Hired from the Hilltop

A Blog by Career and Professional Development at St. Edward's University


20 Suggestions for Incoming College Freshmen

Sally Perez-Ramos, MSD ’14
Manager of Communication and Online Programs

As you prepare for this exciting new chapter of your life, it is imperative you take the time to sit and reflect on the upcoming year. I tell incoming students every year, do not overwhelm yourself your first semester.  Take the time to adjust to this new change in your life, this independence you are now experiencing, this inside look into the world of “adulting”. I really appreciated the article, Twenty Suggestions for Incoming College Freshmen, because it outlines 20 suggestions for freshmen to consider – such as taking advantage of everything the university has to offer.

I encourage all of you to take advantage of the resources that are at your disposal – stop by Career and Professional Development, utilize the Writing Center, partake in Student Life activities, start familiarizing yourself with all the student services available to you at the university. But most important of all, take time for you. Take time to stop and smell the roses, to get a good night’s sleep, exercise your mind, body, and soul, and recognize your study habits and what works best for you. We look forward to having you on campus this fall and can’t wait to meet every single one of you!



Companies Offering Student Loan Assistance

Emily Salazar, Career Counselor

Hey, recent graduates searching for jobs: What benefits are you looking for when you conduct your job search? Is it salary? Is it long vacations? Is it flexible hours? We understand why these things would be important to you, but what would you say if we tell you that there are companies that help you pay down your student loan debt? There aren’t many, but they do exist.  Glassdoor.com recently put together a list of companies that offer student loan benefits AND they are hiring right now! Check out this list of 10 companies that offer this special benefit.



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Advice from me to you

Andrew Harper, ’03, MLA ’08
Manager of Employer Relations

In March 2003, I sat in Moody Hall 134 as I listened to longtime career counselor Emily Salazar explain why I needed to tailor my resume, and why I needed to start networking. Each piece of advice made sense, but each recommendation only made me more anxious. For each recommendation, I kept thinking to myself, “When will I add that additional detail, when would I able to set-up all those informational interviews?”

I continued to have this conversation with myself thinking, “I am so behind on turning in my latest submission for Professor Loughran’s Capstone course. If I don’t finish, I don’t graduate. But if I don’t take Emily’s advice, I won’t have a job and I won’t be able to pay the rest of my lease out.” I continued to fret, thinking, “There is so much I have to accomplish, but there are only a few weeks left until graduation! How am I going to get through this?”
I dealt with the anxiety gripping me and began reaching out to every person in my small professional network of past part-time job supervisors, faculty, and student organization advisors. I carefully tweaked my resume 100 times for each position that interested me. After many sleepless nights, I finally landed my first professional job 22 weeks later. That same week, I received my first bill to repay my student loans. Every adult told me, it would work out, but did this process have to be so stressful?
I had thought I had done everything right. I was Student Ambassador Coordinator in the Office of Admission, completed an internship at a local nonprofit, chaired the Student Leadership Team and served as president of small student organization while maintaining a grade point average above 3.0 in a skill specific major. Yet, the job search processes was not effortless and lead to months of unemployment after graduation and borrowing money to pay my rent. What went wrong? The answer: I had not engaged in the career exploration and job search processes soon enough.
The experience so profoundly affected me; I have so far dedicated most of my professional career imploring college students, especially fellow Hilltoppers, to start thinking about networking and gaining professional experiences as soon as they step on the Hilltop. What could I have done differently? Here is the checklist I wish I had used:
  • Visited the career center before my junior year and started conversations about finding competitive internships, especially ones outside of Austin.
  • Started conducting informational interviews with professionals doing the jobs I thought I had wanted.
  • Attended every career panel and fair on-campus and introduced myself to the employers that attended.
  • Followed up with those employers from those career events and used those connections to explore careers through more internships.
  • Developed confidence to take on the entire job and internship search process by repeating the checklist above.
Would you like to avoid the stress I experienced? Then start engaging with the career exploration and search process. Visit our event calendar and make it a goal to attend as many networking events as possible and when you have questions, stop by the office during walk-in hours or to schedule an appointment. Walking across the graduation stage and moving beyond the Hilltop may seem far off in the horizon. However, that moment will come sooner than you expect. Be prepared and start exploring all of the exciting career options available to you NOW!
Andrew Harper, 03, MLA ’08 has been empowering students to discover their career interests and connecting them to employers for more than a decade, primarily through St. Edward’s University’s Career and Professional Development as Manager of Employer Relations. In addition, to his work on the Hilltop, Andrew is an advocate for the career services profession representing Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana on the Cooperative Education & Internship Association (CEIA) Board of Directors and as Programs Chair for the upcoming 2017Southern Association of Colleges & Employers Conference (SoACE). He is also a past president of the Texas Cooperative Education & Internship Association (TxCEIA) and completed the Management Leadership Institute through the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE). Andrew proudly earned both his undergraduate degree in writing and graduate degree in liberal arts from St. Edward’s University.




