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

Author: Melissa McNair (Page 1 of 2)

Summer Services at Career & Professional Development

We know you are ready for sunny days, sleeping in, and the general relaxation that comes with summer. Something you might also be doing, though, is looking for jobs, internships, or just reflecting on your career goals. If career development is in your plans, we want to help!

Career & Professional Development is open all summer long, and almost all of our services remain in operation during this time. Below we highlight some of the best resources you can access from May to August and beyond.

  1. Career Coaching Appointments

All of our career coaches maintain one-on-one appointment hours through the summer. You can book a time to discuss your professional documents (including resumes, cover letters, and more), explore career options, get tips on networking, and more. It’s easy to sign up- just log in to ZagsIgnite and click “Appointments” to find a time that fits your schedule.

2. Summer Treks

The Denver Trek takes place on May 20th, and if you are interested in the Colorado and Denver areas, you don’t want to miss it. The Denver Trek is offered every other year, and this year features virtual excursions from McKinstry, AECOM, KPMG, and Fast Enterprises LLC. Register today to add this exciting networking and career exploration even to your calendar.

3. Online Career Exploration Sites

If you haven’t taken the time to consider your future career, summer is a great time to reflect on your goals, interests, skills, and desires. In addition to discussing your options with a career coach, we offer several websites that can help you identify career options such as What Can I Do with this Major…? and GoinGlobal. You can find those sites and more on our Online Resources page.

4. ZagsConnect

Summer is also a good time to build connections and meet new people. LinkedIn and social media is a good place to start, but ZagsConnect offers the unique ability to connect specifically with Zag alumni and employers. Our mentors are excited to help and want to give back to current students. See who you can connect with at ZagsConnect.

5. ZagsIgnite

If you want to sign up for an appointment, RSVP for a Trek, check out resume templates, or search for open positions, you can find them all and more at ZagsIgnite. ZagsIgnite is the one-stop for all things Career & Professional Development, including regular announcements on new events and services, and resources to keep your career development moving. Take some time to explore this robust online service this summer.

There are many more services Career & Professional Development offers over the summer, so if you have questions about how we can help you, let us know! We can be reached at careers@gonzaga.edu, visited on the main floor of Crosby, or called at (509) 313-4234.

8 Reasons to Choose Denver

Oh, Denver! We love you. With our Denver Treks coming up soon, (May 20th!) we wanted to share a little bit more about how amazing the Mile High City can be!

  1. The Job Market Is Thriving

With so many new tech companies on the rise, Denver is the place to be! With companies like Google, Kaiser Permanente, Comcast, and Wells Fargo, there are so many job opportunities for up and comers who are looking for an exciting life in Denver.

A four panel image showing the outside of Denver's Comcast, Kaiser Permanente, Wells Fargo, and Google offices.
Clockwise: Comcast, Kaiser Permanente, Google, and Wells Fargo offices in Denver.

2. The Weather is Fit for Everyone

When you think of a city nestled near the mountains, you probably assume it’s pretty cold, right? Wrong! Denver might get a few chilly nights in the winter, but the year-round temps in Denver average in the upper 50s. This is one of the few places you truly get four, discernable seasons. With tons of sunshine, crisp air, and a breezy climate, the temperature is fit for almost anyone.

3. Yummy dishes for all the Foodies!

Denver has it all! Since it is a crossroads of southern transplants and West-coast natives, Denver has become a melting pot of cuisine.

4. So many activities, year round!

Since the mountains are a huge lure here, it’s no surprise that one of the best pastimes is all the outdoor activities. From skiing and snowboarding in the winter to hiking and biking in the summer, Denver is known as one of the best places to live if you love the outdoors.

5. Sports teams!

You got it. With SEVEN pro sports teams, there is never a dull moment in The Mile High City! From the Rockies, to the Nuggets, there’s a sport to watch year-round, no matter the weather.

6. Cultural hub, (so not just mountaineers?)

With an influx of people from Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and countless other major cities, they bring their traditions and culture with them. Wouldn’t you love some of the best pizza, tacos, and sushi up in the mountains? I know, I would.

7. Parks are everywhere!

Denver has the most unique city park system in the country. Denver has more than 200 parks within the city and 14,000 acres of parks in the nearby mountains, including spectacular Red Rocks Amphitheater.

Red Rocks Amphitheatre

8. 10th largest downtown in the nation!

