This is a great week to be an engineer, if you’re in the market for a career transition. Check out this week’s hot jobs here.
Recently, the Office of Alumni Career Management sat down with alumna Melissa Wasser to talk about her time at Ohio State, and how that has impacted her career since graduation. Below are Melissa’s answers to some of our questions, as well as her advice for current and prospective Buckeyes considering following in her career path.
Degree: J.D. & M.A. in Public Policy and Management
Graduation Year: 2017
Current Occupation: Policy Counsel at the Project On Government Oversight
- – What brought you to The Ohio State University?
I always knew I wanted to go to law school, but I still had an interest in policy work that I wasn’t able to explore during undergrad. Knowing The Ohio State University has one of the best dual degree programs in the country at the Moritz College of Law and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs was the main reason driving my decision to enroll at Ohio State. I wanted the opportunity to challenge myself at a top-tier university while building the necessary skills to enter the workforce as a lawyer.
- – How did your experiences at Ohio State shape your career path?
Ohio State gave me the opportunity to participate in the Moritz College of Law’s Legislation Clinic, which gave me clinical placement experience working at the Ohio Statehouse. Learning how to monitor and analyze legislative issues at the state level is valuable knowledge that I still use in my current role every day. I was able to work with state legislators, give input on legislative language, and see how the state legislative process really worked. Being able to have this experience in one of the few legislation clinics in the country really set me apart from my peers and I credit that experience for helping me realize what my dream job now looks like.
3. – What advice do you have for OSU alumni and students interested in pursuing a career in your field?
If you’re looking for a career in the policy space, I highly recommend finding a mentor that can help guide you in your career. When I was searching for my current position, I reached out to mentors that I’ve had since college, mentors in law school, and other Buckeyes in this space to just ask for some advice. Find people who are where you want to be in 5 or 10 years and ask them how they got to their current position. Sometimes, all it takes is a random email or LinkedIn message asking another Buckeye for 15 minutes of their time to find the person who will make a profound impact on your professional life. Take advantage of resources at Ohio State that can connect you to alumni in the career field you want to be in! Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there to not only better yourself, but to find that next opportunity.
- – What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
My greatest professional accomplishment would be testifying before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet last summer on the federal judiciary during the COVID-19 pandemic. Being able to speak to members of Congress directly on how important access to the federal courts is, especially so early in my professional career, was challenging and highly rewarding. I’m very grateful that I was able to have this accomplishment just three years after graduating from Ohio State. I can’t wait to see what the next few years have in store!
- – What inspires you in your profession?
Working hard at work worth doing and setting an example for others inspires me in my profession. Whether it’s breaking down complex issues for Congress or highlighting government accountability options for policy wonks, I want to be able to champion good government reforms and make more people aware of how corruption and abuse of power hurts us all. It’s also very important to me that I set an example for those looking to get into the legal and policy fields, both in my work as a Policy Counsel and in the mentoring space. Knowing what it took to get here and being real about the struggle is something that I want to be able to give back to others who are just starting out. If I can lift up another Buckeye to join me in this space, it makes it all worth it.
For more information about Melissa, or to connect with her, please visit her online here:
Twitter: @Melissa_Wasser (https://twitter.com/Melissa_Wasser)
LinkedIn: Melissa Wasser (https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissawasser/)
Instagram: @Melissa_Wasser (https://www.instagram.com/Melissa_Wasser/)
Wow… 2020 was really something, right?
The Ohio State University Alumni Association launched the Bill and Susan Lhota Office of Alumni Career Management in 2012, largely in response to a significant movement among alumni requesting career guidance following the “Great Recession” of the late 2000s. For the last nine years, we have remained steadfast in our commitment to supporting Ohio State alumni in their lifelong career management. We strive to provide assistance in career development and transitions through a robust variety of resources, keeping our clients abreast of current trends and dynamics within the industry. Through a combination of relevant programming, original content, and other offerings, we have remained true to our goal of inspiring, motivating, and encouraging alumni in their journey toward finding satisfying and successful careers, all within a professional environment fostering a community of Buckeyes helping Buckeyes.
The goal of the Office of Alumni Career Management has always been to ensure accessibility to resources for every member of our 550,000+ strong global community of Buckeye alumni. We are proud to have been pioneers in providing virtual career resources among alumni offices in higher education for several years. When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the university, and the world at large, in early 2020, we were well poised to pivot to all virtual offerings, ensuring that we could meet the needs of alumni that we knew would need us now more than ever.
Although this is a scenario that no one imagined or could have been prepared for, the Office of Alumni Career Management staff was able to quickly assess and address the challenges stemming from our “new normal”. The most urgent issue was the need to create programming and materials to guide alumni in navigating this new career landscape.
