STAC Director of Career Development shares advice for students, the impact of her Office’s programming, and the power of networking with alumni

By Kathryn Cambrea

(Photo courtesy Maureen Mulhern): STAC Director of Career Development, Maureen Mulhern, poses for her headshot.

*If anyone has insight about jobs, internships, interviews, resumes, and career-worthy resources, it would be STAC Director of Career Development Ms. Maureen Mulhern. In an interview for the STAC Office of Career Development’s podcast, “After Class,” Ms. Mulhern described the power of networking and building connections with alumni, her thoughts on the future of virtual internships, the effects of the Office of Career Development’s programs, tips for STAC students in pursuit of their careers, and so much more. Click here to listen to the interview with Ms. Mulhern on Spotify or here to listen on Apple Podcasts. 

“It seems like some of what we do here in just plugging our students into connections, leads to opportunities.”

These are the words of STAC’s Director of Career Development, Ms. Maureen Mulhern. The STAC Office of Career Development has held and continues to provide a variety of programs to assist students as they pursue their careers. A couple examples include the “Real World Tours” program where students get to visit the sites of companies to learn more about them as well as the annual Job and Internship Fair. Mulhern has seen the effects of her programs that have helped students land internships firsthand. It can be and has been achieved from simply attending a trip. It has also been achieved from a number of her events.

Mulhern said that the common question that students tend to ask her is how to find jobs and internships. However, multiple steps have to be taken in order to get to this point. 

“Before we can talk about where to find a job or an internship, I first want to understand what the student is looking to do, so if it’s an internship, what’s your goal? What career do you want to try out and test the waters in?” Mulhern said. 

From there, Mulhern will direct a student to creating his/her own resume as well as creating a LinkedIn profile. She recommends that students even use SpartanJobs, a resource exclusive to STAC students and alumni to find jobs and internships.

Speaking of a LinkedIn profile, Ms. Mulhern feels that there are multiple components of it that make a student immediately stand out to potential employers, such as what a student puts in his/her headline. She believes that the ability to include recommendations distinguishes one’s LinkedIn profile from others as well. Also, she finds that the “Publications” feature is valuable not only if a student has work that is published, but if a student was ever interviewed or written about by a publication. 

“It’s kind of about standing apart from the pack,” Mulhern said, “You don’t want to just do what everybody else is doing. If you have something unique, it’s going to be a great thing to add to that profile to let the employer understand the depth of you.” 

She encourages students to treat LinkedIn profiles as online resumes and portfolios as well as a channel to network, especially with alumni. In fact, there are groups on LinkedIn that students can join to do just that. These include the “St. Thomas Aquinas College Career Development” as well as “STAC Alumni Career Advising Network” groups. An extra benefit of joining the group tied to the Office of Career Development in particular is that students can learn about available jobs and internships shared by Mulhern. 

Mulhern has described how knowing STAC students is very important to her. After all, she is in contact with multiple recruiters as well as potential employers. Therefore, she has to know students in order to refer them to these people. How does a student become known by Mulhern?

“It’s those students who are coming to my programs, meeting with me, taking advantage of all the services we offer, those are the students that resonate in my mind, and I see them as students who are serious about their career,” Mulhern said. 

In addition to meeting with Mulhern, even if done in a virtual capacity, Mulhern recommends that students take the time to get to know and build relationships with alumni. She echoed a term used by STAC alumna, Mary Duffy, to embody STAC students: grit. Mulhern feels that alumni share this same quality, and described this commonality.

“Not all employers know STAC, but our alumni understand the STAC student, and they, a lot of them had grit and still do have grit and worked really hard to get where they are. They want to see other STAC students have those same opportunities, so we amongst STAC, the STAC community I’ll say, have really established that reputation of being motivated enough to work hard when we do get an opportunity and prove ourselves, and then, that’s what it’s all about [be]cause ultimately each student is setting the path for their career journey,” Mulhern said. “They work hard, people will recognize that. Most likely, you will be rewarded in some way, so I think alumni recognize that in our students.”

Mulhern even recalled the story of an alumna who as a student at STAC successfully networked with an alum employed at KPMG. She said that this alum not only opened the door to that student interning for the accounting firm, but earning a full-time position for the same firm as well.

“Alumni a lot of time will go over above and beyond to try to help our students,” Mulhern said.

Despite the Office of Career Development modifying its programming to a virtual format, it is still providing assistance to students. Mulhern described how although the “Real World Tours” are not continuing currently in an on-site capacity, a virtual tour was held for students to learn about Madison Square Garden. Furthermore, the Office of Career Development has helped put together multiple events, such as the “Accounting Mock Interview and Forum,” “Dining Etiquette,” the “Entrepreneur Panel,” an information session about graduate school, and so much more. The Office of Career Development even has offered resume workshops and virtual walk-in hours to assist students with creating their resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Students are always welcome to email Mulhern to meet with her directly one-to-one over Google Meet for any assistance.

When it comes to creating resumes, Mulhern feels that there is value in multiple categories beyond jobs and internships, such as leadership roles a student may have as well as any volunteering experiences. Such attributes can be highlighted in an interview as well as an answer to a question that Mulhern said that many employers are asking.

“When a student or candidate is going on interviews, the employers are asking, ‘What did you do with your time during COVID?’” Mulhern said. 

“…Were you maybe getting creative in writing a blog, or did you design a website?…Did you participate in some of those community service opportunities? Did you maybe even start writing a book? What did you do? Maybe you did an online internship. What did you do? Did you get a part-time job?”

Mulhern feels that even helping a sick family member during this time has tremendous value. To her, employers tend to see more value in students who not only care about academics, but strive for involvement in extracurricular activities as well as opportunities in volunteering and work, both on and off campus. 

These are not only great additions to one’s resume, but important areas of discussion in an interview. 

It is evident that multiple internships have shifted from in-person to virtual, but Mulhern feels that after the COVID-19 pandemic, employers will want interns to return to the sites. She also finds that it is easier for employers to see how hardworking an intern is when the student can approach the employer at a desk and ask if any assistance is needed. She feels that aspect is lost in a virtual internship. Nonetheless, Mulhern can envision some aspects of internships remaining virtual, such as meetings or training sessions. 

