Helping Gonzaga University Students and Alumni Clarify and Achieve Their Academic and Professional Goals

Author: aszotkowski

Hire a Zag: 6th Annual Bay Area TREKS

Day one of the Bay Area TREKS proved to be the #1 place to be – students found the excursions to Stryker, Google, eBay, Mcafee, and Chegg informative about cultural trends in the Silicon Valley job market (team work oriented), helpful (alumni led some of the tours, welcomed questions, and encouraged to enter the job search by being confident in yourself), and fun. The day closed with a alumni networking dinner at Santa Clara University and final words of wisdom delivered from CEO of Chegg Dan Rosensweig. Mr. Rosensweig emphasized “betting on yourself” and to not “define yourself in a way that others define you.”

 “There are jobs for the best educated, there are jobs with those with good souls and good hearts, for high achievers, for those who don’t fear failure but embrace opportunity.”

Starting Thursday morning, students rode in two busses to Stryker to meet Caitlin O’Toole and Bridget Moran, both Gonzaga grads, class of 2011. Both expressed how, even in the biotech endoscopy facility, the company felt similar to Gonzaga – the community, the meeting of different people (and the chance to get lost should not be overestimated) and how each person fits into their role within the company culture.

That’s the other thing—the overarching lesson of the day to students was seeking companies they saw a role they could fit into within the culture—“where will you give the best of you in that company?,” asked Rosensweig.

The Silicon TREK is both impressive and invaluable for those looking to network in the Bay Area. Even if you get a chance to stand next to Director of Gonzaga Alumni Mentor Program Kevin Pratt, who continues to ask students how they fit into the roles they dream of, is worth the trip, and a visit to the Career Center’s Office (forgive the plug :)).

Sample of Kevin Pratt’s questionnaires

  • How would you add value?
  • What are your strengths?
  • Tip: Answer quickly, concisely
  • Any way you can craft your message to be more articulate, cohesive and concise is going to help you.
  • Why us? (the company you want to work for) Why you? (how do you differ from others)

The TREKS can help YOU become #1 in standing out to an employer. How will you define success?


From the intern’s desk: Council on International Educational Exchange invites to Teach Abroad

A letter from CIEE’s (Council on International Education Exchange) Director of Teach Abroad Programs Matthew Redman appeared on my desk on top of the keyboard.

“Dear Colleague, I write today to share two interesting facts for your graduating seniors: It is easy to get an international job and gain valuable international professinal experience; Graduates of any major are eligible to teach English abroad.”

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CIEE Teach Abroad is not a corps. Not Peace Corps, not Teach for America Corps, not Army of Engineers Corps. CIEE Teach abroad emphasizes being a program provider and not a recuiter.

  • Teaching programs are located in Chile, China, Dominican Republic, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The Nuts and Bolts from the poster:

With CIEE Teach Abroad, You’ll have access to:

  • Unparelled services and support from contract negotiation to insurance to visa assistance or procurement.
  • Expert advisors to help you plan your teach abroad journey and provide detailed information and recommendations
  • In-depth oritentations to familiarize you with the lozal language, culture and teaching techniques including immersion progreams, language classes and TEFL training.
  • On-site staff who are there to assist and advice you while you’re abroad.

CIEE prides themselves on being different. The program states a commitment to transparency with an engaged alumni that embrases the world by questioning perceptions and investigating the similarities and differences between cultures.

Come to the Career Center in upper Crosby  to see the poster or check-out for more information. To hear from real participants about their experiences abroad through blog entries, photos, video and more, visit



Putting the “I” in Introduce

WetFeet knows the logistics of landing your dream job. A recent post on the website will help you obtain it.

The first question about yourself is tricky.Palms sweat and words ramble, but this appraoch is sure to help in interviews, networking, and coffee dates.

Just remember, “So tell me about yourself” really means “So, tell me why I might be helping you get a job today.” It starts a conversation that takes combining preparation with presentation.