Looking Back – How We Adjusted to a COVID-19 World in 2020
In March of 2020, we began offering webinars tailored to topics immediately relevant to the COVID-19 crisis. Our presentations, “Laid Off – Now What?” and “Career Pivots for Experienced Job Seekers” had more than 250 combined registrants – many of whom were first time attendees for an event hosted by our office. Our presentation, “How to Optimize Your Job Search During COVID-19” featured alumna Marissa Lee, who provided invaluable insight as a human resources professional and career coach. We supplemented this with podcasts relating to topics including, “Managing Stress when Working from Home”, “Maintaining Connections Across the Digital Distance”, and “Work/Life Balance for Working Parents”.
In addition to reframing our existing webinar curriculum to reflect the new circumstances we found ourselves under in 2020, the Career Management team also launched a new initiative to assist the influx of new job seekers with their many questions surrounding the search. Job Search Q&A sessions were held monthly beginning in May of last year, with a total of 724 alumni and friends registering for these events throughout the year, an average of 80 participants at each of these roundtables. We also piloted a biweekly group coaching program for six months last year as we worked to phase out one on one coaching and were able to support a number of alumni in crafting an effective elevator pitch, learning to network in a virtual medium, and job searching in the hidden market.
All told, in 2020 the Office of Alumni Career Management website had a total of 435,600 individual visits to our departmental website, which includes invaluable resources for alumni and friends such as resume and cover letter templates, our webinar archive, job search tools, and our alumni-specific job board, Alumni Career Connection.
Our departmental blog, Coach’s Corner, also received significant attention in the last year, with more than 13,000 individual users visiting the site during the year from all over the world, including 14 countries other than the United States.
Moving Forward – What We Are Looking Forward to in the New Year
It is safe to say that the Office of Alumni Career Management was successful in pivoting our offerings to meet the quickly changing needs of the Ohio State alumni community over the last year, and we look forward to continuing to elevate our offerings as we move into 2021. In February, we will launch Career Corner, a monthly newsletter curated to include relevant career content, advice, and events for alumni interested in job search or professional development topics.
In March, we are excited to announce that our office will launch a monthly Job Club series. Inspired by our group coaching pilot last fall, the Job Club will be a monthly meeting that combines guidance on a specific job search topic and a guided networking experience for participating alumni. We look forward to engaging with you in a fun and interactive way that provides meaningful assistance to those alumni who need it most.
Other projects on the horizon for the Career Management team include the launch of three self-paced mini-courses on leadership and professional development, for which we will be offering a Certificate of Completion for alumni who participate in those modules, collaborative partnerships with our colleagues in the alumni association, around campus, and around our community to further the reach of our services and advice, innovative volunteer opportunities for alumni who would like to give back to the university, and engagement with companies seeking to connect with our alumni and our university.
Where We Need You
For alumni who have not yet taken advantage of the many resources offered through the Office of Alumni Career Management, we extend an invitation for you to do so now – there is so much that we have available, and it is our sincere hope that you will utilize these resources as you continue in your own career development journey.
We’d also like to lean on alumni in the coming year, asking you to weigh in with your own expertise as our subject matter experts in your individual fields. We would love to see you engage with us on social media – particularly in our LinkedIn group or on AlumniFire – where your commentary can be seen by thousands of your fellow alumni, as well as current students. If you would like information on how you can get involved with our office, and ways that you can contribute, feel free to contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buckeye to Buckeye – Top Free Career Resources to Help You Get Started
Below are just a few of the great offerings available to you through the OSUAA Office of Alumni Career Management. Your fellow Buckeyes have been utilizing these continuously in their own career search, and we invite you to take advantage of them as well.
AlumniFire is Ohio State’s premier professional networking tool that allows you to connect directly with other alumni and students, as well as employers seeking to fill positions with Buckeyes like you! Here you can find people volunteering to give general career advice, resume reviews, relocation assistance, and other fun topics – you can also raise your hand to help another Buckeye in need as well!
Alumni Career Connection is our Buckeye alumni exclusive job board. With more than 20 new jobs posted every week from all around the country, you’re sure to find a position that fits what you’re looking for in terms of a next career move.
Ohio State’s biggest alumni career fair will be going virtual once again this year! Join us in June and November as we provide opportunities to get in front of employers looking to hire someone like you. Upcoming career fairs are posted regularly on our departmental webpage in the “Upcoming Events” section.
COVID got you thinking of taking a wander year somewhere outside of the United States? As an alumnus of the university, you have free access to Goin’ Global, a database that contains country-specific career and employment resources for more than 90 locations worldwide. Create a free account to access this resource and find your next great adventure abroad.
This week there are more than 20 new positions on Alumni Career Connection this week, from various places all over the country. If you are in the market for a new position, check out our offerings here.
Make it a great week!