Evidently, many internships have become virtual, and so have interviews. When it comes to interviews, whether they may be in-person or virtual, Mulhern feels that students must take the time to truly research the company and position they are applying for as well as ask questions and follow up with a thank-you note. 

However, an opportunity like an interview may start with a connection. 

“I always say to students that every connection is a good connection because even though the person you get to know may not do anything that you’re interested in, they may have a next-door neighbor who does or a cousin or a friend, so every connection is a great connection,” Mulhern said.

Connections are not always people of a desired industry. They are professors at STAC. 

“All the faculty and administrators at STAC, one of the things that I can say about us, is we all really care about the students, and we all have that same goal: success for our students.”

Mulhern can be that first connection, and she has plenty.

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STAC alumna Patricia Stark reflects on internship and work experiences, discusses current endeavors, and offers advice to STAC students with Calmfidence®️

By Kathryn Cambrea

(Photo courtesy Patricia Stark): Patricia Stark poses for her headshot.

*In an interview for the STAC Office of Career Development’s podcast, “After Class,” STAC alumna Patricia Stark spoke about her company Patricia Stark Communications, Calmfidence®️, the internships she had as a STAC student, advice she has regarding interviews and finding internships, her new book and podcast, and so much more. Click here to listen to the podcast on Spotify or here to listen on Apple Podcasts. This article can also be accessed on The Thoma.

“Suddenly, when you find yourself in a new situation, or you’re expanding your comfort zone, you can get that agitation and that, you know, your heart rate and that anxiety. I looked and I was like, ‘What’s a blend of those two?’ and it came down to the word, Calmfidence®️.”

These are the words of Patricia Stark, a proponent of positivity who has left her mark in the field of communications. She also happens to be an alumna of St. Thomas Aquinas College’s class of 1988. In no way is Stark a stranger to the screen. She has extensive experience in television broadcasting, including experience in radio. The areas of health and wellness in particular appeal to Stark. She continues to appear as a guest with knowledge in the area of communication on the news. 

In fact, Stark has even acted in programs such as Law and Order: Criminal Intent as well as in films, such as W.E. Stark has served as a television news anchor and journalist, and even a host of a radio program called “Inside & Out with Patricia Stark,” so she has been called to play a newscaster for a variety of roles. For the film, W.E., specifically, not only did she play a role that she has authentically completed throughout her career as a newscaster, but she even got to work under the direction of Madonna.  

And now? Stark is the president of Patricia Stark Communications, but she also branded the term Calmfidence®️, which embodies the coaching that she provides not only to people who appear on-screen, but for situations of everyday life. Stark trains clients individually as well as through workshops. Circumstances that call for coaching range anywhere from appearing on television or presenting at work to having an important conversation and working on self-perception. Due to applications like Zoom, Stark is able to meet with clients to work on their Calmfidence®️ virtually. In fact, Stark’s book, which will be published in September of 2021, will have that trademarked term as its title. In addition to her book, Stark has a podcast in the works with Ernie Anastos of Fox 5 News, titled, “Good Stuff.” 

In addition to all of the experience that Stark has, she has graduated from STAC and commends the school for guiding her in her career journey. Stark shared how as a STAC student, she interned for MTV and Channel 8 TKRL Cable which turned into Cablevision.

“They [TKRL Cable] let me do and learn everything. From lighting to directing to technical directing to operating cameras to writing and being in front of the camera and hosting local shows like ‘Eye on Rockland’ and live call-in shows like ‘Cable A to Z,’ so it made me become so entrenched in the Rockland County community and learn so much more about local government and history and all those those things but it was like, it was just like an amazing learning ground because I literally got to do everything there,” Stark said. 

Stark remembers the environment of STAC and attributes it to her growth and success. 

“From not only having those wonderful internships but I still talk to probably three or four of my professors from the time that I physically went to school there. And the small class sizes, and that open door policy and that feeling of family just kept growing, and throughout my time there, that was what helped me in so many ways, find the confidence…” Stark said.

She credited the course that she took with Dr. Mary Burns to building her confidence.

“It wasn’t just a class about public speaking. It was a class on self-esteem and thinking the right thoughts…it taught me so many things,” Stark said.

She loves the familial aspect of the College that she felt from her own professors, and Stark returns to her alma mater each year.

“The people and the teachers that were there were just amazing. I go back to visit every year as a speaker. I’ve been an adjunct professor at STAC and I always find the teachers and the staff to have that same feeling of you know just being welcome and being positive and energetic and they can’t do enough to help you as a student and I’ve found as an alumni the same sense there.”

Stark had just returned to STAC on Jan. 24 of this year when she was recognized as an honoree in the STAC Hall of Fame for 2020. She found the occasion to be a magical evening. 

As a graduate of STAC, Stark has a lot of advice for current students of the College when it comes to finding internships and jobs. To her, every opportunity is valuable. 

Stark described how through the show that she once had on WRCR, “Inside & Out,” Anastos reached out to interview her as a guest on television.

“This was a great lesson that nothing is too small; no place is too little,” Stark said.

Stark not only has appeared as a guest alongside Anastos on Fox5NY; she even has a podcast in the works with the renowned news anchor.

Another piece of advice that Stark has is to network and form relationships. Stark said that the roles she has played in movies and TV programs can be attributed to the relationships she has built with talent agents from her coaching. They know that communicating is her niche, and through networking, she has been presented with more opportunities. Also, Stark never anticipated that her show which aired on a local AM station would catch the ears of Anastos. Now, the two are friends. She added that her internships as a college student were unpaid, but that they had a crucial role in her career journey. 

When it comes to being interviewed and finding an internship, Stark recommends preparation, respect, and a positive attitude. 

“Be happy to be there. Do your homework. Have great manners. And then lastly, what I will leave you with for trying to find work and trying to find internships or on interviews, be a class act. Be a person of excellence. Be somebody who has good manners,” Stark said.

When it comes to interviews or communicating in general, Stark feels that eye contact, professionalism, and listening are paramount. 

“The best communicators are the best listeners,” Stark said.

