Monday, November 7, 2016

Five Things I Learned at the Career Intensive Bootcamp

Katelyn Caralle '16 shown taking video at the Boot Camp.

By Katelyn Caralle '16

A lot of times as students we feel that we have attended so many workshops, had our resume reviewed so many times and participated in so many networking events, that we are as prepared as we are ever going to be for post graduate life. I thought the same thing. But then I attended a Career Intensive Boot Camp. 

The Boot Camp consisted of two and a half days of team-building exercises, career-related workshops, networking luncheons, panel discussions and guest speakers. This event is held every fall and spring semester. Here are five important things I learned by participating:

1. Follow up or get forgotten
Attending networking luncheons and talking to alumni and professionals is great, but doesn't really amount to anything if you don't follow up with those you have met. Professionals talk to new people every day and are constantly engaging in networking opportunities. They aren't going to remember you later from one conversation you had. So, to keep yourself fresh in their minds, send a thank you letter or a follow up email. I learned that it is important to be genuine. Try to remember something specific you talked about or a detail from their life. Including those details in your note shows that you were fully engaged in the conversation and are really committed to maintaining a professional relationship.

2. Seek out professional connections
When reaching out to someone you have networked with in the past, it's important to understand that these professionals know that you are just starting out. Although you may not have anything to offer these professionals in return for them providing you with amazing professional connections and advice, it's important that they know how valuable a resource they are to you. This is why it is especially important to foster these relationships in a genuine way. I connected with someone at the Boot Camp and had a long conversation about the LSATs and how her younger daughter was also taking them. When I emailed her later to follow up, I mentioned how I had completed the LSATs and was awaiting the outcome and I even recommended a study book her daughter should buy to help her prepare. She was very surprised I remembered her daughter and appreciated the advice on a good study book.

3. Talk the talk with your resume
I have had my resume reviewed so many times I've lost count. It's been looked at by alumni and professionals in my desired field of work and even career coaches. Each time I had someone analyze my resume, they had small edits here and there, some minimal layout advice and personal preferences they thought important to include or exclude. However, the boot camp was the first time that I was told about the importance of being able to talk about what was on my resume. If you are asked a question by a potential employer about something mentioned in your resume, you should be able to talk about it for a good amount of time and have a lot to say. If you can't talk about a point for two minutes or more, is it really worth including? Asking this questions, is a great way to trim your resume down to the desired one page limit and eliminate irrelevant information.

4. Get personal with LinkedIn
When connecting with professional or alumni on the professional networking site LinkedIn, it's important that you make yourself stand out and express your interest more personally in becoming connected. When sending a connection request, include a personal message. Tell them why you want to connect or how you feel the connection will be mutually beneficial. If you have met that person before in passing, mention the event and how they made an impression on you. This will make it much more likely that you will be able to make that connection and begin networking with those individuals.

5. Be authentic in interviews
It is easy to begin second guessing everything you say in an interview, but usually what first comes to mind when you are asked a question, is a great starting point on your response. In my mock interview I was asked why I wanted to be a lawyer and I started off by saying, "Well, I've always wanted to be a lawyer because my mother is." And I continued to expand to other reasons off of that and even told her that I probably shouldn't have said that. At first I really thought it was a bad response to that question, but at the end of the mock interview, the particular Bloomsburg alumna said that it was actually a really good thing to include. She said that it showed my homegrown passion for being an attorney and expressed how it was almost in my blood. I never expected my response to go over so well. So stick to your first intuition, usually it will get you further than you think.


The Career Intensive Boot Camp is an invaluable experience for all Bloomsburg University students and is definite 'must attend' event. There are two Career Intensive Boot Camps occurring in the spring semester. Register for the Feb. 10-12 Boot Camp here or the March 3-4 Boot Camp here.

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