Where to start? Keep this suggestoins in mind:

  • Before you meet or talk or Skype, reflect on your tangible skills (technical, not personal), challenges you overcame, and the specific reasons why you will be a great job candidate, employee, or contact.
  • Next, answer these WetFeet questions in a notebook
  • Which of your previous jobs, even if they were part-time or volunteer positions, provided you with experience relevant to what you hope to do now? If none, what about internships or academic experiences? What about courses you may have taken that gave you an understanding of the industry you’re pursuing?
  • What are your strongest skills?
  • List specific examples of projects that you worked on where you solved an important problem. You can use those to show that you are a great troubleshooter and can think under pressure.
  • What can you say about yourself that will set you apart from other young people or entry-level job candidates? In other words, what makes you memorable and special?”
  • Next, remember the 3×3, three stakes in your answer that establishe your focus and articulation, and three ways to practice saying them.
  • Say: Tell them who you are with one remarkable statement about yourself that urges the listener to want to know more (I am…

Examples from WetFeet

  • A magna cum laude graduate of ____________with a B.A. in ___________ .
  • A recent grad and recipient of the ________ award in __________ .
  • An accomplished musician who managed a band and put myself through college.
  • An extreme sports enthusiast who jumps out of airplanes and learned to fly them.
  • A strong researcher who made significant contributions to ___________ .
  • A championship athlete and captain of my soccer team.


  • Say: Tell them what you’re good at. Refer to your skills and how they benefited jobs, internships, study abroad, school or volunteering.
  • Say: Provide a call to action. Express clearly what you know you want and that you will do a great job.

Examples from WetFeet

  • “My principal career goal right now is ____________ and I’m excited to learn how your company’s leadership position in the industry might open up opportunities for me.”
  • “I believe very strongly in your company’s mission. I’d love to explore with you how my success in this position could make a contribution to that mission.”


3 Ways to make this work

  • Do: Tape yourself, get to know your voice! And avoid ums, likes, uhs, all the fillers.
  • Do: Test it out in front of friendly ears (friends, family, coworkers)
  • Do: Create a cheat sheet on the back of a business card or index card that’s in your wallet always!

Always smile and be yourself!

Blog referenced Lindsay Pollack’s article on WetFeet.


Experience the magic behind the stories you grew up with…

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Semester-long intern program and opportunities for recent grads

Network with leaders, take part in personal and career development, build transferable skills like problem-solving, teamwork, guest service and effective communication.

Here’s a preview to the application. Please feel welcome to bring questions on information night!
Application requirements:

  • Be enrolled as a Full-Time or Part-Time Student and Taking Classes in the United States
  • Meet any school requirements for participation (ex. G.P.A., grade level, # of credit hours earned)
  • Be at least 18 years of age by the time the Program Begins
  • Possess Unrestricted Work Authorization

For international students

  • Be currently enrolled in a college/university in the U.S. and possess unrestricted US work authorization (studying on a F-1 or J-1 visa).
  • Contact your international student advisor with questions on eligibility.
  • Be sure to have a US Social Security Number issued to you. Should be invited to participate, you will be required to submit verification of your legal right to work in the U.S. at the time you arrive.

Locations in Anaheim, California (Disneyland ® Resort) and Lake Buena Vista, Floriday (Walt Disney World ® Resort). Career opportunities all across the country.

From Andrew Kover Class of 2011

During the spring of my junior year, I decided to do a semester long internship at Disneyland to work at the Happiest Place on Earth. I worked in Custodial Operations, maintaining the levels of cleanliness only Disney knows how to do. While that may not sound like an internship, I was able to learn how a theme park maintains their show standards after hosting over 250,000 guests a week. From this initial internship, I networked with leaders and executives throughout The Walt Disney Company, and was able to return after graduation to take part in a Professional Internship in the Finance department. I managed the monthly forecasts for multiple Business units and created the yearly Annual Operating Plan for those departments. Since then, I have held multiple “roles” (since all Disney employees are “Cast Members” in the show we provide), before moving to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. I have had many memorable moments throughout my time with Disney, but the one thing that makes me want to stay is seeing the satisfaction from the guests that visit us day after day. For many, visiting is a once in a lifetime experience, and we all play a part in making that experience as memorable as possible, from the sweepers, to the chefs, to the executives. Gonzaga played a major role in bringing me to where I am today, and I still use those values in every part of my life. My education is put to use in the most unique and fascinating ways possible.

You, too, can experience the magic like Andrew!

Disney offers 20 Different Positions to from. For full descriptions, visit Role Descriptions

Audition for a Character Performer Position* offered only at Walt Disney World ®)Resort in Florida

See Restaurant Environments for information about the Disney Culinary Program
Careers for ALL MajorsDisney encourages a career where you “Make a world of difference.” Being part of the Disney family offers job positions in:







Students/Recent Grads

10/17 Disney Information Session Wednesday, College Hall 135  5:30-7 p.m.