She finds that asking questions are indicators of engagement in a conversation, which could make someone stand out in an interview. Being respectful and sending a thank you note are additional tips she highlighted.

As someone who exudes Calmfidence®️, Stark of course shared life advice. She truly believes in the power of silence to clear someone’s mind, and recommends this technique to her clients because it is often overlooked.

“So I think that’s the theme that most people don’t do. They’re rushing, rushing, rushing, so they rush right into the interview. They rush right into the class. They rush right into the tough conversation. They rush right into you fill in the blank. And you can’t think straight when you’re agitated and when you’re rushed, so give yourself the gift of, let me just take a breath.”

Stark finds that there is a relationship between self-perception and communication, so she encourages clients to not speak negatively about themselves. In other words, self-perception does not just affect communication; communication has an impact on self-perception. Therefore, speaking more positively and growing conscious of negative comments can be beneficial. Stark thinks that ultimately, a person is the agent of what he/she wishes to accomplish, not others who bring in their judgment.

“No one gets to define you but you. No one gets to say who you get to be in this world but you,” Stark said.

Of course, Stark shared advice for STAC students. 

“Don’t limit yourself. Make sure that you go out there and you grab the world by the horns, and just know that you came from great people and a great foundation and a great place. And you really can do anything that you put your mind to and if people tell you that that’s not true, you’re hanging out with the wrong people.”

Meet Shannon Thompson of the Office of Career Development

Interviewed by Kathryn Cambrea

(Photo courtesy Shannon Thompson): Shannon Thompson poses with her graduation cap.

Shannon Thompson is a graduate assistant with the Office of Career Development. She graduated from STAC with her bachelor’s degree in accounting in May 2020 and is currently pursuing her MBA degree at her alma mater. Shannon is even a student-athlete. In this interview, she talks about graduate school, the work that she does for the Office of Career Development and resources that it offers, the value a student-athlete brings to an employer, and more. You can listen to this interview on STAC’s Office of Career Development’s podcast, “After Class.” Click here to listen on Spotify or here to listen on Apple Podcasts.

Shannon, I understand that you are a graduate student. What are you studying?

So, I’m currently getting my master’s in general business administration with the intent to sit for my CPA exam.

That’s awesome, Shannon. What would you say is the biggest difference between being an undergraduate student and a graduate student?

The biggest difference would probably be that you’re kind of more on your own. STAC has a great staff and they’re really helpful, so compared to other graduate programs they do help a lot, and they’re really always there for you, but you only meet with your teachers once a week, so it’s kind of on you during your normal weekdays to get all of your work done, do any of your studying, so it’s just a lot more independence.

Would you say that virtual instruction because of COVID-19 has made it even more independent than it would have been?

Yeah. Definitely a lot more. 

I understand that you are also a graduate assistant with the Office of Career Development. What do you do in this position?

So my job in this position is really to just help Maureen with most of her tasks. So, I track all the students that go to any of her events. I’m constantly checking which students have LinkedIn, checking over students’ resumes, so I’m really just mostly her right hand, just helping her with anything she needs.

And what motivated you to become a graduate assistant?

So I actually heard about the graduate assistant position through a member of the staff, and they encouraged me to apply, and I just thought that it would be a great opportunity for me to work while doing my studies and to give back to STAC with everything they’ve taught me and the skills they’ve given me. 

And I know from attending a bunch of team meetings with the Office of Career Development that you’ve attended a plethora of events with the department. Do any events come to mind and how were they beneficial to you?

So the two events that I really enjoyed were the KPMG Mentor Program, mostly because KPMG is an accounting firm, so in that program I got to meet with a KPMG employer every month, every two, three weeks. And they just helped me out with anything I really needed, whether it was school and accounting related, or just general. And the second one was the Career Readiness Program. It really helped me get ready as a junior to move on into being an actual professional and getting grad school and stuff done, so they helped me with interviews, resume writing, LinkedIn, and just gave me general tips on how to really act and perform as a professional person in the work world. 

Would you say that those skills that you’ve learned from those programs are applicable to when you help students?

Yeah, definitely. One, I can give students that same advice. And two, it really gave me the knowledge I need to kind of direct them where they need to go.

I know that you are studying accounting. What work and internship experiences have you had or currently have in the field?

So, I actually have not had any experience in the accounting field. My experience is mostly small retail jobs and working here in the Office of Career Development. 

What resources have you learned about from the Office of Career Development that students should utilize?

I think a really good tool that the Career Development office has is meeting with someone to go over your resume or to practice interviewing with. When I was a freshman and sophomore, I didn’t have much experience in interviewing, so my first few interviews weren’t the best, but once I was a junior, I met with Maureen and she really helped me with learning to interview better, and it helped a lot. 

Did the Office of Career Development help with educating you more about LinkedIn and SpartanJobs?

Yeah, definitely. I didn’t have a LinkedIn account until I went to a LinkedIn meeting with Maureen. 

And, in addition to your studies, I understand that you have a lot on your plate. Not only are you in graduate school, but you’re also a student-athlete. How do you balance schoolwork, and your career, and any work experiences that you’re having with everything in your schedule?

It is very difficult. I’ve been an athlete most of my life, so that did help growing up having to schedule everything, but most of it is just designating certain times to do certain things, and having really good time management skills. So I try to do any homework or projects a week before the due date, just to give myself that week cushioning in case I do get overwhelmed. And then, I really use my sport and practice time as my time to relax and clear my head.

If you don’t mind me asking, how are sports operating now with the COVID-19 pandemic, and are you still able to get that relaxation and cathartic effect?

Yeah, so currently, we are allowed to practice with our team for six hours a week, so for the cross country and track teams, we meet three days a week and the rest of the days, we just get sent a workout and we do it on our own. Some of us do meet up with one or two other people and run. We are encouraged to stay in small groups, not get close. We have to run with our masks on, so it’s different but it still does work. I’m sure it can be a bit harder for other sports like soccer, lacrosse, football, because they have to do those skill practices. I’m lucky where my sport is just running and I can go out and go for a run any time I really want to.

And you run both cross country and track and field, right?

Yes. I do all three seasons, so cross country, indoor track, and spring outdoor track. 

That’s great. And what value does a student-athlete bring an employer?

