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Making the Most of Your Time As a Student

photo of Alicia Hazen, SoHE's Director of Career and Leadership Development

As SoHE’s Director of Career and Leadership Development, Alicia Hazen is an expert on coaching student from school to career. In a Q&A, she provides insights on how students can best navigate their time here at SoHE, how to make the most out of working with advisers, and getting an early start on the job search process. Read on and click to learn more about internship and career prep at SoHE.

What advice would you give students each year of their academic career? 

Get involved. I think some of the best learning happens outside of the classroom.  

My advice has always been for freshman to spend your first semester exploring and your second semester narrowing it down to two organizations you might want to join: the professional one that’s related to your major and something that interests you that you’ve always wanted to learn more about or something that you were involved in high school that you want to continue.   

I think your sophomore year is really about building your resume. Start thinking about student organization involvement, volunteering out in the community, taking on leadership positions in the classroom or student projects or anything that is helping you gain experience to help build your resume. By sophomore year, you should have a fairly solid shell of a resume. 

And then in your junior year you’re going to be doing your internship and gaining professional experience. 

Then during senior year you’re really looking to launch a career. 

What is the most common advice you give students? 

I would say the most common question most of us get as advisors is, “How do I get an internship? I don’t know where to start, what should I be doing?” I think in every job search process we start with figuring out if the student has a good sense of what they’re looking for and if not, there’s some career exploration tools that we can introduce you to. Then thinking about how you feel about your resume and cover letter. That’s usually a good starting point. Think about what kind of experience you have related to the job that you’re looking for and how you’re talking about and communicating that to a potential employer. We’ve got some great guides on our website. We put together a career guide for each of our majors. We’ll often introduce that in conversation because they’re designed to walk you through that process. 

What events and services do you offer?  

We have done some traditional career preparation workshops or professional preparation workshops throughout each year. We do a resume review and we generally offer drop in resume reviews right around the career fair. We offer workshops on developing a new resume, writing a cover letter, interviewing skills, and leveraging LinkedIn. We’ve previously had larger school-wide collaborative events like bringing in a speaker who’s an expert on LinkedIn, the JCPenny Suit Up event, and a workshop on evaluating your benefits package. 

HOW TO NAVIGATE THE JOB SEARCH AND YOUR FOUR YEARS AT SoHE according to career advisor Alicia Hazen Freshman: Get involved! Spend your first semester exploring student organizations and your second semester narrowing it down to two you might want to join (professional & personal interest) Sophomore: Expand student organization involvement Volunteer out in the community Take on a part-time or work study position if your schedule allows Assume leadership positions both in and out of the classroom to help you gain relevant experience and build upon your resume Have your resume reviewed by a career advisor Junior: Participate in an internship to build hands-on experience related to your industry Run for an elected position or volunteer to lead a committee or event for your student organization Do a deep dive into a specific subject of interest via an undergraduate research experience Research potential graduate/professional schools if further education is required of your chosen profession. Continue to develop your resume Senior Get ready to take the next step post-graduation Meet with your career advisor to devise a plan of action Serve on the executive board of your student organization Continue to volunteer in the community Apply to graduate/professional schools if needed Hone your resume to best market your skills and help you land a full time job Finish strong!

What philosophy guides you through this job? 

Probably what a lot of advisors would tell you: finding the right balance of challenge and support. Especially in my advising practice with students, I’m not going to give you the answers. A lot of students come to me for the answers and while I can give you advice and guidance, you have the answer within you. Trust your own gut and your intuition. A lot of times it’s validation students are looking for more so than answers. You already know what you want to do, you just want someone to tell you that it’s okay to do that.  

What do you enjoy about being a part of SoHE? 

I love so many things about this school and our students. Starting with the school, I love the focus on well-being and on people and their connections to their families, community, and environment. A lot of the majors I would say align with my own personal interests. So, I think there’s some nice synergy in what I enjoy doing in my free time and what we’re offering here at the school. But the students! They’re just awesome. They’re so socially conscious. They are engaged, and they’re really interested in doing good and that whole concept of increasing individual well-being, families, and communities. I think [SoHE] attracts a certain type of student. I like the energy of the school. 

Anything else you would like to add? 

I would just say that we are all here to support our students and we really do have students best interest in mind. Our role here is as career advisers and me as director is how can we make you the most successful post graduation and help you to get prepared along the way rather than waiting until the end to do all of these things. Meet with your career adviser early and often! We are here to help with all aspects of the job search process.  

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