my ability to think logically every day. I like having problems to solve. I would get bored otherwise.

Hyde: You’ll be surprised–you’ll use your major in unusual ways.

To make an appointment to talk about choosing a major or career field, click here.

 

 

 

 

Advice from an Entrepreneur
Flip Howard–Founder & President,
Meridian Business Centers

Advice from an Entrepreneur
Flip Howard–Founder & President,
Meridian Business Centers

A group of entrepreneurs spoke recently to students at the University of Dallas’ Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business. This series will highlight their best advice for those interested in starting their own businesses.

Flip Howard
Founder & President
Meridian Business Centers

Meridian Business Centers has been a trusted resource for office space in Dallas and Houston since 2001 by providing premier office solutions at an accessible price. Their executive office suites, virtual offices, coworking, and meeting spaces offer considerable value with very low overhead to small businesses.

  • While my friends were working for minimum wage, I painted addresses on curbs and made twice that much. I started my first business–a laundry service–in college. Now I own several companies, but my main focus is buying, renovating, and then leasing office space to small companies.
  • Most people think you need do something nobody else is doing in order to be an entrepreneur. But that’s not true–just take something someone else is doing and do it better.
  • Many people (especially younger ones) get caught in “analysis paralysis.” If you have an idea, just do it! I’ve talked to too many people that said they had always wanted to start something but never did.
  • I failed a lot, but I always learned something. Don’t be afraid to swing and miss.
  • Most successful people aren’t necessarily smarter or harder working; they just have confidence in themselves. They may fail, but they don’t care. They see everything that happens as an experience.
  • Find your parents’ five most successful friends and ask them to meet with you. Find out how they got where they are and listen to what they tell you.
Resume and Interviewing Tips
from an HR Executive

Resume and Interviewing Tips
from an HR Executive

Julie Allison, HR Executive

Who better to give you advice on your job search  than someone who looks at resumes and conducts interviews all day long? Julie Allison, an Irving-area Human Resources executive for a company that has hired many UD grads, shared some best practices for navigating the hiring process. Here are the highlights.

Job Fairs and on-campus events

  • Networking doesn’t have to be uncomfortable or scripted. It’s just a matter of walking up to someone and saying something like, “Hi. I’m Chris and I’m a student at UD majoring in Business. What do you do?”

Resumes and cover letters

  • If a resume comes across my desk with spelling or grammar mistakes, it goes in the trash.
  • The applicant uses the wrong company name in about 50% of the resumes and cover letters I see.
  • If your resume is short on work experience, highlight your campus and community involvement. This shows me that you are resourceful and adaptable. What I really want to know is what have you accomplished?
  • Your cover letter should state why you are interested in my company and why you think your background is a good fit for the position you’re applying for. Tell me why I should call you in for an interview.

Interviews

  • During an interview, you should be able to articulate what’s on your resume. Be ready to talk about not only your accomplishments, but also how you went about achieving them.
  • Always ask questions after an interview. Thoughtful questions not only show that you’ve prepared, they show that you really want to learn about the company. The right questions will help you figure out if the job is a good fit for you.

Once you land the job

  • When starting a new job or internship, don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s OK that you don’t know everything. We don’t assume that you do–and neither should you.

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Your Job Hunt Back on Track
Research, Relevance, Repeat

Getting Your Job Hunt Back on Track
Research, Relevance, Repeat

Image courtesy of pixababy.com

Has your job hunt got you down? Here are some tips to from Julie Jernigan, Director of the University of Dallas’ Office of Personal Career Development, to get your search back on track.

“It can get frustrating if you’re applying to positions and not hearing back,” said Jernigan. “And if you’re not getting interviews, you need to reevaluate how you’re applying and what materials you’re submitting.”

Jernigan says to focus on the 3 Rs–Research, Relevance and Repeat

Research

Look at job hunting websites like indeed.com and higheredjobs.com, but don’t stop there. Go directly to the career sections on the websites of companies for whom you want to work and apply directly.

Read every word of the job description before you apply. In fact, copy and paste it into a text document that you can refer to later if the job posting is removed. Read through all pages of the company’s website and check out their social media and LinkedIn pages.