So one of the main things is time management skills because you’re constantly doing your schoolwork and you have to fit in your practice schedule and trying to work both of those things out. They’re also really good at multitasking. I know personally, sometimes when I run, I am going over what I have to do in my head, and if I have a paper coming up, I will start planning my paper in my head while I run. So, it helps really with multitasking and stuff, too. And a lot of athletes do have leadership experience. They’re good with teams, which is really important to employers now.

And as a graduate student with the Office of Career Development, what advice do you have for undergraduate and graduate students as they explore their careers? And that can be specific to accounting or any career.

The advice that I would give is obviously a lot of students are still very young. You’re not supposed to have it all figured out and your main thing is that you should be doing something that you enjoy and that you will enjoy for your life. I’ve been, through my studies, I’ve learned that some things you’re not going to be happy with, and if you just keep going, being unhappy, it’s just going to make things worse, and you’ll never enjoy what you do and that really is the important thing is to enjoy what you’re doing.

Some Resume Tips from STAC’s Director of Career Development

By Kathryn Cambrea

Graphic created by Kathryn Cambrea

When it comes to writing a resume, there are not only guidelines to keep in mind, but resources that you can use to help you. One apparent resource is the Office of Career Development at St. Thomas Aquinas College. Director of Career Development, Ms. Maureen Mulhern, as well as her team of Career Ambassadors, are trained to offer feedback to students regarding their resumes. Check your STAC email to be notified of upcoming Resume Workshops, or reach out to Ms. Mulhern via email for feedback. 

As someone who has attended a Resume Training session to learn how to help other students, as well as someone who has had my resume critiqued by Ms. Mulhern, here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Keep it brief.

When I came to STAC as a freshman, my resume was pages upon pages of what I accomplished in high school. The document had achieved its purpose at the time. I had an incredible internship experience my senior year of high school with The Press Group, Inc. which owns three local newspapers. But at STAC, I was told that I had to condense it—to one page. People may very well toss a resume that exceeds that amount. Ms. Mulhern uses the phrase, “Be concise.” She adds that important pieces of the resume should be easily noticed, which ties right into the second tip.

  • Be consistent with your formatting.

It is very important to have a section on your resume dedicated to jobs and internships that you have had and currently have; Ms. Mulhern recommends breaking this section down further into a “Related Work Experience” section, tailored to your major and the internship that you are applying for, as well as an “Additional Work Experience” section with jobs that may be unrelated to what you want to pursue as a career, but nevertheless still had a role in equipping you with skills that you currently have. Under such a section, it is important to be consistent. For instance, make sure that you include your title for each position that you held and hold, not just locations. At the same time, do not forget about locations that you work for. If you write the physical location of where one internship you had was but not another, that is inconsistent. If one job title is written in bold or is italicized, every job title should be that way. Also, dates that you completed each experience should be written in the same format; if months and years are used to denote time at an internship, they should be used for each experience. Also, every component of your resume should be properly aligned and spaced out. No piece of your resume should stick out in a negative way, violating the format. However, your credentials should stick out for how valuable they are!

  • Check grammar.

You want employers and recruiters to be able to read your resume, right? If words are spelled incorrectly, there is an immediate issue. Also, sentences and phrases on your resume should be written with correct grammar. For instance, as a bullet point under a past internship experience, do not write, “Developed____ and completing____.” The word “completing” should be “completed” if you are no longer at that internship. This corresponds with consistency as well. Ms. Mulhern has said of someone who cares about the grammar of his/her resume: “That’s the kind of person you want working for you.” Think about it. Paying careful attention to grammar on your resume may translate to that skill being carried over into your job or internship. It also signifies how dedicated you are to interning or working for a specific company.

  • Use active verbs.

This technique is very important to one’s resume. In fact, it is important in the field of journalism and makes a paper very effective. Of course, it applies to resumes as well. When it comes to creating bullet points under work experiences that you completed, use active verbs in the past tense. For bullet points under current work experiences, use active verbs in the present tense. Do not use passive voice in these bullet points. Consider this example as a bullet point under a past internship: “I was developing software for clients and testing programs before they launched.” Now, condense the sentence and shift from passive to active voice: “Developed software for clients and tested programs before they launched.” This sounds so much more professional in the active voice. Not only that, but notice how the word, “I” is not used. In fact, Ms. Mulhern recommends not using words indicative of first person as well as not using words like, “a” and “the.” 

  • Don’t get “lost in the sauce.”

Ms. Mulhern champions this concept. She also calls extra information that is not necessary added to a resume, “fluff.” One’s cover letter is the perfect place to appeal to a company and explain why you would be a great candidate for the position that you are applying for. But your resume, by being a resume, asserts itself through your credentials. If you write too much, experiences you have had will get buried in the body of the resume. One easy way to avoid this is to prioritize the most recent information of each section of your resume. For instance, Ms. Mulhern says that under “Education,” St. Thomas Aquinas College should be listed above one’s high school. Also, she adds that in work experience sections as well as sections that concentrate on leadership and involvement on campus, that most recent experiences should be on top. Would you want a potential employer to see a club you are no longer a member of before a club that you are not only a member of but that you created and lead yourself? No. Ms. Mulhern recommends eliminating words that you do not need, as well. For instance, if you wrote, “Phone Number” in front of your phone number or the word, “Email” in front of your email address, eliminate these words. Employers and recruiters will understand that it is contact information.

Ms. Mulhern adds that some words regarding specific tasks under “Additional Work Experience” may be unnecessary. This would contribute to being “lost in the sauce,” and we do not want that. Therefore, she suggests writing transferable skills to show the value of work experience that may not directly relate to your career aspirations. “Think about some of your transferable skills and highlight them,” Ms. Mulhern said. “These transferable skills are going to be what’s most meaningful to me.” For instance, as a lifeguard, replace concrete tasks with skills that you acquired, such as communication and patience, which can apply to any job field. Not everyone may have your transferable skills, but they exist and are needed for more than one career. These skills may very well distinguish you from other candidates applying for the same position. As Ms. Mulhern says, “You are not limited by your major.”