I can guarantee that you will never be bored inside downtown Denver. Unlike some Western cities, Denver has a definitive, exciting and walkable downtown Within just a one mile radius, there are three sports stadiums, the country’s second largest performing arts complex, an assortment of art and history museums, a river offering whitewater rafting, the country’s only downtown amusement park, a new world-class aquarium, more than 8,000 hotel rooms and more than 300 restaurants, brewpubs and music clubs.

Doesn’t Denver sound absolutely epic? Get the insight on some companies that want to hire Zags, by attending our Denver Trek! You can sign up by clicking here, and we hope to see you there!

8.10th largest downtown in the nation!I can guarantee that you will never be bored insidedowntown denver. Unlike some Westerncities, Denver has a definitive, exciting and walkabledowntown Within just a one mile radius,there are three sports stadiums, the country’s secondlargest performing arts complex, anassortment of art and history museums, a river offeringwhitewater rafting, the country’s onlydowntown amusement park, a new world-class aquarium,more than 8,000 hotel rooms andmore than 300 restaurants, brewpubs and music clubs.Doesn’t Denver sound absolutely epic? Get the insighton some companies that want to hireZags, by attending our Denver Trek! You can sign upbyclicking here, and we hope to see youthere!

Advice for Graduating Students from CPD Career Coaches

Graduation is quickly approaching, and here at Career and Professional Development, it is our goal to make this life transition easier. For today’s post, we asked some of the career coaches on our team for some of their best advice, things they wish they had known, and things they would like to share with you.

Portrait Photo of Ray Angle

Ray Angle – Assistant Vice President at Career & Professional Development

● If you’re not sure what you want to do with your degree or major, take some time to research career options with an emphasis on honing in on some careers that interest you.

● Spend time connecting (both online and socially-distanced in person) with successful professionals in the fields that interest you and conduct informational interviews with them to get insider information on trends, employment processes and vacancies. Keep building professional relationships long after you’ve landed a job.

Karen Franks-Harding – Manager, School of Engineering & Applied Science

● Wherever you are, there is most likely an alumni chapter and you should get involved. Alumni are a great support system if you are in an unfamiliar city and are great for career support as well.

● Remember that CPD services are available to you for life!

Vicki Hucke – Assistant Director, Employer Engagement

● Be open to experiencing new opportunities, even if it is something you had not pictured yourself doing.

● Continuously build your network – including professors, family friends, co-workers, Gonzaga alumni and staff. They can all be helpful in job searching now and in the future.

Patricia Hetu-Tkacik – Recruiter in Residence, retired CIA

● Always be flexible and accepting for whatever opportunities present themselves.

● Make it a priority to conduct yourself both personally and professionally according to the reputation you want to build for yourself.

Katherine Brackmann – Assistant Director, Graduate & Professional School Engagement

● Remember you are not alone in your career planning. There are so many resources and people, including CPD staff and alumni mentors, who can support you on your journey –just ask!

● Practice gratitude and find joy in celebrating the success of others.

Thank you to all of the amazing staff who shared their input, it means the world!

To all graduating Zags, we are so proud of you and want you to know that here at CPD we are always going to support you and will help you no matter where you are in your journey. Stay connected!

Email: careers@gonzaga.edu

Phone: (509) 313-4234

Website: www.gonzaga.edu/ZagsIgnite

What It’s Like to Be a Mentor with Cassie Looker

In continuation of feature on mentorsips, this week we interviewed one of Mila’s mentors, Cassie Looker.  Cassie is From Whidbey Island, Washington and graduated from GU in 1995, with a degree in journalism and minor in Philosophy.  After graduating, she moved to Portland and found herself at Nike. She has worked there for over 20 years now, including a small break to get a Master’s in Teaching from University of Portland. Her current position is as the Global Product Director for Men’s and Women’s Golf Apparel.  

Did you use a mentor when you were in college, and how did you go about making that connection? 

I had more mentors from Gonzaga versus outside of school. There was no internet and email was not necessarily a thing [at the time], so there was a lot more face to face meeting with people. It is a lot easier now, but back then it was hard to talk to mentors outside of Spokane, so I relied more on professors and classmates. Once I graduated and moved to Portland, and started to get out into the workforce, I had more of a career mentor.  
 

Do you still have a mentor now? 

