Alyssa Hammond, Associate Director of the Bentley Undergraduate Career Services Office

Alyssa Hammond

This morning I had the pleasure to have my morning tea with Alyssa Hammond, Associate Director of Bentley’s Office of Undergraduate Career Services. Even though I walked into the office knowing I was not headed for resume critique, I was still nervous. However, that all subsided when she greeted me with a welcoming smile and an office covered in 80s movie posters.
HCBentley: I would love to start with an overview of the Career Services program. When should students begin to come into the office?
Alyssa Hammond: Right away! Unlike other schools, we have an advisor specifically for freshman so we encourage them to come in during their first year. Colleen Murphy is the dedicated advisor. She is fantastic and really wants to meet the entire freshman class this year. Having students come into the office starting freshman year helps them to become more comfortable with the job search process. Comfort is crucial because job searching is not something you do only in college; it is a life skill. The office has created “Hire Education”, a program that walks students through the stages of job searching. There are four stages, the first being Explore. The emphasis on this first stage is for understanding and developing a student’s sense of self. From Explore the stages continue through Experiment, Experience and Excel. This process is designed to be started at any point in a student’s undergraduate career as it can be accelerated to meet any student’s need.
HCB: Should students bring anything into the office for their first appointment?
AH: Just themselves. If they have a resume they want us to look over, that’s great. But for the first stage of Hire Education, students need to focus more on getting themselves comfortable with the job search process. We will give them the Hire Education Career Action Plan and a planning notebook with a Career Services rubric right inside. There are many programs students can attend that will help with all aspects of the process.
HCB:We get emails advertising Career Services programs every day.
AH: Many are from me!
HCB:Do you have a favorite program?
AH:The Cover Letter Clinic. I think this is my most satisfying program. I receive the best feedback from this program from both my colleagues and the students who have attended. Cover letters are really important. Most people think they are not read, but they are. They are a way to market yourself, and my Cover Letter Clinic shows you how to do that correctly.
I also really enjoy Resume ER. We used to have 10 minute resume reviews held over a 2 week period, sometimes seeing 20 students in one day. We found that was not as effective as it could be. We now hold the Resume ERs over a couple hours. We are also able to bring in corporate contacts to assist us. Now, instead of having 5 advisors, we can have as many as we need. Not only is this helpful for us but it has been a great way for students to have a new way to network and interact. We have seen more than 350 resumes in the last 2 sessions alone!
I also conduct “In the Field Trips”, monthly programs for marketing and management majors. This Friday (October 7th) we are going to the Celtics. We have traveled to TJX, Vistaprint , Epsilon, Gillette, The Patriots, Mullen, and advertising and public relations agencies. We are currently working with RueLaLa. We do a larger trip twice per year into New York City called “Success in the City” where students are able to meet with four to five employers. Both finance and marketing majors attend with the ability to visit Marketing firms and Wall Street. I guess that was a long answer, but I really am proud of all of the programs. They are great resources for students to have.
HCB:Can students access more information about these events through BentleyLink?
AH:Yes, all the information, and registration, will be on BentleyLink.
HCB:The Career Fair is coming up. Do you have any advice for students who are planning to go?
AH:There are two main things.
The first- Be preemptive. What I mean is get the list of employers before you go, identify the companies that you really want to speak with and then do your research on them. The last thing a representative wants to hear is “What does your company do?” They want to be asked thoughtful questions. The goal of this is to have a “gold star” put on your resume. You want them to remember you and the way to do that is by asking intelligent questions. We actually teach a program called “How to Work the Career Fair” which will focus on being professional and personal as you meet with different companies.
My second piece of advice - come with really good energy. There is a quote that I once heard Oprah use that sums this concept up: “You are responsible for the energy you bring into my space.” If you walk into a setting confidently, with a smile on your face, then you will be met with a smile. You need to have a great attitude. If you walk up to an employer with slouched shoulders and a grumpy face you will not get the job. People want to see that your energy will carry you through tough projects that continue well into the night. If you have a bad attitude and energy at one in the afternoon, employers can only imagine what would happen in the early morning hours. Walk up to the perspective employers with a smile, an energetic attitude and a firm handshake.
Not only did I get to visit the brand new office, but I got to meet with a fantastic advisor. I left with a new perspective on my path through career services. I am excited about the programs Alyssa shared with me.
I was even privy to Career Services’ newest project- a radio show! Alyssa Hammond and Colleen Murphy will be hosting their own radio show on Thursdays from 12-2pm. You can catch them on or on FM 105.3. Also, follow the office on Twitter @bentleycareer and stay up to date on programs and tips for the job search!
Good luck, collegiettes™!