Why You Should Take Advantage of Real World Tours

By Kathryn Cambrea

(Photo courtesy STAC Career Development Instagram): Attendees of STAC’s “Real World Tour” to Good Morning America pose for a picture.

With COVID-19, it is an understatement to say that everything is different. The Office of Career Development at St. Thomas Aquinas College has always held “Real World Tours” for STAC students. In essence, Director of Career Development, Maureen Mulhern, along with additional STAC staff, accompany students on trips where they learn about companies that they can potentially intern for or work for in the future. Often, students hear from employees of the companies and gain insight. These trips serve as valuable, instructive opportunities for students. Although trips may have ceased due to the pandemic, the Office of Career Development continues to provide students with opportunities to advance their career journeys, such as the upcoming virtual mock interview event, which will be held on Oct. 22. As someone who has been on a few “Real World Tours,” here is what I have learned from them and how they have benefitted me. 

  • Your name becomes known.

The first time I interviewed Ms. Mulhern was when I wrote an article about STAC students visiting Good Morning America on April 12, 2019. Prior to the event itself, I sat down with Ms. Mulhern and asked her questions about it. I learned from her that a former professor of the college’s husband, Eddie Luisi, is Stage Manager of Good Morning America. As a result of this interview, Ms. Mulhern connected me with Mr. Luisi so that I could interview him. He answered my questions on the day of the event itself in Good Morning America and proceeded to give all of the students a tour, as well as career advice. From there, I even interviewed a couple students on the trip. I sent the article to Mr. Luisi at a later time, and he remembered who I was: this is because I personally reached out to him and expressed interest in having him as one of the sources for my article. Without this “Real World Tour,” he would not know my name.

  • You become acquainted with the Office of Career Development.

I first met Ms. Mulhern when she was a guest speaker during the first semester of my freshman year in STAC 101. I will never forget how she said that if she does not know who we are, she cannot recommend us when she hears from recruiters. What does this mean? Communicate with the Office of Career Development. One way you can do this is by signing up for these “Real World Tours.” With the temporary absence of “Real World Tours,” you can achieve this by reaching out to Ms. Mulhern and attending virtual events. If an opportunity comes up where a company is looking for a college student with your major, she will gladly recommend you for the position. The key is that you need to utilize the resources that the Office of Career Development provides and that you must take the first step! The first step could be simple; you introduce yourself to Ms. Mulhern, even if it is in a virtual capacity. By attending “Real World Tours,” workshops, or virtual events, the Office of Career Development will learn more about you. 

  • The trips are free!

Two “Real World Tours” that I went on were to Good Morning America and to Hachette Book Group in New York City. Both of these trips were free! You hand in five dollars when you sign up, but you immediately receive it back the day of the trip. Commuting to the city costs money, so you should definitely take advantage because “Real World Tours” don’t (at least not for you).

  • You learn what the companies are looking for.

I remember when visiting Hachette Book Group, we heard from an employee in the human resources department who told us all about the recruiting process and what internships are offered through Hachette. We even heard a panel of employees speak from an array of different departments. (Read more about the benefits of the trip to Hachette Book Group in this article on The Thoma). When I interviewed Ms. Mulhern about this trip in September of 2019, she commented on the benefits of not only going to Hachette, but going on any “Real World Tour.” “It [going on the trip and asking questions] could build a good connection with a recruiter at the firm to open some doors for you and you learn from this trip what they really are looking for in a cover letter when you apply and what they are looking for when they interview you,” Ms. Mulhern said. Evidently, by not going on such a trip, you are placed at a disadvantage. After all, if you end up applying for an internship with a company that you visited, you should definitely say that you have been there in your cover letter and in your interview. Also, remember the specific names of who you talk to while on a “Real World Tour.” Although different companies may look for different qualities in potential internship candidates, they all value someone who has taken the time to get to know the company and what it is looking for. Going on a “Real World” tour is one way to do just that. 

  • You are exposed to the working environment of the company.

It is one thing to research a company, which is crucial. However, when you visit it, it is entirely different. What you see, who you speak with, the dynamic between employees, and other factors must be experienced in the environment itself, whether it is in-person or virtual. It cannot be obtained from simply reading about the company. Trips give you the opportunity to find out if the environment meets your expectations and if you can see yourself working there. Deciding that you do not want to work somewhere is just as beneficial as deciding you do. It means you are one step closer to finding out what you want to do. Ms. Mulhern has said of any trip held through the Office of Career Development: “You really get an idea of the facility and what life is like working inside that kind of organization.” She also added, “No two trips are exactly alike.” Therefore, by going on multiple trips, you compare and contrast the working environments, and see which ones appeal to you!

  • You learn about more jobs, internships, and career paths.

Ms. Mulhern has noted that one company, like Hachette Book Group, offers jobs and internships for people of different careers and majors. For instance, she has acknowledged that you do not have to be an English major to intern for a book publishing company. For that same article that I wrote about Hachette Book Group, I interviewed Professor Monica Wendel, who teaches classes in English and Creative Writing at STAC about the benefits of such a trip. Professor Wendel said, “This is a really good trip if you’re studying accounting, communications, any kind of business. They look to hire people from all different kinds of majors, so any of the business majors, communications, marketing, those are all really, really good majors.” She even added that students of hers in the past who went on such trips ended up receiving internships with book publishing companies. Thus, you not only learn about opportunities from these trips, you can actually earn them! Locating a job or internship can most certainly be attributed to going on a “Real World Tour.”

  • Most of all, you have fun!

Aside from all of the benefits that “Real World Tours” provide for your career, you enjoy a day out with friends. Collaborate with your friends about “Real World Tours” you are interested in going on, and get together for lunch afterwards to talk about it. Also, you have fun while you are on the tour itself. Watching Good Morning America for instance was amazing because I would love to pursue a career in journalism, communications, or writing one day. Therefore, I learned a lot. At the same time, I also had fun because the show was entertaining. There was live music, and two celebrity guests were on the show: Dwyane Wade and Jennifer Garner. The experience was professional and social. You are bound to have fun because you are signing up for something that you are interested in. For me, that is signing up to see a live program and experience the bustle behind the scenes of how it is produced. It is also learning how a book comes together, and all the people who have a role in its publication. For you, that may be something entirely different. But, I can assure you, that once “Real World Tours” come back, you will find a trip that appeals to you. 