I do, several. For me, one big theme is getting help with managing people. It is nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of, ask how I can improve, and help if I get into a situation I do not know how to manage. It is nice to have a neutral person. Some are from Nike- current employees that are mentors- which can help with producing new strategies, plans for business innovation, and new product types. It has been nice having a group of people that can make me feel confident about any topic.  
 

How many people do you currently mentor? 

At least ten people, a mix of Gonzaga and Nike people. I also am a mentor for my nephew at Gonzaga.  
 

What are some of the career and networking assistance you provide? 

I try and really listen to what they are interested in and what they are working through. Hopefully, I can give them some advice and provide more names for them to network with, which might be more specifically connected to what they do. Mainly, I like to listen and connect.  

What is the most rewarding part of being a mentor? 

I think being able to see people grow and do amazing things. I work with female mentors and mentees, and in the workplace it is really important to empower women and clear the path for them to do whatever they set their mind too. It has been rewarding to see them do really amazing things. I love to see them succeed, to see a project or product on tv, or if they give a good presentation. It is always so exciting.  
 

What is the most challenging part of being a mentor?  

The challenging part is not having an answer, if I feel like I cannot help. You really wanna help someone, and when you hit a dead end it is hard. I try to connect them with someone else who I feel can help though.  
 

What are tips you have for students looking to have a mentor and how should they reach out?  

Really take the time to sit down and think about what you are looking for from a mentor. Some of those things might be career advice, stages in that person’s career that you are interested in, or they might be a part of business you are interested in. Someone who is closer to your age might be a different conversation and is another thing to consider.  

Take the time to think when you read about someone or connect with them, “What do I want to walk away with?” It is good to be prepared, and when sending your message, it is nice to be on the shorter side: introduce yourself, what you are doing in school, your interests. One example could be, “I see you work at Nike in apparel, I’m interested in that because I like innovation.”  

Show them, this is who I am, what I am looking for, and I see this connection because of three things. You should form a narrative, help me understand what they are looking for coming into the conversation.  
 

What are important traits for students to look for when choosing a major? 

Initially ask if this is a good fit for me, is it interesting to me what they are doing and it is good to have some emotional reaction. It also does not have to be related to your field, it can be in a completely different field, you never know what you might be interested in. Most things that I’ve done, I did not know about it until being immersed in it for work, so it is good to learn about something new. Most of all, know that you can see potential in that relationship.  
 

How do you feel about using ZagsConnect? 

I like using ZagsConnect to talk to mentees. You can talk like an email and it does not feel like an email. There is a history of conversations, so you can scroll up and see what you have talked about.

I also interviewed Mila Yoch, who told me about her experiences as a mentee. How would you describe your mentor/mentee relationship? 

I was a good sounding board for her as she was formulating what she might want to do for her in the future as a good resource and maintaining conversation as she continues to have questions and keep providing that loop of information.  

You can connect with Leslie and numerous other mentors by logging in to ZagsConnect using your Gonzaga University log in. Get started today!

What is it like to have a mentor? with Mila Yoch

ZagsConnect is Gonzaga’s virtual mentorship platform that connects Gonzaga alumni to students looking for career and networking assistance. Easy to use and with an intuitive interface, many students have found success in gaining valuable career advice. Today, we are featuring a current student mentee who has utilized ZagsConnect. Mila Yoch is a senior public relations major with a minor in digital marketing, who told us about her experience with mentorship on ZagsConnect.
 

What previous work experience have you had? 

Mila: I currently work at Innovia Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Spokane as a Public Relations fellow. I have had a lot of jobs, and so I have also worked as the Media Manager for GSBA, as a Digital Editor for the Gonzaga Bulletin, some random jobs for student media, and a Communications Intern for the city of Palo Alto.  
 

What field are you planning to go into? 

Mila: I am planning to go into a form of Public Relations that centers around Digital Marketing. I also am interested in User Experience and User Interface design and am looking forward to continuing my education in those.  

What mentors have you connected with? 

Mila: Some of the mentors have included Casey Looker, Kelsey Mcginnis, Joseph Carvalo, Christian Conrad, and Lisa Bersani. I initially had to find one for a class, and the others had jobs I was interested in. I began working with all of them after the pandemic began, mostly because I was curious about how the industry was affected by the pandemic. I am more inclined to want to connect virtually as I am pretty busy, so meeting with people for coffee is difficult. It is nice to have a set zoom call without restrictions.  

How did you initially reach out to your mentors?  