Looking for a new position? This week’s Hot Jobs list has opportunities in publishing, engineering, social services, and more. Check out our list here, and head over to Alumni Career Connection in order to apply!
Another week, another round of great opportunities from Alumni Career Connection! Check out this week’s hot jobs here, and let us know if/when you apply!
Are you looking for a new job in the new year? If so, Alumni Career Connection has you covered! Check out this week’s Hot Jobs listing to see the newest positions posted by employers seeking to hire Buckeye Alumni from around the country, and join Alumni Career Connection so that you can keep up with all the hottest jobs posted every week!
Check out this week’s Hot Jobs list here.
Happy New Year!
Hopefully you are returning from the holidays with renewed energy and a sense of hope. There are still challenges ahead, but on the healthcare front, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
January is typically a time to make resolutions. You may have goals to include securing a new job. While the impact of the pandemic on the economy is not over, hiring has not halted. If your industry is suffering, consider expanding your search to related or new industries. Your transferrable skills may apply to a completely new product or service. Transferrable skills are those that may be used in a variety of roles or occupations. Critical thinking remains the number one transferrable skill that employers are looking for along with written and verbal communication, project management, problem-solving, leadership, teamwork, and analytical skills to name a few. This article from the Muse shows us which companies are still hiring during COVID-19.
I encourage you to look at the resources that we provide on our website as you begin your search. Every day, we see jobs posted on our alumni job board called Alumni Career Connection and our Ohio State networking platform called Alumnifire. We have wonderful resources on our website to include domestic and international job postings on Going Global and Versatile PhD. We have recorded many topics in webinar format for your on demand viewing. Topics that may specifically help you at this time are on resume writing, networking, interviewing, and career pivoting. If its further education that is on your mind this year, our webinar on a winning graduate school application will help.
Our world may seem to be at a halt right now, but your career journey does not need to stop. There is plenty to do to move your goals along, even in the new normal of remote work. Good luck!
Marilyn Bury Rice, Director
Marilyn has 30 years of experience in the career management field within higher education, non-profit, and corporate settings. She has advised students and alumni at Purdue University, Hanover College, the University of Notre Dame, Ohio Wesleyan, and The Ohio State University. She had the privilege of assisting women in becoming financially self-sufficient as a career consultant for Center for New Directions (a United Way Agency). And Marilyn spent 15 years working with experienced professionals in career transition at Right Management, a global talent and career management firm.
Marilyn holds a BS in communication and psychology and an MS in counseling and higher education administration from Purdue University. She values assisting alumni
in their ongoing career development and connecting with fellow Buckeyes around the globe
More and more over the last several months, we are learning the continuing value of developing and maintaining a strong digital presence. As our world becomes increasingly reliant on virtual connection in the age of COVID-19, it is more important than ever to adapt and hone our networking and communication skills to meet these needs.
Whether you are currently in the job search, or simply want to keep your marketing materials sharp and relevant in the event of an opportunity presenting itself, one of the most important things that you can do in this time is refresh your LinkedIn profile.
This article from Business Insider demonstrates exactly why LinkedIn is such a great opportunity for jobseekers at the moment, and does an excellent job of showcasing how you can go about updating your LinkedIn profile to meet the needs of the “next normal’s” job market.
A few key takeaways:
1. – Shift your thinking of the LinkedIn profile to that of a resource, not just a resume.
Too many times job seekers are guilty of treating their LinkedIn profile like a static online resume instead of like a resource that can be used to demonstrate your areas of expertise and allow you the ability to communicate with your audience.
Instead of creating a standing resume, experts suggest that you work to communicate how you contribute to your teams/industry and share your expertise. You can do this in a number of ways, including sharing articles, references, media, and more.
2. – Refocus your “About” section
Historically on LinkedIn, people have had a tendency to craft an “About” section that is nearly identical to the professional summary on their resumes. Instead, think about the About section as a more organic way to tell your story – what is it that you want readers to know about you as a professional – what is your “remarkable difference”?
3. – Connect with others genuinely
This one kind of seems like a no-brainer, but in the age of COVID-19, where so many of us are adjusting to the idea that we are #AloneTogether – genuine human connection can be hard to come by. Making an effort to use LinkedIn to create genuine connections and network with people on a deeper scale will help you really gain traction in building your network and opening yourself up to new opportunities.
If you’re interested in reading the entire article from Business Insider, you can do so by clicking here. We hope that this has been informative in helping you think about redesigning your LinkedIn profile a bit, and also in helping you think about redefining the way you think about LinkedIn as part of your networking and job search strategy.
Have a great day and Go Bucks!
Whether telecommuting or just starting a new home business venture, you’ll find orking from home takes both physical and mental steps to be productive. Factor in kids, spouses or roommates around; limited workspace available; and housework distractions that take you off course. The time is ripe to make changes – or more changes — in your office environment.
