Sam with the Huntington Learning Center
Sam, current assistant director at Huntington Learning Center in Omaha and UNO almuna, shares her experiences of career preparedness in college and navigating her career after graduation.
What are some experiences you leveraged during your time at university to be competitive in the job market/to get this job?
TLC [Thompson Learning Community] was most definitely helpful, especially with the professional dinners, as those helped me learn the essence of being a professional. Also, going to the career fairs helped me better understand how to market myself on the spot, sell myself, and ask questions to scope out different career opportunities that would fit me and my career goals. Also, the resources from ACDC like the résumé materials was a BIG help. I still use those when I need to make edits or updates to my résumé.
Were you also involved in any additional student organizations or clubs relating to your major that helped you prepare for your career path?
I got involved with TEDO-The Teacher Education Diversity Organization for a while. This organization helped me gain stronger relationships with my professors and peers.
How did these experiences prepare you for your current position?
I am able to effectively speak, market, and learn about new people through the Omaha area. Before these experiences, networking gave me such anxiety, but since engaging in TEDO, my classes, and TLC, I was able to overcome that. Also, I stand out more to employers because of my professionalism. My résumé is well-crafted, and I know how to prepare for interviews, and do other small professional things that help with my brand. Essentially, these experiences helped me narrow my focus, too, of what I wanted from a career. This helped lessen my anxiety and taught me how to play opportunities to my favor.
How did you find out about your position?
I found my current position through LinkedIn. Over time and with practice, I gained better skills in searching for jobs online and in person. In addition, searching for jobs gave me the confidence to "shoot my shot" with employers. I actually learned from networking about sending direct emails to employers even if there isn't any current job openings. Doing this has helped me acquire a teaching position for the fall, and the employer went the extra mile to offer me paid time in the school this spring. This would have never happened if I didn't have the confidence or knowledge through my experiences while at university.
What is the culture of your organization like?
The culture of the organization is very individualized to the student and works with the parent to come up with the best option. Does the organization suit me? As I continue to work here, honestly, no. During my transitional period, it was a great option which still allows me to work with students, but I'm hoping to be in a classroom soon.
What are some steps you plan to take (or are currently taking) for the next stage in your career?
I love working with students and meeting new families. Seeing them just be kids, and talk about their school day. Finding their interests. Some steps I'm taking is to integrate myself in schools finding my fit. I'm reaching out to different schools and principals to see how I can work my way into those organizations.
*Interview edited for brevity and clarity.