Mila: I send them a general message saying, “Hi, I’m a senior at GU interested in the path you’ve taken and your day to day. Would it be possible to speak?” I like to send a very simple message. All of these have been through ZagsConnect, although I have sent a message through ZagsConnect and then connected with them through LinkedIn.  

What has been the most valuable experience so far from your mentorship?  

Mila: Really informative notes on what the working world has transformed into with covid-19 and how they have had to switch up their day to day lives. They have given me helpful tips on how to make the first steps into the working world and take the initial plunge. When I spoke with one mentor, they told me a different route of getting to work with a certain company. I looked into some subcontracting work they did which had been helpful. For another mentor I spoke with, he basically followed up asking for my resume and sent me some stuff like a job application to apply for his work.  

What advice would you give to students looking for a mentor?  

Mila: Reach out with clear intentions that you want to talk to them. Do not send a copy and paste email. Make sure it is very curated to the individual. Follow up with either a thank you email or a thank you letter and ask them for their address after they speak. They are taking their time out of their day to talk, so show your gratitude.  

What questions should they be asking their mentors? 

Mila: It depends on what you are seeking from the mentor, [and] what their day-to-day tasks would look like. A lot of people I reached out to had the same major and have positions I am interested in, so I wanted them to go through their tasks and let me know what the positions were like.
 

What was something unexpected that came from this experience? 

Mila: I would say that I have made some interesting connections with some of these people through LinkedIn, and made even more connections through their connections. I was exposed to their networks and people, which gave me more networking experience. 

I wanted to be confident about the world I was looking forward to applying to. I asked them, “What does your life look like with these careers?”

Network, stay connected, and put on your cover letter that you have spoken with them. It helps you confidently know that you are making the right decision in your career path. 

Thanks to Mila for chatting with us about her experience as a mentee! Be sure to visit the blog next week, when we chat with a mentor!

Tips to Communicate with Employers

The FUSE career fair is a 25-year tradition for students from Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, Washington State University Spokane, and Whitworth University to connect with employers and is a great opportunity for anyone looking to network and find possible career opportunities. There are over 100 companies looking to hire for internships, jobs, and volunteer positions.  

This virtual event will require contact with many employers. To prepare you for this, Gonzaga CPD has compiled a list of tips to contact potential employers.  

  1. Research- One benefit to virtual career fairs is the advantage of knowing exactly who is going to be attending. Look at the list of employers that have registered for the event, and narrow down which ones you are interested in. Once you’ve down this, research the positions of the employees that are going to be attending and see if those align with positions you aim to fill in the future. It also is good to learn more about the company, as employers enjoy when students have done research showing interest.  
  1. Ask Questions- Employers are there to answer questions about their organization or any roles you might be interested in. By asking questions, you can show employers that you are inquisitive, and actively demonstrate a greater interest in the role.  
  1. Ask for Contact Information- After talking to employers, ask them for the best way to contact them. This will typically be through email or phone, and is essential to continuing communication after the career fair and conversation is over. The employers will also appreciate you reaching out to them for this information.  
  1. Send a Thank-You Message- Using that contact information, it is then a polite gesture to thank the employer for taking the time to talk to you and for any information they might have given you about a position or networking information. This will begin a conversation and relationship with this person. For more information on how to craft a thank you message, check out our other blog post linked below: https://blogs.gonzaga.edu/careercenter/writing-thank-you-cards-to-employers/  
  1. Connect with them! Once you’ve reached out to these employers, check out their profiles on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great resource to build your network and create an online portfolio of your experience. You can view industries that they’ve worked in that might be of interest to you, along with any other connections they might have for you to reach out to.  
  1. Apply- Once you’ve applied to a position you learned about at the career fair, feel free to send a message to this employer you’ve connected with letting them know and about your interests in the position. This can make recruiters more aware of your application and show your interests and extra efforts.  

Using these tips, you can ensure your success at the FUSE Career Fair, which you can find out more about using the following link: https://fusecareerfair.com/  

Get Ready for the Bay Area Treks with Erin

Get ready Zags! It is almost time for our annual Bay Area Career Trek! In honor of this exciting event, we are interviewing the Director of Alumni & Employer Engagement, Erin Shields! She is giving us all the inside information on the value of signing up for these Treks, and how it can further your future career opportunities.

Portrait of Erin Shields

What is your job at Career and Professional Development?

Erin: I am Director of Alumni & Employer Engagement. I focus on all the areas that our alumni are involved in the career development process for students. Such as hosting students at their organization as part of their trek, mentoring students on students on alumni mentoring programs on ZagsConnect, and hiring students for full time positions and internships.

