Although she’s only been working at Hiatt Career Center for a year, Northeastern alumna Alexandra Anweiler is already enthusiastic about the great resources it offers to Brandeis students looking for internship or career advice. I managed to pull her away from helping panic-stricken undergrads to ask her about her Hiatt experience so far, and why Hiatt is the place to be for students asking themselves that ever-persistent question: What am I going to do with my life?!
HerCampus: What is your position at Hiatt?
Alexandra: I am the assistant director of marketing and communications at the Hiatt Career Center.
HC: What are your typical daily activities?
AA: In my role, I develop and implement the overall marketing strategy for this fast-paced career center, fusing together our two different arms – the career development team and the employer relations team. I also hire, train and supervise 10 student advisors and a marketing intern to act as Hiatt ambassadors through one-on-one career counseling, campus presentations, and distribution of marketing collateral. In terms of marketing, I coordinate the content and design for all print and electronic marketing collateral (including the weekly student e-newsletter, campus posters, brochures, employer packets, etc.) to increase awareness for Hiatt’s programs and services. I also manage the content and design of our website and social media sites (including Facebook, Twitter and the Hiatt Career Center’s new “Crib Sheet” mobile app) to ensure professional, consistent messaging.
HC: How long have you worked at Hiatt?
AA: I have worked at Hiatt for just over a year. I started the Tuesday after Labor Day in 2010.
HC: How did you initially get involved in Hiatt?
AA: After working at a social services nonprofit in a communications role for two years after school, I knew that I wanted my next job to be in higher education. I love the environment on a college campus, and Brandeis is a particularly impressive school with a great reputation for bright students with a passion for social justice. Brandeis was just a great fit. The Hiatt Career Center also really aligned with my career goals and experience. Having gone to Northeastern University in Boston where I took part in the co-op program, I understood the importance of experiential education and how internships and career development resources really enriched and enhanced my college experience. The staff who work at Hiatt are also really impressive – holding multiple graduate degrees in a variety of fields. We have a lot to learn from one another.
HC: Did you use the career center at your university? How did it help you in your job search?
AA: Career services at Northeastern were built into our curriculum through the co-op program. While an undergraduate, I completed two 6-month full-time internships, one at Constant Contact here in Waltham, and the other at an environmental agency in Hartford, CT; both were communications positions. These internship experiences were instrumental in my getting a job after graduation, and in being prepared for the working world. I met one-on-one with my co-op advisor (i.e. career counselor) several times throughout my time at Northeastern to learn how to search for internship positions, and I also attended a 1-credit co-op class which reviewed other areas of professional development, such as resume and cover letter writing, and professional dress and interviewing skills. I also attended alumni networking events, and other opportunities to meet exciting new contacts.
HC: What are some of the best underutilized resources Hiatt has to offer?
AA: Two of Hiatt’s best kept secrets are the Brandeis Internship Exchange and HiattChat.The Brandeis Internship Exchange is Hiatt’s own version of Yelp for Brandeis internships. Launched this fall, it’s an easy and convenient way for Brandeis students to find and talk about real internship opportunities. If you need an internship, you can browse internship reviews from fellow classmates to get some ideas. If you just completed an internship, you can share your experience anonymously with others. We already have over 600 reviews so we’re really excited about this new tool to aid students in the internship search, in addition to our online workshops, B.hired database, and more.
HiattChat offers students an opportunity to get career advice from the comfort of their residence hall, whether they’re on campus or studying abroad! HiattChat is a virtual drop-in appointment with Hiatt Advisors (our peer career counselors). Students can access the service 4 nights per week using their Brandeis email or Gmail accounts.
HC: What is your favorite aspect of working at Hiatt? The most rewarding?
AA: The most rewarding part is seeing how the students grow over time to become professional adults, ready to tackle the not-so-scary-anymore “real world.” I also love meeting with students for informational interviews about marketing communications careers, and hearing about their goals and hopes for the future, knowing that I can be a resource for them. I also love when my marketing techniques really work – and we get a huge turnout at events, or we get amazing submissions for a poster contest I’m running to advertise an upcoming career forum. These successes are so encouraging, and help to reaffirm my efforts and that students are really hearing the messaging we’re sending out. However, we do always welcome feedback if you think we could be doing anything better!
HC: What do you wish you had known about searching for jobs after your own graduation?
AA: I wish someone had told me that searching for jobs after graduation is in and of itself a full-time job! From searching through postings, to perfecting your resume, to catering your cover letters to each job description, it takes a lot of time, energy, and motivation to apply for jobs. While many students get frustrated when no one’s biting, it is important to stay motivated, and to get excited about each job to which you’re applying. This makes the process more fun, and gives you more hope for the future. I studied abroad in Spain for my last semester, and it was very difficult to settle down and search for jobs while I was overseas. When I got back to the States, I gave myself the full summer to find a job, and that is what I did. I started my first job after college that September after months of full-time searching, and it all paid off in the end. Hiatt has lots of great job search resources for seniors and recent grads, including B.hired (Hiatt’s Information, Recruiting and Events Database), in-person and online workshops, as well as one-on-one appointments with a career counselor, and much more!
HC: What is your top piece of advice for Brandeis students who are starting their career searches?
AA: One important piece of advice is to not discount any opportunity to meet new people and learn about a new organization, career, or field. Informational interviews and networking events really do pay off. I’ll give you an example. As a Northeastern alum, I returned to my alma mater for a “Career Conversations” dinner with a seasoned alum and some current students. After this dinner, the coordinator of the event put me in contact with another Northeastern alum who was a lawyer (I was interested in law at the time) and we sat down for an informational interview. She then put me in contact with the Marketing Director of her law firm for another informational interview. This Marketing Director then invited me to apply for a position at their firm in the marketing department when one became available, and also suggested that I apply for another job she was forwarded from a friend of hers who is a recruiter. I then ended up having a great relationship with the recruiter, who set me up for a job interview at a boutique advertising agency. So as a result of attending just one networking dinner – I was ultimately able to apply to three exciting positions! Hiatt has many similarly exciting opportunities for students to network with employers and alumni – from industry career forums and alumni networking nights in cities across the country over Winter Break, to our shadowing program and our networking group on LinkedIn.
To schedule an appointment with Hiatt, call (781) 736-3618 or stop by drop-in hours Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday 2:00 – 4:30 p.m. or Tuesday 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.