Jernigan also emphasizes that you must read ALL of your emails. OPCD often sends out job leads from companies that want to hire UD students and grads. You can also sign up for mobile job alerts by clicking here.

Relevance

If you have 75% of the qualifications listed in a job description, then APPLY. Tailor your job description to the qualifications the employer is asking for. That means using strong verbs that show the employer that your experience reflects what the company wants for the position. According to Jernigan, a hiring manager should be able to tell within 6-10 seconds that your experience aligns with the job.

Repeat

Jernigan says that if you are serious about finding a job, you should be applying to 5-10 positions per week: “Realistically, it takes two hours to apply for a job because each resume you use should be different based on the required qualifications of the job.”

To keep track of all your different resumes, Jernigan recommends creating a separate folder on your computer for each job you apply to. In the folder, put the resume and cover letter you used, as well as a text copy of the job description.

Another tip: create a spreadsheet with an entry for each job you apply for. Include the company name, the job title, the contact person, the date you applied.

For help with your job search or your resume, contact the Office of Personal Career Development.

 

Becoming an Entrepreneur: Risks and Rewards

Becoming an Entrepreneur: Risks and Rewards

Becoming an entrepreneur is a dream for many, albeit a risky one. Those who’ve taken the leap and started their own business will tell you it’s scary and rewarding all at the same time. 

Mark Shrayber

Three local entrepreneurs, Mark Shrayber, President and co-founder of muv, a Dallas-based events and transportation company; Sonia Kirkpatrick, founder and CEO of PediaPlex, an all-inclusive pediatric diagnostic and therapeutic clinic; and Jake Thompson, founder and Chief Encouragement Officer of Compete Every Day, a global lifestyle brand, spoke to Dr. Laura Munoz’s Global Entrepreneurship class at the University of Dallas about what it takes to start and grow a successful business.

The panelists began by answering a question about networking. Shrayber, who started his business at fresh out of college at age 22, said that a big part of networking is hustle. “I’ve worked since I was 13 so I know how to hustle,” he said. “So I talked to anyone who would listen. In order to build

Sonia Kirkpatrick

your network, always have your radar on. But don’t network just for the purpose of networking. Learn to care about other people.”

Thompson agreed. “Networking is not speed dating,” he said. “The key to networking is giving more than you get. Ask other people questions like ‘What are you working on? How can I help you?’”

Kirkpatrick, already successful in business by the time she started PediPlex, relied on her contacts to help her grow her network. “I started my business as a capstone project during my MBA at the University of Dallas. Plus, I won a Texas Business Hall of Fame scholarship and I got insights from some of the top business leaders in the state,” she said.  “They all agreed that you should always surround yourself with people who know more than you do.”

Jake Thompson

Although having a strong network of contacts can help entrepreneurs navigate tricky situations early in the startup process, all three panelists agreed that a little ignorance can be advantage. “At age 22, I think I was too dumb to know any better,” said Shrayber. “I tried to do everything. I was operating a limo company but I hated the headache of running the cars and drivers. Sometimes you have to decide what you are going to be great at. I realized I would be great at solving bigger problems for my clients.” Schrayber added that eventually, an entrepreneur’s confidence grows as they gain success over time. “But confidence is not the same thing as arrogance. Confidence is something you gain over time,” he said.

The panelists also discussed how to overcome the fear of failure that goes hand in hand with starting a business. Kirkpatrick said that quitting a great job was definitely scary: “About two years in, I said to myself, ‘Oh my gosh, what have I done?’ I had a lot to lose at the time.” Although starting a business comes with risk, Thompson recommended running head-on into failure: “So what if you fail? The world’s not going to explode. Nobody really cares. The people you really care about will help you pick yourself back up and keep going,” he said.

Doubts often accompany the fear of failure during the early days of their businesses. Thompson said that sometimes he questioned if he actually had what it would take to make it work. “I would ask myself, ‘Can I really do this?’” But a friend pointed out to him that since his brand focuses on inspiring people to greatness, he really had no choice. “He said, ‘You gotta keep going, no matter how hard it gets. It’s who you are.’” Kirkpatrick said although she had doubts, one person kept her going—her husband. “He wouldn’t let me give up,” she said. Shrayber added that many entrepreneurs succumb to their doubts and give up too early instead of adapting their plans to meet the needs of their market. “Sometimes it’s just luck, he said. “But you can make your own luck by keeping your radar on and staying humble. Always be a student and willing to learn from others and from your mistakes.”

