Edited by Sandra Kleinsasser

Recently a dozen WCA mentors met with students from the UT and Texas State WCA chapters for a fun and productive morning of “Speed Mentoring.”  As you might expect, some of the students are worried about their upcoming job hunts.  Our volunteer mentors had so much solid advice that we are sharing more today on the Mentor Program webpage.

The job market is a scary place and I think my lack of confidence holds me back. How can I get started? — New Grad

Be Thoughtful

Barbara Springer

Almost everyone is fearful about meeting strangers and figuring out how to find a new job, or another job. However, if you can make contacts with people and establish a network, they often can be of assistance and support when you look for a job.

How do you establish a network? Join associations, especially if there is a student chapter. Attend different events in your fields of interest. Volunteer for organizations whose objectives you feel passionate about (often hiring managers are involved at board level positions, and it’s a way to differentiate yourself and get noticed.) You might also find a mentor.

By building your network and helping others, you will have contacts that know you and can support you in your job search.

Just remember to be thoughtful about making contacts. Don’t ask to add someone to your network without having an introduction or some contact with them. It takes time and effort, but it will help you for your entire working life.

— Barbara Springer


Be Prepared 
Emily Fraser_headshotIt takes time to develop your confidence, especially if you are just starting out or are changing careers. No matter what, you have done something that showcases your skills or passions. Consider everything you have worked on, from writing a personal blog to coordinating your neighborhood picnic or volunteering on a WCA committee to spearheading a new project at school or work. Take pride in what you have accomplished up to this point in your career.

Also, practice makes perfect. Practice your elevator pitch in front of the mirror; read up on powerful postures; network, network, NETWORK; and check out the Knock ‘Em Dead interview/career series. I had great success with the Knock ‘Em Dead interview flash cards during my last job search.

Thanks for that tip, Careers Over Coffee gals!

Emily Fraser


Be Persistent
jgunter_awcaustinIf you have 70 percent of the job qualifications, go for it. Apply for lots of jobs knowing that it is a numbers game in part.
Ask for what you want: email people for intros, and be clear about what you’re seeking. Some will respond – some won’t. If they don’t respond, it is not because you did something “wrong” but most likely because they are busy. Be persistent.

Something will come open. Someone will want what you have to offer.

Jan Gunter, Communications and Community Relations Director, the Salvation Army


Be Brave
Jenny Magic_headshotWaiting until you feel ready is often too late. Remember that most senior online marketing leaders have probably never even taken an online marketing class – the subject didn’t exist when they went to school!

Experts in fast-paced fields have to learn on the job. The most important skill you have is curiosity and eagerness to take new ideas in stride.

Second, what do you really have to lose? Or better yet, what’s the least you need to gain to make the next risk worth it? Figure out your minimums. How much (money, respect, pride, whatever) do you need to meet your minimum requirements? Often we get so hung up on the big scary goal that we forget to take the baby steps.

Jenny Magic, 2014 Gene Barnwell Waugh Mentor Award Winner and VP of Content Strategy at SiteGoals


We’re Here to Help

Need some career advice? Wondering how others have handled a situation? Got a question or comment for our mentors? Contact us at wcamentors@wcaustin.org. Our volunteers are glad to help. Confidentiality will be respected.