What is the benefit of being part of a Trek?

Erin: The idea of the Trek is to bring students in contact with employers in various regions across the country and or abroad. Often these are organizations who don’t come to Gonzaga career fairs. It first started in Seattle, with the idea that many students are either from the area or interested in the area, so we can bring them face to face with employers. This way students could get an inside look at organizations, their cultures, opportunities, and hear from alum or recruiters about their roles, their career path, and, most importantly, to network!

Can any class level attend? Can any major attend?

Erin: It’s beneficial to any class level, from first year to graduate. The newer students can use this as a tool for exploration– for example, to find out their major and/or minor. They can also see what an organization will look like, what positions actually look like in the workforce, and compare them to their ideas and goals.

Upper level and grad students can start making connections for those internships, summer jobs, and building connections for full-time opportunities. It is never too late, but the earlier you can start building those connections, practice presenting your skills, and meet with employers, the stronger your outlook close to graduation.

It is a priority here at CPD, to have a variety of companies that are looking for employees in a variety of majors. A Trek helps a student realize all of the things students can do with their degree, and the skill sets that come with studying a specific major. Also, the networking and social aspect of the Trek can be extremely beneficial to students who might not find a company that fits with their career goals, but connect with alum who can help you network later down the road.

When the pandemic started, alumni were in contact with me to give support to students who may be struggling in their career search. They are your advocates, and the Trek is a great way to take advantage.

Erin Shields

Do you have to be from the Bay Area to attend?

Erin: You don’t need to be from the Bay Area to participate! Those who are curious about an organization or the possibility of working in that area should definitely attend. Historically, we tend to get a lot of students from the Bay Area who intend to move back after graduation. The fact that the Treks are now virtual opens the doors significantly to those who may not be from the area, because of the lack of travel costs. Definitely check it out, and learn about the different cultures of the Bay Area and see where you think you see yourself in a future career.

What companies will be at the event?

Erin: For the Bay Area Trek this year, we will be doing virtual visits with Facebook, Google, Salesforce, Square, DocuSign, Inkhouse, Trinity Alps Capital, and Stryker. These companies have a history of hiring Zags, and we will be bringing on panels of other alums to speak about their experiences. Presentations last about 20-30 minutes, and then we open it up to networking and Q&A sessions, so students will get a chance to ask face to face questions and connect with alumni panelists.

What is the schedule for the Trek?

Erin: We break the presentations into a couple of days. On Thursday, we are presenting Facebook, Google, and Square. Later in the afternoon, we will follow with networking socials and programs. That will start with a Welcome from the Bay Area chapter president of the alumni group, then to follow is our keynote speaker, Megan Levin, who is currently working at Salesforce, who will talk about how a liberal arts education is so beneficial in the business world. Afterwards, we will break into small groups for networking. We will mix students up with 5 other students and 5 alums, and you can chat for about 10 minutes, then we will mix you up again, so people can get a chance to ask questions.

How should students prepare for the event?

Erin: The most important thing to start off with is to research companies who will be involved. This will help you go into the event with some prior knowledge as well as some good questions to ask the representatives. The other, almost more important, thing to remember is to know how to introduce yourself. Know how to do your 30-second to 1-minute elevator pitch, talking about your background, skills, major, and interests and what you are hoping to gain from this experience. This will help you engage with alums and employers during the networking portion of the Trek.

What else would you like students to know for the event?

Erin: I would like students to know that this is a fantastic opportunity to be face-to-face with recruiters and alums who are enthusiastic about your success. Our alums are extremely excited about the thought of mentoring you, and getting you on board with their companies, or even a company of your dreams.

When the pandemic started, alumni were in contact with me to give support to students who may be struggling in their career search. They are your advocates, and the Trek is a great way to take advantage.

Doesn’t that sound awesome! Save your seat by heading over to ZagsIgnite, and signing up! You won’t want to miss this. ​Click the link here to check it out. Also, if you have any questions for Erin, don’t be afraid to reach out. You can email her at shieldse@gonzaga.edu​.

Hope to see you there, Zags!

Get Ready for Career Fairs with Kareena

Next month, Career and Professional Development is hosting the Beta Alpha Psi accounting fair, open to anyone interested in Accounting or Finance. This event will occur on February 3rd from 1:30-3:30 pm. Our Fired-Up Friday this week focuses on this event, featuring an interview with Kareena Byrd, CPD’s recruitment coordinator.  