Why You Should Be on LinkedIn

By Kathryn Cambrea

Graphic created by Kathryn Cambrea

  • Grow your network.

This is absolutely crucial. As college students, we should begin to grow our networks if we haven’t already. This is applicable to LinkedIn as well as any way that we choose to further our careers. In an article titled, “How to Network from Home” from The New York Times, author Julie Weed writes, “In fact, the time to invest in your network is when you least need it, so by the time you do require assistance, you have created a strong support system.” You never know who could be of value to you in your network. This includes professors, coworkers, classmates, current and former employers, prominent people in your chosen field, and more. Also, you should never stop growing your network. By creating a LinkedIn account and making your first connections, you are planting a seed. Continue to feed that network with people within the career you want to pursue. As you continue on your career exploration journey, you will only meet more people, and your network will inevitably grow. 

  • Locate job and internship opportunities. 

When signed into your LinkedIn account, click on the tab labeled, “Jobs.” From there, you can use key words such as a company name or skill as well as specific location information such as your zip code to find jobs near you. Continue to refine your search with the filters of LinkedIn. For instance, you can narrow down the jobs that pop up to internships and select if you would prefer a remote internship. You could also find internships within a certain distance from your home, and see which opportunities are looking for people with your skill set based on your profile. You can even apply to internships through LinkedIn.

  • Establish your platform in the job world.

Why else would you be on LinkedIn? This tip goes hand in hand with the first tip. Evidently, you want people in your network, especially those within the same industry as you, to remember who you are. Reaching out to them, even if it is to simply connect, is a huge step. If you choose to frequently post on LinkedIn, this could help. Your profile plays another role in this as well. It may appear in someone else’s feed, and he/she may initiate in asking to connect with you first. In fact, people may search for or click on your profile, and many times, you can see who does. According to LinkedIn Pressroom, “With more than 20 million professionals using LinkedIn search every week, these insights can help you understand where opportunities are coming from so that you can better optimize your profile to get connected to a new job or other professional opportunities.” Every job and internship you have will be on your LinkedIn profile; your profile is associated with your school as well as any place you ever worked at. This maximizes the chances of people locating your profile. And you never know who could!

  • Showcase your work and credentials.

On LinkedIn, I like to treat my profile like my resume. Describe your internship experience as well as tasks you complete or completed. It is important to have every job or internship you have ever had listed. This shows your credentials to anyone who visits your profile. Another component I love about LinkedIn is how you can attach your own work to your profile. LinkedIn allows you to add “Accomplishments,” and there are multiple subcategories, such as “Awards” and “Publications.” I aim to add the links to every published article I have written to LinkedIn. It is one thing on my profile to say that I have written articles, but to have them there not only proves what I have written, but makes the publications easily accessible to people who may need to see them, such as a future employer.

Ten Ways to Maximize Your Internship Experience

By Kathryn Cambrea

Through reflecting on my internship with WRCR Radio AM 1700, here are some tips to follow to ensure that you make the most of exploring your career. (Learn more about my internship experience here on The Thoma).

(Photo courtesy Kerry Potter): Kathryn Cambrea poses in the WRCR station before co-hosting the “John and Kat Show.”

  • Ask questions.

This tip is absolutely crucial to any field. Evidently, we learn through wonder and curiosity. By interning with the local radio station, I asked staff for feedback on my work, such as my newscasts, as well as for technical information so I could learn how to board-op or operate the sound of a program. Also, since my internship is in the field of journalism, I conducted interviews regularly, either at events that I would later cover in the news or during my radio program. Asking questions allows you to grow and ultimately learn more about your internship as well as the whole world around you.

  • Take initiative.

This is a motto that I always abide by. I had the privilege to co-host a radio program with a STAC alum this summer. The experience required a lot of planning and preparation. I reached out to many of the guests who we had on the show; our guests included a mental health professional, a leader of a local nonprofit organization, a former teacher of mine, a radio host and business owner, a STAC professor who has tremendously served the community, STAC’s new president, an RCC student who created a fund to help his classmates, and more. I also took initiative by suggesting ideas to established radio hosts on the station and executed those ideas by interviewing them over the airwaves. Through such interviews, not only did the listeners and I learn more about the radio hosts, but I gained invaluable experience of being heard on the air.

  • Take risks.

Speak to people who you have never spoken to before. As a journalist, you have to do this a lot to gather information and quotations. If you are offered an incredible opportunity to further your internship experience, do not turn it down. The unfamiliar is daunting, but once you explore it, you may realize just how much better you now are for tackling your nerves. To me, my internship had two components: covering events and helping several facets of the station as well as planning and hosting a program. My internship grew to include the latter, which was new yet ultimately exciting and rewarding. Had I turned down the opportunity of creating content for and hosting a radio program, I would have regretted it. 

  • Establish connections.

Not just on LinkedIn, although that is recommended. Talk to your coworkers and exchange contact information. Most importantly, have a positive impression on your coworkers. They may take the liberty to connect with you and present you with invaluable feedback and opportunities. Also, you do not know who else your coworkers know. If you maximize your internship experience and are a reliable asset to the company or organization, perhaps your work will be recommended to others who could potentially hire you in the future.

  • Base value on experiences, not dollars earned.

Not every internship pays. The idea of an internship being unpaid does not invalidate the work that you do nor the skills that you acquire. For instance, my internship during my senior year of high school was unpaid, and yet, I covered events and had my articles with my byline published in local newspapers. If an internship does pay, that is certainly a benefit, but do not automatically negate opportunities presented to you solely because they do not pay at all or enough. Also, money should not be what motivates you; it should be your own fulfillment that does. 

  • Communicate with your support team.

Tell your family and friends about your internship. Also, tell your advisor, professors, and even your past teachers. I had the privilege to interview my sixth grade and high school journalism teacher on the airwaves. People who love you will root for you, and such support is an incentive to learn and grow. 

  • Learn about the community the company or organization serves.