Speed Mocks Wednesday, Game On

Zags, why attend Speed Mock Interviews? Better yet, why miss the chance to show employers your fantastic skills and abilities, as a trial run, to get all the jitters out?


Practice makes perfect – we hear it growing up playing instruments and practicing sports. It’s all about muscle memory. But your brain has muscle memory, too.


A study by the Society of Human Resources Management reported that qualifications were less influential when it came to hiring an applicant than interview performance and professionalism.


Turn-on those communication skills. They’ll pay off in the long run.


Katharine Hansen, Ph.D. writes on Quintessential Careers that “[j]ust one mock interview will result in a marked improvement in your interviewing skills,” says College Grad Job Hunter author Brian Krueger, who recommends going through two such interviews (and, of course, the more you do, the more skilled you will become). For the inexperienced interviewee, mock interviews provide an excellent picture of what to expect.”


Think of the STAR (Situation + Task + Action + Result) Method to answer questions. Employers and mock interviewers will be impressed with the thought and depth articulated in the message.


The more you articulate a speech or practice an interview, the more successful you will engage your audiences and more likely impress an employer. You learn how to answer difficult with poise and confidence (no ums, buts, whatsoever).


Bring up-to-date resumes for these one-on-one opportunities to practice your game plan from Employers and Career Specialists who are there to help and guide your interview skills.


Remember, smile, firm handshakes, and eye contact. These actions will make a great first impression. The rest is easy. The ball’s in your court.

Gonzaga Career Center & GAMP hosts Speed Mock Interviews Wednesday, Oct. 3 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Cataldo Globe Room.


Read Quintessential Career’s Tips on interview preparation

The key to your dream future? Let your Ideas simmer

It’s rare when advice columns about future goals (schools, jobs, fellowships) are narrated like a story. It’s even more rare when they’re enticing.

A post from English professor James M. Lang on earlier this week beautified the application process. In his words, and from advice from experts, the key to success and standing out in an applicant pool is to “let your ideas simmer.”

Be unpredictable.

Teachers and professionals want to see rich imagery and descriptive details. Those vivid elements clarifies your seriousness and intention for applying to a job, fellowship, or grad school to align your goals both short-term and long-term.
It takes interactive storytelling, clear prose, and no cliché endings.

Lang calls “shopworn language,” the endings to open-topic essays tend to go something like this: “reach for your dreams, the sky is the limit,” a surefire way to homogenize in the applicant pool. It’s Pollyanna type writing. It’s ideal but not tangible.

Lang suggests the best way to approach post-graduate applications to aim for three steps, all three, to go the extra mile and achieve as a savvy applicant. This article includes expertise from the College of Holy Cross, where students have won 30 Fulbright Scholarships.

1. Applicants have to tell their story, with an eye to the opportunity they are seeking.

• Tell your story well

• The selection committee has 10-15 minutes to get to know you. It’s longer than an elevator pitch, but trim down your biography, especially awards and recognitions.

• In that time, focus the reader on parts of your story that relate MOST to your goals.

• Pick original, unique character traits. Almost everyone is going to note creativity and hardworking. o The Career Center has terrific handouts with power words and action verbs to describe yourself and diversify from the norm.

2. Applicants must “articulate a vision for their future.”

• Clear through the fog by thinking of ideal and practical short goals within a 3-year span then 5+ years. If you envision life beyond that, clearly, and know you’re not bound to what your personal statement says, make it noteworthy. That’ll reflect direction and show time invested in thinking about your future.• Committee members know that what you have down on paper does not determine your actual future.

• Think, how can grad school, Fulbright, etc. help you (besides giving you direction for or an answer to where you’re going)?

3. Applicants have to explain how the specific opportunity for which they are applying will connect their past achievements with their future goals.

• It’s answering that question you’ve heard in every English class… “So what?”

• How will this opportunity embellish your story? Better yet, how will it make you a better storyteller by having this valuable, untradeable chance to grow, learn, and explore?

• You’ll be noticed. By intentionally preparing for this last part, the “last paragraph” of your application process. Most students neglect this part and fall short.

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T.S. Eliot

Demonstrate how the school, fellowship or scholarship will help you in the short and long term. Look at your values – education, family, advocacy, professional pursuits and yourself now. Will you change? Will the idea of your dream shift?
Think beyond your first idea, writes Lang. Contemplate, ponder, ask, think it through. Develop a master plan and envision a Technicolor, textured and layered picture, not just a rough sketch for your future. Keep those ideas simmering. You never know what exciting turns life will take.

Curious to learn more? Read full article here.