Kareena Byrd, Recruitment Coordinator at CPD

What makes this fair different from our other career fairs? 

Unlike other career fairs, like the All-Majors career fairs, which is centered around any major, and the engineering and science career fair, which targets engineering and science majors, the Accounting Fair is primarily for Accounting and Finance majors. Hosted and organized by BAP, Beta Alpha Psi, Gonzaga’s accounting, finance, and information’s systems organization, it has a focus on these fields of study. 

There will be accounting employers and general business employers looking to find students in these fields. This event is for anybody who has an interest in learning about accounting and finance related items. Firms will be hiring for various positions, and this is a fantastic opportunity to connect one on one with recruiters. 

Why is there both a Fall and a Spring Accounting fair this year? 

Typically, BAP does this fair in the fall in person, but because of COVID circumstances students now have even more opportunities to connect. There will be new employers along with ones from the earlier fair, and so students who attended the earlier fair along with those who did not will find opportunities at this event. 

What employers are attending, and what positions are they looking to fill? 

Currently, most of the signups from the employers occur closer to the event, and students can check the current attendees on the event page on Zags Ignite. There will be a wide range of employers that are looking to hire for accounting positions, not only accounting firms. Some of these institutions include public sector finance firms, government entities, and banks. At the earlier fall fairs, there were institute of management accountants, Providence Health, and even engineering firms.  

What are some things students should do to prepare? 

There are three steps students can take to ensure a successful career fair experience. 

  1. RESUME 
  1. Students should have a resume that is reviewed and then uploaded into zags ignite.   
  1. QUESTIONS 
  1. Formulate a list of a few questions to ask so you are prepared when talking to employers. 
  1. CONTEXT 
  1. Do your research on firms that are attending which will aid in showing your interest to recruiters. When talking to them, it helps your conversation in giving you more context and background.  

What grades should attend? 

I would think any grade should attend. Especially if you are undecided on your major, this is a fantastic opportunity to attend and see if this career path would be a good for you. If you are a Freshman or Sophomore, this will give you a good idea of what companies are recruiting for and will help you prepare better in the future. When you are talking to the recruiter, let them know you are a Freshman or Sophomore and ask to stay connected and touch base. This will show your interests early, any ask about special events or mailing lists. This can help you find a firm you would like to be a part of, and you can ask them for specific steps to help stand out. This will give you tools and build awareness of what the firms are looking for.  

What are some tips for follow-up after the event? 

One of the most important things to build connections is the follow-up. Recruiters appreciate getting an email reintroducing yourself and thanking them for meeting with you. This sets up a personal connection and shows your interest. For Freshman and Sophomores, this creates that connection and reminds them that you are a candidate. The recruiter will remember you and be more likely to choose you for a position. It is especially important to follow up after. For your own information, it can be helpful to keep notes during the event. You can keep a notepad with an evaluation of the company, asking yourself, “Is this a good fit?”, “Did I connect well?”, “What do I like about the company?” This will serve well as a record in the future when applying for internships and jobs. 

For more questions, contact Career and Professional Development. 

Visit 

CROSBY 
502 E. BOONE 
SPOKANE, WA 99258 

Call 509-313-4234 or email careers@gonzaga.edu

You can register using the link below:

rb.gy/oxlo2j 

Seattle & Portland Treks with Vicki Hucke

Seattle and Portland Trek Info with Vicki 

This upcoming break between Fall and Spring semester, Career and Professional Development has two opportunities to continue career building outside of the classroom. Like years prior, CPD is hosting both a Seattle and Portland Trek, however this time these events are virtual, increasing access for any student! To talk more about what Treks offer students, we spoke with Vicki Hucke, Manager of Employer Engagement in the CPD office. 

What is a Trek with Career and Professional Development? 

Vicki: A trek is an opportunity for students to connect with employers. Students can see these employers out in the world, get an inside look at organizations, take a tour of the facilities, hear from team members and see various positions in a company. The Seattle and Portland trek are unique because they feature a career fair. 

In a normal year, the Portland and Seattle Treks consist of a two-hour career fair where students meet with employer. Then, they select one of eight potential excursions where they get to visit one or two companies and receive a tour along with meeting potential employers. The students then come back and take part in a networking social with alums in the area along with the employers.  