WRCR is a great source of news for the community of Rockland. And WRCR’s listeners are a loyal family who are just as likely to tune into the afternoon drive as they are to the morning programming. I had the opportunity to meet many of these listeners when answering the phone at the station as well as over the airwaves when they chimed into discussions. Without the audience, there would be no radio. Without the community, the company or organization that serves them would not exist.

  • Continue to learn more about the company or organization you intern for.

I made sure to listen to WRCR even on days that I didn’t report to the station. This allowed me to not only learn about the different programs, but to learn the names of the community members who always tune in. In addition, I would be elated to hear my own voice saying newscasts and advertisements over the air. Covering an event and writing a newscast are integral responsibilities, but hearing your voice say the newscast on the air is very exciting.

  • Value feedback.

When you are given positive feedback at your internship, accept it and remember who gives it to you. This is important because in the future, you may need a letter of recommendation. Also, value constructive criticism. You never walk into an internship knowing everything there is to know about the field; employees of the company or organization understand that you are learning. Use constructive criticism as fuel to improve and gain more skills. 

  • Consult with the Office of Career Development for assistance.

Director of Career Development, Maureen Mulhern, will help guide you in your internship search. After conducting research, I found that I was potentially interested in interning for WRCR, and I communicated this to Ms. Mulhern. She had the email address of a staff member there, so I reached out. And I ended up having a memorable internship experience. Ms. Mulhern not only has multiple connections, but she can help you navigate resources to find your ideal internship, such as LinkedIn and SpartanJobs. 

A #MySpartanSuccess Interview with Jillian Colleluore!

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By Silvana Molinas

For this week’s #MySpartanSuccess story, I interview recent St. Thomas Aquinas College alum Jillian Colleluore about her first job after college, moving to the other side of the country, how her past internships have helped her career so far, and just enjoying the ride while you can.

Where do you work now?

I work for Allegis Global Solutions. We are a workforce management solutions company, so we offer various services like managed service providers, recruitment process outsourcing, data analytics, etc. Right now, I work under our managed service providers aspect of it. My client is actually Starbucks. On my team, we manage the process of hiring on the contingent worker. We have both staff augmentation and services procurement. Staff augmentation is the contingent workforce that I just told you about. Services procurement is kind of our project-based work where, say, if they are updating their app, we would help them get an app-developer and we would work with the hiring manager and the vendors to get the resources they need whether on or off-site and help negotiate how expensive it’s going to be and facilitate that process.

When did you graduate and what was your major?

I graduated in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Management.

How did you hear about this current job?

My story is kind of interesting, because I was interviewing for another organization and it was down to two people. They had just called me saying they were going to go with the other candidate, when I received a message on LinkedIn from one of the recruiters here. He saw my LinkedIn profile and wanted me to look at an opportunity at Allegis and I thought I would at least take a look at it, and it ended up working out.

So, what was the interview process like for this job?

After he had messaged me, we set up a phone interview with just him and I, where he explained the roles he had open. After that, we set up a phone screening with my current manager. Following that, we had an in-person interview. My manager works up in Seattle at the Starbucks headquarters, so he had to fly down from Arizona. From there, they hired me, so the process wasn’t too bad.

You just mentioned that you’re located in Arizona now. What was moving to Arizona like? You’re from Rockland County, right?

Yes, I’m from Stony Point, NY. I commuted all four years to STAC and when I was about to graduate, I was ready to move somewhere else. My boyfriend is stationed here in Arizona – he’s in the Air Force – so it just felt like the right time to move. More companies in Arizona were calling me back versus in New York, so it was kind of looking like I should move anyway. I ended up moving and I absolutely love it.

Where in Arizona are you?

I’m right outside of Phoenix.

How do you like living there?

Oh, I absolutely love it! I’m sitting outside looking at a palm tree in 80-degree weather, so I can’t complain.

Did you find the job before your graduation?

No. Before graduation, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to move yet, so I was looking in both New York and Arizona. I kept applying. It was frustrating to apply to ten jobs and only hear back from one, but it ended up working out. I received my offer in July and started the job in August.

Did you have any internships before this job and how useful was that internship in getting this position or preparing you for actually working?

I had an internship right down the street from STAC, at Instrumentation Laboratory. I worked as an HR Intern during the summer before my senior year. After I graduated, they called me asking if I could cover for the HR Coordinator before I moved away. I was happy to help out. I gained valuable experience in this role as I was in a corporate environment where I actually did everything myself. I learned about business processes and how things worked in the classroom, but I hadn’t had the opportunity to have that hands-on experience, and I’m a hands-on learner. So even now, my manager tells me how to do something and I say, “Wait, can you show me how?”, because that’s how I learn best.

I know you also worked in the HR department at STAC, right?

Yes, I did! I worked there as well and I still keep in contact with everybody there.

And was that a helpful experience?

It was helpful. I feel like every hands-on experience I had and every opportunity was completely helpful because I saw things from different perspectives. Working in HR in academia is different from the world I work in now, but it’s still helpful to see the little differences between workplaces and what it’s like to work somewhere else.

Did Career Development or STAC help you in anyway achieve the goals you wanted to achieve?

Absolutely! Career Development actually got me my internship. I showed Maureen Mulhern [the Director of Career Development at STAC] my resume and I told Maureen that I was trying to find an internship. She thought of me when Instrumentation reached out to her because my manager at Instrumentation Laboratory was a STAC alum herself, so she would always reach out to STAC to try and get interns. Since I had just talked to Maureen, she knew I was interested in human resources, and Maureen immediately told me to apply for the position.

That’s awesome!

Yeah, so she was kind of the one who got me the job.

That’s great! So, what’s your favorite part of your job right now?

Right now, we’re working on a supplier capability matrix, which senior executive leadership is involved with and as someone in an entry-level position, being able to work on a project that executive leadership is seeing is awesome.It’s kind of my favorite part right now because I’m learning a lot more about the business in different ways than I did before.

So do you often get a chance to work with executive leadership?

My company is very unique. We’re very people-oriented. I sit in a hub location, so all our executive leadership tries to come down, maybe once a quarter if they have the opportunity to. What’s great here is that you can walk up to the CEO and introduce yourself. Everybody is so friendly; they stop what they’re doing to talk to you, they remember your name, and I feel like there aren’t many companies where you can walk up to senior leadership and get to know them.

