The Words of the Roomet Family
Victoria Roomet graduated from Brandeis University in 2009 majoring in psychology. She is currently CARP Vice President. She is from Queens, NY.
The following is an excerpt from CARP's networking hour at the Blessed Culture and Sports Festival, 2010. The purpose of the networking hour was to encourage both internal and external excellence among our youth.
Great questions were raised for a panel of young professionals, and useful advice was given, especially for college students; check it out:
Q: How did you decide on your major or career?
I always knew interior design was what I wanted to do. I took an interior design class in high school. I also shadowed other interior designers to make sure that is what I wanted to do (which I really encourage because interior design is a very trendy career right now, especially with the popularity of HGTV). So if you are thinking about it, I'd love to talk to you and also encourage you to shadow some interior designers to see if that is something you would like to do.
When I went into my freshman year I started with a concentration of biomedical engineering. The reason why I chose that major was because in high school, my best classes were in math and science, so I just put it all together into that major. The only problem was in my first year for biomedical engineering, they asked the graduating class to walk on stage. There were about 100 people in the room and only 12 people walked on the stage. After seeing that I realized I'm not going to be one of those 12, so I might as well get out. I ended up transferring to the business school.
A lot of people don't know what to major in in college because there are so many things to choose from. I knew I wanted to do art because I love art. In high school all I knew about in the art field was illustration. But when I went into art school I saw some shows that representatives from different majors put on, and that is how I learned about textiles -- the field I ended up studying and pursuing.
When I went into college I didn't know what I wanted to do. I majored in computer science, because I heard they made a lot of money. But when I went to my first class, I had a similar experience to Naokimi -- I didn't know what they were talking about so I dropped it. I was undecided for two years, and then I took a graphic design class and learned Photoshop. I was good at Photoshop, and I took a 3D class that I was passionate about and was actually the best at it in my class. That is what I ended up pursuing.
Q: I have been printing and sending out a lot of Résumés but haven't been getting any response. Do you have advice about searching for jobs for someone who just graduated from college?
One thing I learned as a psych major is it is particularly challenging getting a job with a bachelor's degree; you have to take what you can get and work with it. Sometimes it is not going to be exactly what you want to do long term, but doing different things is helpful. I worked at a psych hospital, which is a very demanding and challenging field, and it is not exactly what I want to do long-term, but it was a good experience to have to begin with. I have learned to personally keep my options open. I now do administrative work for a private practice -- again, not what I want to do long term but it is good to learn the financial end of the field. If you have a financial crunch and you really need to get a job, it's okay to do a job not necessarily in your field, but then in your free time volunteer or intern in the field you really want to pursue. It is important to get your foot in the door.
Johil and Koichi:
It is difficult to get a job just by sending in a Résumé or portfolio cold, without any follow-up. So, call back; if you send in a Résumé, call back two days later because they get thousands of Résumés.
There is a lot you can do with your Résumé. First, the nature of your cover letter is very important. Reach out to people in your community and get some help and feedback so you can write a dynamic cover letter. It is difficult to apply for jobs straight out of school because employers are looking for people with work experience. But, what you can do is think about some of the activities you did while at school that built your skill-sets: maybe you picked up a skill in college helping out with a sorority, or volunteering at a service project. You can put something under communication, like "I'm a great communicator. I've worked with diverse groups; I'm great at building harmony on a team." Think about ways to sell yourself, such as: are you a good presenter? Many times an employer is looking for someone who is going to be committed, trustworthy, a good communicator, responds well to direction. What have you done that can show the qualities that employers are looking for?
Question: How did you get into Wharton School and how valuable has it proven to be?
The reason I got in was through STF. I had a good GPA, was valedictorian at my high school, and that was important. However, I think the majority of people at UPenn were valedictorians. So what made me unique was the stuff I did for the church; I lived overseas studying in Korea for a year, I went to Mongolia through RYS, and I did STF. In fact, I interviewed with the people from UPenn while I was in Illinois, fundraising. I had a strong academic focus but I also did things that made me stand out. I knew what major I wanted when I was applying (accounting) so I also included a list of things I had done in high school around that major. I made sure to highlight in my essay the things in particular that I had done up to that point to show I was really interested and serious about accounting. Highlight what you have done that will make you succeed at Wharton.
How beneficial was it? It is great for dropping names. The big benefit of your college degree is to get your foot in the door for your first job. Once you do that, it is really sink or swim. You do have benefits from your network. One of the partners at the accounting firm I was at was a Wharton graduate, so he kind of took me under his wing. But for the most part, it hasn't been super helpful outside of the fact that I had a good education and the school is respected.
Question: How many of you can relate your hire as originating from some kind of network?
I know that it is true for engineering. Just from my own experience, a lot of my classmates and I have had a lot of success getting jobs from references and through the networks we have among students, professors and other professionals. One really great website that a lot of engineers are starting to use is linkedin.com. It is popular because you can see other professionals in your field of interest, what they are doing, and how they are connected to people in a particular company or field you might be interested in. They can see a whole profile of what your interests are and what you've done. A lot of us have gotten jobs, if not directly through our own networks, then through our professors who know a lot of people around the country or through specialized conferences.