 The University of Dallas Executives on Campus program was founded to further the University’s mission of providing practice-based education, by inviting successful business leaders to share their experience with graduate and undergraduate students in the classroom. Through this program, alumni, business leaders, and their companies are invited to partner with the University in our shared pursuit of management excellence. For more information click here.

 

Goldman Sachs: The People and Culture (as shared by Goldman Sachs Campus Recruiting)

Goldman Sachs: The People and Culture (as shared by Goldman Sachs Campus Recruiting)

WELCOME TO OUR SUMMER NEWSLETTER

We are excited by your interest in the Summer Internship Program and look forward to seeing you during fall recruiting season. This four-part newsletter series will share useful information about our culture, business and summer analyst internship opportunities. You will find resources to help you understand the application process (summer applications open July 15) and prepare to interview.

Thank you,
Goldman Sachs Campus Recruiting

 

 
WORKING AT GOLDMAN SACHS
Our people come from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds including finance, engineering, science, technology and the humanities. You will draw strength from a highly collaborative and intellectually stimulating environment, and you will be part of a team that helps you succeed.
GET TO KNOW OUR PEOPLE AND CULTURE

 

 
GS SNAPSHOTS
Explore life away from the desk at Goldman Sachs. Learn about our heritage, community involvement, wellness offerings and more.
 
COMMUNITY TEAMWORKS
Through Community TeamWorks, the people of Goldman Sachs contribute their ideas and expertise to drive tangible progress in communities where we work and live.
 
OUR PEOPLE
Wes, an analyst on the Insurance Asset Management team within GSAM in New York, discusses the importance of networking with fellow GS employees.

 

 
ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL AND GOVERNANCE REPORT
As a global financial services company, we are in a position to help address global environmental and social challenges, and to support opportunities for economic growth, including within local communities.
 
ANALYST IMPACT FUND
Goldman Sachs Gives has launched the 2017 Analyst Impact Fund, a global competition where teams of Goldman Sachs analysts collaborate with peers to potentially secure a grant to make an impact through a chosen nonprofit.
 
EMPLOYEE AFFINITY NETWORKS
Employee affinity networks and interest forums, which are open to all professionals at Goldman Sachs, develop programs that support our firm’s diversity and inclusion strategy.
LEARN MORE

BRIEFINGS
Careers Blog
Events at GS
Our Divisions
Social Impact
Talks at GS

6 Keys to a Professional LinkedIn Profile

6 Keys to a Professional LinkedIn Profile

This post originally appeared on June 30, 2016.

Statistics show that about 80 percent of today’s jobs are landed through networking. But how, exactly, do you go about finding opportunities to network? Robert Yale, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business, spoke to Director of Career Services & QEP Julie Janik’s career development class about making professional connections and building your personal brand through LinkedIn. “LinkedIn is not Facebook for the over-40 crowd,” said Yale. “It’s a social network for professionals with over 450 million users. It can be the bridge between you and potential employers if you work diligently to create a profile that sets you apart.”

Here are the dos and don’ts that make for a successful student LinkedIn profile:

Get a professional photo
Eye tracking studies show that recruiters spend 20 percent of their time focused on the photo in a LinkedIn profile. Because of this, Yale says you must use a professional image: “Use a tightly cropped photo. Wear business attire and make sure you’re recognizable.” And make sure you’re the only person/animal/object in the photo: “Don’t use an image of you with a dolphin unless you’re a dolphin trainer.” And beware: if you don’t upload a photo, LinkedIn will choose one from another of your social media accounts. What first impression do you want to make?

Don’t list your class year
According to Yale, listing your class year (freshman, sophomore, etc.) can exclude you from a recruiter’s searches. If, for instance, you forget to update your status from sophomore to junior, any keyword searches looking for juniors will bypass your profile. Another note about searches: list your degree by its acronym (BA, MBA). That’s what automatic searches are programmed to look for.