What was the biggest adjustment for you going from college into the working world?

I think the biggest adjustment is probably working 8-5, nonstop. I’m learning to adjust to doing things all day long without a break and learning more about doing my job. I’m in a very interesting industry that not a lot of people are in, so it was kind of difficult to try and learn all the different terminology and vendor management systems. I asked so many questions and I still constantly ask questions.

Are you still learning everyday?

Oh definitely. I’m still learning everyday, along with my managers. For everybody, there’s always something new to learn everyday. You think you know it, and then somebody comes to you with a new question and you realize there’s still more to learn.

When you were in college, obviously there are things you know now that you didn’t know then. What are some things you wish you had known in college that you know now?

I feel like STAC really does prepare you for life after college. Because of my internship experience, I’ve learned to manage my time wisely and stick to deadlines, but I think what I should’ve learned is how to just take one thing at a time. It’s all going to working out eventually, you just have to do one thing at a time. It’s like when you’re in college, stressed about multiple midterms and papers, you have to just focus on one thing. That’s never going to change.

So, are you happy with the path you’ve taken so far?

Honestly, I wouldn’t change anything. I know that sounds super cliche, but because I got super involved in college, I was able to connect with Maureen Mulhern, get my internship, and have all the other experiences I’ve had. I was part of the IACBE team at STAC and that also helped me a lot. It helped me get out of my shell and learn how to work under pressure. I was part of PRIME too, and in PRIME you can be under stressful situations and you have to talk to big groups. I think college really helped me get out of my shell, learn to public speak, and to be comfortable taking initiative when I needed to.

So to close this little interview, I want to know if you could give any students some advice about life after college, what would it be?

Just enjoy it while you’re still there. It goes by super quick and I know everybody says that, but it’s true. Before you know it you will find a job. It might not happen tomorrow, but trust me, eventually, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

My Spartan Success with Michael Paris!

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When did you graduate and what was your major?

I graduated STAC in the Spring of 2015 and I majored in Criminal Justice.

How did you hear about your current job?

After the Police Academy (Rockland County Police Academy), I interviewed at many police departments in Orange and Rockland Counties. I heard about this job opening through Chief Barbera who is also a professor at STAC.

Can you explain the Interview Process?

Going on interviews for police departments can be stressful. My best advice would be to stay calm and put on your best suit. It’s important to look and act professional at all times. You should have a copy of your resume attached with a copy of an application for the position you are seeking. Answer all questions honestly and be yourself. The initial interview is just the beginning of many interviews for that particular department so its also very important to stay consistent when answering questions.

Can you tell me a little about the position?

I currently work for the Rockland County Sheriffs Office Mounted Unit. We are a special unit within the Sheriffs Office. The unit was founded in 1962. We are one of very few Mounted Units left in NY State as well as in the U.Ş.

Can you share some of your current responsibilities?

As a Mounted Police Officer we do a lot of community policing. That can entail many events including different youth academies around the county as well as schools and camps. Our main function is crowd control, you can see us at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Pearl River as well as at many events in the county that draw a large crowd. The mounted unit also patrols county parks and the bar scene on the weekends in Haverstraw, Pearl River, Nyack, etc.

Did you have an internship before this position and how useful was the internship?

I had an internship with the Rockland County Sheriff‘s Office my senior year when I was a student at STAC. The internship really opened my mind about what this department has to offer and confirmed my decision on why I wanted to become a police officer.

Did Career Development/STAC help you in anyway?

Prior to going on interviews for this department, the Career Development office at STAC helped me polish my resume to look professional and neat.

What is your favorite aspect of the position and can you give an example of what has been your favorite experience so far?

The Rockland County Sheriffs Unit is an elite unit among many. Not only do we have to be capable of riding horses but we also have to perform our job as police officers. My first major event as a Mounted Police Officer was United Latino Day in Haverstraw NY. This event draws large crowds, lots of loud music and food. Our main goal is to keep the crowds under control as well as having a role in community policing.

What advice do you have for other STAC students looking for a job or internship?

If an internship with any department is available through STAC, take full advantage of it. It will help advance your career once you graduate and it will be a great experience. When it comes to applying for the position of police officer my best advice is to be patient.

Career Advice from the Senior Executive Producer & VP of Talent Development at CNBC

Written by Maureen Mulhern, Director of the Office of Career Development

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Mary Duffy, a STAC alumna and the Senior Executive Producer/VP of Talent Development at CNBC, was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to speak with STAC students today about her career path.  She offered some great advice as these seniors and juniors approach graduation.  It was very apparent that Mary possesses the traits she discussed today, and this is why she is where she is today!

(A quick “thank you” to Dr. Durney for inviting me to sit in on his class.)

Below are some of the highlights of the advice Mary shared.

  • What is your “Secret Sauce”? 

Each of us has a “secret sauce” that makes us special.  It might be something we did, a skill we have, or a past or present experience.  These make us who we are and provide us with something special that we can offer a future employer.  The key is to understand what your secret sauce is and learn how to convey that to a potential employer.  Knowing your secret sauce will help you identify your brand and market yourself.

  • Be Hungry and Have GRIT!

Seek out opportunities that will help you reach your goal, and keep going until you get something.  Work hard in any role you get, and establish your professional reputation.  That could open doors.

  • Have a Strong Work Ethic.

Be polite, have good manners, and be gracious.  Be reliable.

  • Stay Scrappy! 

Don’t feel entitled.  Work hard in the role you have.  Be the person who takes on the jobs that no one wants to do.  It will make you stand out.

Some general tips:

  • If someone is kind enough to refer you for an opportunity, don’t let them down.  Be sure to do the best job you can.  It’s their reputation on the line.  Be sure to thank that person.

 

  • #1 skill you need is writing!  You must be a good reader to be a good writer…so read every day.

 

  • Follow everyone you can on Twitter.  It’s a great way to learn and get new ideas from a variety of people.

 

  • If you make a mistake, take ownership of it.  Don’t blame others!

 

  • Always send a thank you note after an interview…by the end of the day of the interview!  Include your resume with your thank you.  Don’t make the receiver work to get that information.