Are Your Social Media Channels Hurting You?


Rosie Kamau,
Student Career Educator

The quick transfer and communication in this day and age have made life sufficiently easier for the modern day citizen, yet in some ways, it has complicated our lives. These complications that come due to growing technology is especially evident on the impact social media has on our careers. It is now possible to get hired through Facebook, hired by Facebook, and just as likely fired because of Facebook. What we usually only share with our close friends and family has the potential to be accessible to all sorts of crowds including your next hiring manager. Therefore, it is important to make sure not to board the train of career self-destruction when posting about an outing last weekend or by badmouthing employers and co-workers on your social media.


Similarly, it is just as important to remember to be social on your social media. Use social media to share and network with individuals, just make sure to set boundaries. Include private settings and filter out what you decide to share- the world doesn’t need to know it all. Aim to use social media to promote career growth and build a circle of not simply loved ones and friends, but also a circle of like-minded individuals just as ambitious as you are.

To learn more on what to avoid when it comes to social media, I encourage you to read more here.



#HiredFromtheHilltop Wednesdays


5 Tips for Better Super-Connecting

Laura Briceno,
Graduate Intern

Besides your stellar cover letter and killer resume, networking is a great tool that can open doors to many life changing opportunities! As you build relationships with professionals in your industry, consider connecting with others outside of your area of interest. Building these connections not only for yourself but also to help connect other people to each other is a great way to foster rapport and reputation. At some point, they may repay you with the introductions you need to get your foot in the door.

Don’t know how to start? Head over to a networking event. Here you can begin to meet like-minded individuals that are passionate about your industry and others as well. As spring break approaches here in Austin, TX start looking at all of the free networking events that SXSW has to offer. You can find some here: https://www.eventbrite.com/d/tx–austin/networking/

The article that follows will help you while you’re out making connections. It outlines 5 tips for strong super-connecting! Take a look: https://www.workitdaily.com/super-connecting-tips/


How to Connect on LinkedIn

Bridget Henderson,
Student Career Educator

Many LinkedIn users try to expand their network by sending out connection invites, but too often they’re plagued by the basic, “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” default message. Can you imagine scrolling through your invites, seeing that same message over and over again? It’s boring. It’s not specific. Most importantly, it is likely to get deleted by someone that doesn’t know you on a first-name basis. So, what should you send? What makes up a connection invite that actually gets those connections?

First, understand that a LinkedIn invitation should be 3 things: meaningful, targeted, and professional. When constructing an invitation, be sure to have a clear purpose for your request. Let Steve from your favorite marketing company know that you want to connect with him to collaborate or just have coffee and chat- just don’t leave that purpose unmentioned.

Personalize your message. Let them know how you discovered them, why your messaging, and most importantly, who you are. Here is an example of a polite, personalized, meaningful invite:

Dear Roger,

I am a junior in college interested in Advertising. For the past few months, I’ve been following your work in the newest Ralph Lauren campaign. I loved the recent spread in Elle magazine. I would love to chat with you further and hear about how you began working in the field and what skills are necessary to become a great advertiser. Thank you for your time!


Do you see how the message was direct, yet detailed? It is hard for anyone to delete a message that includes praise and interest. Although messages should always be professional, it is okay to add in a playful connector. If you’re messaging someone from your hometown or you went to the same school, you can include a line like “Hello fellow Hilltopper!” or end it with “Go Eagles!” People love to feel special and it creates a great common connection between whoever you’re messaging.

You should always browse the person’s profile before sending an invite to see what specifics you can mention in your message. The more personal, the better. Don’t forget to spellcheck, and you’re ready to send the perfect LinkedIn invitation.



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