What’s one piece of career advice you would give to current students and recent alumni from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy? Some of our alumni and Board of Visitors members answered a series of questions on how current students and recent alumni can navigate their new careers.
What do you wish someone had told you as you began your first job after college?
“Be curious. Ask at least two meaningful questions of your coworkers or boss every day.” –John Ferguson, B.A.’16, Outreach Manager at Indiana Nonprofit Resource Network
“Be open to exploring all aspects of the organization. Don’t assume that anything ‘isn’t your job.’ This will provide great learning opportunities and open doors.” –Amanda Kamman, VP of Partnerships at Project Lead The Way
“Failure is part of the learning process. With failure (in whatever way you define it) comes incredible professional and personal growth.” –Smita Vadakekalam, M.A.’01, VP of Professional Services at Heller Consulting
What do you wish someone had told as you wanted to advance in your career?
“Be patient and put in the time. You don’t advance just from ‘showing up.’ Find someone in a position like what you want and get advice/help. –Amelia Clark, M.A.’01, VP of Community Health for Meridian Health Services
“Exhibit professional patience.” –Peter Hoskow, Principal and Managing Director of CCS Fundraising
What is your advice for new employees hoping to work their way up?
“Take initiative, demonstrate creativity, and become a ‘go to’ person for solving problems, helping others, and finding solutions.” –Erin Hedges, M.A.’13, Founder and President of Hedges
“Get or stay involved in trade associations/specialty groups. You will start building a network.” –Amelia Clark
What steps can students and/or alumni take to learn new skills and advance in their field?
“Meet people of all ages and backgrounds, read, go to lectures, and address deficits through volunteer activities.” –Jennifer Zeisler, M.A./M.P.A.’04, Director of Career Readiness at ECMC Foundation
“Seek out a mentor. Ask them how they learned and advanced and then see how you might apply these options (and others) in your context.” –John Ferguson
“Professional development opportunities do not always cost a lot of money. Seek out low and no cost training and workshops, even online, to continue your development.” –Erin Hedges
What do you wish someone had told you as you tried to move from one job sector to another?
“Do your research about the new sector. Network and attend events that provide learning and opportunities.” –Amanda Kamman
What are key skills/abilities professionals need in the workplace, no matter what role they have or what organization they are working for?
“Initiative, reliability, accountability, positivity, pride in your work.” –Erin Hedges
“Continuous learning, basic technical skills, leadership, emotional intelligence, growth mindset, self-awareness, communications.” –Smita Vadakekalam
What key leadership skills should one develop in order to advance to a leadership role?
“Play to your strengths but always be aware of your weaknesses and how you work through them.” –Amelia Clark
“Lead by doing, empower others, exhibit excellent work.” –Peter Hoskow
“Be willing to take a good risk and learn a new area.” –Smita Vadakekalam
What advice would you give to our online students to help them effectively network virtually?
“Use LinkedIn to connect with individuals you want to know.” –Jennifer Zeisler
What are your tips for finding a mentor in the workplace?
“Don’t just look for someone you like, look for someone who can challenge you so you can grow.” –Amelia Clark
How do you balance your work/life roles?
“Set work and personal goals, large and small, that hold you accountable for being intentional in both areas of your life.” –Erin Hedges
Is community involvement important when you’re considering a new hire? If so, how can prospective employees include that within their interview?
“Yes, articulate the way community involvement informs your values.” –Peter Hoskow
What’s the best career advice you received?
“Volunteer to take on tasks so that you can learn new skills and meet new people.” –Amelia Clark
“You can do anything you set out to do. Just work hard and stay confident in yourself.” –Erin Hedges
“Be a lifelong learner and be open to positions/careers you may not have considered. You may just find something you love.” –Amanda Kamman
Any other pieces of career advice you have for current students or recent alumni? Share them below!