I got my job from a career fair held at my university, and actually the person who hired me was from my university. Definitely use your network. Linkedin is also a good tool. When I started to look at other options for work, I noticed that a lot of HR managers are on linkedin, so it is important to keep your profile updated and answer all of their sections. A lot of these industries have a revolving door and high turnover rates. Just speaking for the field of communications and PR, a lot of people are moving from one place to another. It is definitely important to make sure whatever platform you are using, whether through linkedin, Facebook, or a different kind of professional networking site, make sure you are absolutely selling and positioning yourself in the best way possible -- you never know who is going to look at it and you can definitely create a lot of relationships that way. Again, networking is definitely important.
I just wanted to add one thing: There are a lot of established second-generation Unificationists who are older than you are who have a very strong connection to the community. Many are established in finance, interior design, etc. I just bumped into an older friend who is a creative director of one of the largest ad agencies in America, or the world. He is like Don Draper of Madmen. If you want to get a job, you should leverage this network, and one way to do that is talk to Hero or Victoria and they can reach out to me or some of the older ones and we can reach out to the other older ones on your behalf as well, so just keep that in mind.
Following the question and answer segment, C. Patterson shared the value of building a network (based on the podcast: www.manager-tools.com/2006/05/ building-a-network), and he gave practical tips on how to network. Take a look:
I thought I'd just share three points with you about the value of building a network and then tips on how to get started today with your peers here.
1. Start small and keep it simple
A lot of people think they have to have a giant rolodex with 100 names, all executives making 6 figures, etc. as their network. That is not the case. Networking has to do mostly with your peers. It is about connecting with people who are pursuing similar jobs and have the same passions and interests, understanding what skill and expertise they have and also what you have. It is about quality, not quantity. Don't be exclusive. Don't think: "I only want to network with 4.0 GPAs who already have jobs waiting for them when they get home, or really wealthy people who drive a Mercedes." You never know where people end up; you never know where a classmate may end up and what profession they might be in. You also never know what profession or skills might be handy for you. So, be open and be welcoming to your peers and to others.
2. Don't be selfish; care about others
Don't just take; find ways to give. It is not just about getting favors from people that you know, but it is about what you can give. One of my friends connected with me because he was just laid off from a financial firm a few months ago. I thought: "Who do I know in the finance industry?... Gelo. I just sent Gelo a quick email, telling him about my friend, and coincidentally someone had just left Gelo's firm that week and there was a job opening. He sent me the job description and I sent him my friend's Résumé. You never know what kind of opportunities are out there. Look at opportunities where you can connect other people together. You may be the dot in the middle that connects two people that really need each other. It is really about building real and valuable relationships with people.
3. Stay connected
Building a network is a process, not just a bunch of cocktail hours. You have to start building up relationships, and that is when they can become valuable. You don't just meet once and get their business card so in a year or two when you need that person you can just call them immediately; that doesn't work. It takes time and is a continual process. You have to keep building up these relationships. Learn about your contacts, their family, and their background. That is when people will really care about helping you out as well. For me personally, I have calendar reminders to meet up with people and connect with people. I have to do that because I am so busy: I do a lot of travelling for my work, I am always on the computer, I am always running around and I need that reminder. It may seem kind of mechanical at first and not really personal; but the reality is that I do it because I care and I really want to keep in touch with these people.
Tammy Christian: graduated in '09 from Syracuse, major: biology and magazine journalism. Currently in healthcare PR.
Gelo Fleisher: graduated in '04 from Wharton School of Business UPenn, major: accounting. Currently local unit controller in an insurance company, has small side company making computer games.
Kamiye Furuta: graduated from Columbia '99, BU school of law '03, was practicing at law firms for 7 years, last year joined MCNY group (parent company for New Yorker Hotel). Currently general counsel at New Yorker Hotel
Tamara Gavin: University of Minnesota, degree in interior design '05, currently an interior designer and volunteer coordinator for Lovin' Life Ministries.
Koichi Nakai: Master's from NYU in visual effects, digital imaging and design. Has done work with NBC, currently working at Lovin' Life Ministries.
C. Patterson: 2009 graduate of Pace, major: Business management, HR, and info systems. Currently an internal auditor for information systems.
Megan Patterson: originally from Maine, BA in Psychology from Unification Church Berkeley, worked for a psychiatric hospital as a mental health worker, currently works for a mental health private practice in New Jersey.
Johil Ross: graduated from RISD in textile design, worked at a bedding company in NYC. Currently trying to start own line as textile designer.
Celine Tardy: Rutgers, double major in psychology and school of communications, started out as a counselor at Americorps, currently does web content editing at HSA-UWC, USA.
Naokimi Ushiroda: graduated in '04 from Wharton School of Business UPenn, did CARP (2.5 yrs) and youth education (2.5 yrs). Currently Assistant Comptroller for HSA-UWC, USA.
Namvan Vanderstock: went to college in Utrecht, the Netherlands, major: management economy and law, real estate. Worked for a management company renovating student housing and other properties. Currently national property manager of HSA-UWC, USA.