- Be practical about where you’re working.
It’s not always easy to focus at home or in settings that aren’t business-like. If you don’t have a designated office, re-think a bedroom, garage, attic, basement, even a storage room or large closet. Look online for transformation examples.
I turned our often-unused, ignored living room into a den/library. We sold the traditional furniture replacing it with book shelves, loveseat, lounge chair, and a used computer armoire, which conveniently hides my laptop and files behind its closed doors when we’re entertaining guests.
- Make a decision and act.
When you find a spot to work, but storage or clutter is in the way, don’t halt progress sorting through it first before clearing the space; that could take days or weeks. Pack it all into boxes and move them out of way, going back through when time allows. Remember, this doesn’t have to be permanent. Once I realized all six in our family would be working and taking online classes simultaneously under COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, we immediately moved my husband’s desk and computer into our bedroom to free up his basement office. That gave the kids freedom from having to tip-toe around their dad and created another place for them to escape for fun.
- Prioritize needs for your workspace.
No funds for new office furniture? Repurpose items around the house – just get set up. Find deals on used pieces online or at thrift stores. You won’t want to skimp on a good chair, though. Invest in one that protects your back and neck – maybe try an adjustable standing desk converter. For work in a common area, set boundaries and get noise cancelling headphones.
Have proper lighting on your desktop and also on your face for virtual meetings. Pick a space with natural light if possible – it’s best for eyesight, plus boosts energy and mood levels. Speaking of, mood is tied to procrastination. While working on a couch, bed or the patio outside may not be a good daily habit, if it suits your mood occasionally and yields results, go for it!
- Put yourself in work mode.
Get into a professional mindset each day. Dress out of pajamas. Don’t sleep in. Replace your former morning drive by taking a walk around the block before “punching in.” Do one easy, habitual task each morning for a sense of accomplishment – it sparks a fire within to tackle another job (a prime example: search for retired U.S. Navy Admiral William McRaven’s viral video “Make Your Bed” speech).
- Keep focused.
Know what diverts your attention and make an honest effort to avoid or eliminate temptations. Set hours to block favorite websites. Limit phone, email and texting – don’t answer every ring and ping. It’s said, “Doing the more immediate before the more important is counterproductive.” That includes tackling dishes or laundry “really quickly.” If it’s more efficient for you, see if your boss or spouse is okay with you operating during red-eye shifts.
- Utilize visual and mental
Employ time and task management aides. Many smartphone and computer apps are designed for this, down to simple calendar reminders. Or go old school – but still very effective – with the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, www.eisenhower.me/eisenhower-matrix/. Deadlines are good motivators, so ask a client or employer to hold you to them. On a to-do list, it’s visually encouraging to use check boxes or cross out completed assignments. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld marks a red X on his calendar each day he writes; seeing the chain of Xs encourages him not to break it.
- Set ground rules with family, manage expectations.
Apparently, “work-life harmony” is in and “work-life balance” is out. One week may be work-heavy but the next leaning more toward personal life. The two aren’t always equal – and that’s okay. Keep that in mind, as teleworking or a home business can be trying on families. Are you sacrificing time you should be spending with kids or a spouse during evenings and
weekends? Make a pact agreeing when to “punch out.” For parents with kids stuck at home away from friends and usual summer fun, give them a little more attention; listen. Those work minutes lost can be found later in the day.
Don’t beat yourself up if you’re finding it frustrating or too lax working from home. Your eating, sleeping and exercise habits may be out of whack as well, with or without coronavirus social distancing at play. Know your trigger points. Ask for help. Take breaks. Go for a walk. Say mantras. Meditate. Pray. Be flexible. Remind yourself you have your health and that you’re still working at all.
You may love your new work life from home, or you may be anxious about a return to “normal.” Yet especially during a pandemic and national crisis like this crazy 2020, don’t sweat the small stuff. Time will surely show: This season will pass, this year will roll.
Ann Wilkins Jefferson is a 1992 graduate of The Ohio State University with a bachelor of arts in Communication – Rhetoric track. She held fulltime jobs as an assistant press secretary for a U.S. Senate campaign and as a communications / marketing director for a non-profit before starting freelance writing, primarily for two major clients. Aside from her civilian work, Ann is a lieutenant commander and Public Affairs Officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, a career that has taken her around the world. She’s a veteran of Air Force Reserve Public Affairs and graduate of U.S.M.C. Officer Candidate Course. Ann and her husband, C. Calvin Jefferson, III, ’92, ’95, live in a Cleveland suburb with their four kids (including their oldest, Scarlett Grace, who graduated from Ohio State in May!). Cal is president of UnionHistories.com, where Ann assists with operations, editing and events