Complete the experience section with future employers in mind
This means don’t list your title as “student” in the experience section. “College is about more than being a student,” said Yale. “So in the experience section, list all of your volunteer and extracurricular activities, as well as your internships and summer jobs.” Think hard about what you learned and how those experiences translate into transferable skills. List those skills in your profile.

Don’t sell yourself short
When writing about your experience, don’t minimize the work you did by over-clarifying the position. If you were a student worker, list your job title only — do not list it as “student worker for XYZ Department.” Don’t describe your work at a day camp as a “short summer job.” Instead, focus on how you met your employer’s expectations and what skills you gained as a result of the experience.

Be definitive and declarative in all your profile entries
Don’t say you are “planning to go to graduate school” or “hoping to land an internship with a large accounting firm.” Instead, show the steps you are taking to reach that goal. Statements like “preparing for medical school” or “completing course work required to secure internship” are straightforward and goal oriented. As Yoda says, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Make connections
Yale hears many students say they don’t have connections beyond school. “So get creative,” he said. “Start thinking about your parents and their friends, aunts, uncles, and your friends’ parents. Once you make your first layer of connections, the doors are open for you to connect with their connections, and so on.” This is also where networking comes in. When you go to a job fair, pick up cards from employers that interest you and add them to your network. If you notice that one of your connections is linked to a person that could help you or a company you’d like to work for, ask your connection if they will introduce you. “Be diligent, and your network will grow exponentially,” said Yale.

Visit the OPCD website for more career advice.

Executives on Campus: Aaron Bujnowski, Texas Health Resources

Executives on Campus: Aaron Bujnowski, Texas Health Resources

Creating a winning strategy for the largest health care system in the Dallas/Fort Worth area may seem like a daunting task. But Aaron Bujnowski, Senior Vice President of Strategy and  Planning for Texas Health Resources feels that striving to provide the best quality care for patients gives his work deep meaning. “If we decide to build a new hospital, maybe in the long run, someone’s child or grandchild will be helped because of that decision,” he said. Bujnowski spoke recently to a group of University of Dallas business students about the role of strategic planning in a large corporation.

Aaron Bujnowski

Bujnowski told students that the key to strategic planning is to get the best return on limited resources. “You don’t need a strategy if you have unlimited resources,” he said. “But if your resources are limited, you have to make tactical choices to set the direction of the company. It’s hard to say no, but limited resources require that you must.”

According to Bujnowski, companies must understand that there is an important distinction between goals and strategy. “Vision statements and goals are aspirations,” he said. “But a good strategy is a clear definition of the choices required to achieve those goals.”

Perhaps the primary job of a strategic planner, Bujnowski said, is insight–insight into customer habits, analytics, market forces, and how current trends could possibly lead to disruption in the marketplace. “Strategy is always looking to see what’s coming down the road,” he said. As an example, Bujnowski described how Kodak did not see the disruption that cell phone cameras would have on its core camera business until it was too late for them to become a force in the market. “Disruption happens,” he said. “And strategists are constantly looking for ways in which things like new technology can cause that disruption.”

Bujnowski said that Texas Health Resources is paying close attention to how healthcare is changing in order to stay ahead of the innovation curve. “Consumerism is an important force in health care now,” he said. “Since people are paying more out of pocket of their healthcare costs, they expect a certain level of customer service to go along with that, a level that’s not been traditionally associated with healthcare.” According to Bujnowski, companies like Texas Health Resources are adopting strategies that focus on customer satisfaction, with features like online scheduling and app-based wait-time calculators to decrease time spent in the actual health clinic.

Starting a career in strategic planning often means going to work for a large consultancy firm and then specializing in a particular business sector. This can lead, then, to an in-house strategy position at a firm within that sector. “Good consultants look for patterns,” Bujnowski said. “They also look for anomalies, analogies, and compromises. But the best consultants can figure out how to break those compromises and get the maximum result.”

The University of Dallas Executives on Campus program was founded to further the University’s mission of providing practice-based education by inviting successful business leaders to share their experience with graduate and undergraduate students in the classroom. Through this program, alumni, business leaders, and their companies are invited to partner with the University in our shared pursuit of management excellence.

For help with your resumé or to make an appointment with a career counselor, click here.