Unfair Advantage

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February 2014 Articles:

Alumni Advantage is a newsletter for current students written by members of the National Professional Advisory Board and their colleagues. It provides insider advice, insight and inspiration so that when our graduates enter the real world, they are ready to rock it.

Four Steps to Land Your First Job Promotion
by Vinny Squillace
Vinny Squillace

Vinny Squillace

You've finally been accepted into the job of your dreams and want to rise through the ranks as fast as possible. How do you do it?

Follow these steps:

1. Lose the expectations

Getting your first job is life-CHANGING.

For the first time, you'll be responsible for a chunk of a full-time business that depends on you 40+ hours a week to help take over the world.

But before you set any expectations about what the next year will be like, don't.

Rather than that, remain open to any and all circumstances. Become a "Yes-man (or -woman)" instead of asking how it will benefit you.

Learn something from everyone.

Listen more than you speak.

2. Find a mentor

Some companies offer structured mentorship programs. If this exists, take advantage of it. For other companies, seek out a person who can give you a new perspective (ideally, someone from a different department) and ask if they'll get coffee with you a couple of times a month.

They will be flattered you asked, and you will gain invaluable knowledge on how to move up.

3. Answer unasked questions

Help your team by adding value to conversations. You can do this in many ways, but start by listening for questions and volunteering to help answer them.

Key things to listen for:

Even more important than being reactive is being proactive about answering the unasked questions.

4. Think differently

Find ways to think differently about every aspect of your job. You have an opportunity as a junior-level employee to see things objectively – so harness that.

Use it to uncover the missing links between things and bridge connections in ideas that others haven't found. Show your unique perspective in every piece of work that you create.

Above all, don't forget to inject optimism, even in the most stressful times. One of my favorite quotes is:

"The mind is its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven." – John Milton

That means even in the worst of times, you can choose whether to accept your fate or choose to look on the bright side. I choose the latter.

Vinny Squillace could be described as a forever-curious, passionate, optimistic student of the world. With a degree in Political Science and Psychology in 2011, he trekked over to New York City to make a name for himself in Advertising. Since he moved there, he has risen from an intern to associate account executive to creating and leading the growth of a department and now works as a Director of Marketing at Mr Youth, now MRY, a leading creative and technology agency. On the side, he is an aspiring photographer and marathoner who hopes one day to solve all global issues.


On Running Down Hallways and Other Things I've Learned
by Carla Blumenthal
Carla Blumenthal

Carla Blumenthal

I'm only 27, but I remember being in your shoes very well. School prepares you in certain ways to get a job (projects, portfolio examples), but there are a lot more "soft" skills and mindset practices that successful people develop to build a career. Here are a couple of themes that I've identified in my own life:

First — Sometimes You Need to Run Down Hallways

The times of applying online for a job are over. Opportunity exists everywhere; you just need to be vulnerable and open enough to look for it and ask for it. In the past, I've actually run down hallways after someone who I knew I had to speak to. I've had friends who have gotten interviews and eventually jobs because of someone they met on a train.

Second—Show Passion & Show ‘Em What You've Got

You need to actually WANT to be a part of the company. You need to show YOUR enthusiasm. Don't be afraid to share what matters to you during this process. During the interview, you need to actually SHOWCASE that you are capable. This means looking at the job description, tailoring your resume, drawing parallels between the job and your experience in the cover letter, and tailoring your portfolio. It will take time (and if you do it right, several hours), but in the end you are making the interviewer's job MUCH easier because the answer is right in front of him or her.

Third—You Are a Part of An Ecosystem

You've probably heard the phrase "It's who you know that counts." Guess what - it's true. What's amazing about that statement is that you control who you know. I grew up in the ‘burbs with parents whose careers were in medicine and education. They didn't know a soul in the cities or professions that I wanted to go in.

So, I just started going to events where I thought people in my industry would hang out. I continually showed up. I continually sent follow up emails. I didn't network. I became friends with the industry folk. I realized that it was an ecosystem and you just need to insert yourself into it. And you will receive work and projects by adding value and being consistent over time.

Best of luck in your new adventures. Remember, keep working and being open to what feels right to you!

Carla Blumenthal's purpose is to build environments that cultivate compassion, self-love, and understanding. She currently is building Tea+Purpose, a gathering in NYC (and expanding) for twenty-something women who have action-oriented conversations over tea.

Carla has worked on social media and engagement campaigns for brands such as KIND Healthy Snacks, Visa, Bing, MSN, and Pepperidge Farm. She's a graduate of James Madison University (B.A.) and Emerson College (M.A.) and has lived in NYC, Boston, Virginia and Philadelphia. She loves traveling, exercising, and can't go a day without a cup (or two) of tea.