Written by Jesse Sannicandro
Framingham State University’s office of Career Services and Employer Relations (CSER) held a networking event on October 26 called Career Advice Roundtables (CARS). This was an opportunity for students to gain valuable information from professionals and FSU alumni employed at local businesses. The best possible outcome for attending a networking event like this is to ultimately land a job offer.
Mavis Wong, a graduate student getting her M.B.A. who works as the Marketing and Public Relations manager in the CSER office, attended the event and managed to accomplish the best possible outcome. I recently sat down with Mavis to ask her a few questions about her experience with the CARS event. I was able to take away a lot of information based on what she told me.
How has working at CSER helped you develop skills in finding a job?
“It’s taught me a lot about what hiring managers are looking for in cover letters and resumes, especially, and being able to tailor it in terms of who you are and what you’re bringing to the table. The CSER events bring new opportunities to network with hiring managers and have conversations with them about the culture of the company, such as what the specific position entails, and how you can help.”
A big thing is knowing what you have to offer a company, and refining how to pitch yourself.
What was your experience with the CARS event?
“It was interesting because I was working it at the time and there were companies I was interested in learning about. After my official duties were over, I got to sit down, speak with hiring managers, listen to their conversations with other students, take notes on what they were looking for, and whether or not I could fulfill those roles.”
Talking and listening to other people can help you figure out what skills companies value in a potential employee.
Did CSER help with networking skills?
“It helps that they hosted the event so I could have the opportunity to network. I’d seen some of the hiring managers at other events and I was already familiar with some of the companies.”
Taking advantage of any networking opportunity that presents itself is important to help you practice.
Do you think you would have gotten a job offer without this type of networking?
“I definitely wouldn’t have met the hiring manager without the CARS event. I was able to speak with him in depth about a lot of things—where the company is going, what it’s looking for.”
Meeting with people in positions of power allows them to put a face to a name.
Would you consider returning to participate in future CSER events as an alumna?
“I’d love to talk to people about my experience with CSER and all of its benefits.”
All Framingham State alumni are encouraged to return to help students in their job search.
Do you have any final nuggets of wisdom to offer?
“At the CARS event, I was able to talk to multiple managers and open up different doors and possibilities for my career. But something I noticed was that a lot of students were wondering what the company would offer them, which is not what it’s about. It should be more about what you can offer the company. Students should do more research into companies before attending networking events like this.”
Networking events like CARS are opportunities to tell employers what you offer. How do you fit in? How can you solve their problems? How can you make them a profit? How can you help them? Ask not what your employer can do for you, ask what you can do for your employer.
Events like CARS can be extremely useful for students. It’s important to take advantage of these opportunities while they are being offered. Once you’re done with school, you’ll have to network in less structured environments. Really, you can only learn so much from instruction: the best way to develop these skills is to go out and practice, practice, practice. Soon enough, you can end up like Mavis; with a job offer under your belt and be the next success story.