While these events are open to any Gonzaga student, is there a certain grade or major you would recommend this to? Or do you think anyone can get something out of this event?  

Vicki: This virtual event is intended for all students, whether that is a Freshman Communications major or a Senior Biology major. It is never too early to start building and meeting contacts that can help you with a job. There is a wide range of employers from various industries, and as registration is still ongoing, the list of employers is increasing. There are also a variety of alums from the area that will be attending the networking social, and so even if a company doesn’t seem to represent an industry you are interested in, there will be somebody there for you to connect with.  

Do you have to be from Seattle or Portland to take part? How will this event help me even if I’m not from these areas? 

Vicki: This event is open to all students, no matter their geographic location. Anybody who’s interested should attend. In typical years, it is planned the week before the end of break, so students typically will stop at these treks on their way back to Gonzaga. It’s common, especially at the Seattle and Portland Treks, for those not from the area to come. Now that it’s virtual it’s even more accessible. Everyone should take advantage, and no matter where you are from, it serves as a wonderful experience to interact with different employers and network, and to see whose hiring and what’s going on.  

What employers will be there? 

Vicki: In the past, participants have included: 

Seattle: Alaska Air, Amazon, SAP Concur, Chinook Capital, CostcoBoeingPACCARStarbucksTableau, and more. 

 Portland: Nike, Keen, Portland Trailblazers, Intel, Adidas, Woodmere brewing, Mentor Graphics, Hp, and more. 

Currently, registration is open for employers and the amount attending is growing. Students are encouraged to regularly check back and see as new employers are added to this list. As you can see, there is a wide variety of companies at these events. Anyone, no matter their majors or interests, will be able to find a company they can connect with.  

What can students expect the schedule to look like now that these events are virtual? 

Vicki: To transition virtually, we wanted to still supply the same number of opportunities while keeping it manageable for students as it is digital. We have a two-hour career fair and expo. All our key employers will take part, and then following that will be a networking social with representatives from these companies along with alum from the area. 

The career fair and expo, occurring from 2-4 pm, is available for registration on ZagsIgnite. On the day of the event, Students can log into ZagsIgnite. They can then see the employers available for each event and join a queue to chat with employers one-on one. Once the employer is ready to talk to you, you get a link to their chat, and then individually chat with them and meet one on one. Later, during the Networking social, there will be a welcome message from Seattle alums, followed by a Keynote Speaker who will be a Gonzaga alum. Students will then be placed into breakout chats, which will consist of a local employer, alums, and then 3 or four students.  

What can students do to prepare for these events? 

Vicki: I would recommend checking out employers that are coming and do some research of questions that you could potentially ask them. It is also useful to prepare an elevator pitch, which is a quick synopsis of background and experience. Include who you are, what you’re studying, and what you want to do in the future. Students should also dress professionally, as if you were meeting an employer.  

Another thing that employers tend to look for is a current resume. If you need help with this, I recommend booking an appointment with our career center. This is super beneficial for students of all majors and is extremely easy to set up as well. All students need to do is visit ZagsIgnite, go to appointments, and schedule one that will work with their schedule. Everyone and Career and Professional Development is here to help you succeed! 

What else would you like students to know about these Treks? 

Vicki: I would overall recommend students to attend and really take advantage of this unique opportunity to be able to meet so many potential employers virtually. This event is completely free, and one of the great benefits of coming to GU is our large and supportive alumni network that students will have access to at this event.  

If you have any more questions about these events, feel free to contact Vicki Hucke at hucke@gonzaga.edu.  

Career & Professional Development has various resources to help you prepare for attending these events. Check out more blog posts along with our social medias listed below.  

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Graduate School Resources with Katherine Brackmann

This week, our goal here at Career and Professional Development is to help students learn how to prepare them for the career goals and allow for them to learn and decide if graduate school is the right path for you. For guidance, we interviewed ​Katherine Brackmann ​who is the ​Assistant Director, Graduate & Professional School Engagement.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your job at Career and Professional Development

Katherine: Since graduating from Gonzaga in 2010, I am excited to be back here and helping students here in CPD! I work with students who are interested in pursuing graduate programs, and how they can fit that into their career paths. Some specific things that I help with include helping students understand the ins and outs of applying, perfecting their resume, help with writing personal statements, understanding the interview process, and how to search for schools that will be a perfect fit.

How can students who are interested in a graduate school start preparing now?

Katherine: It is important to think about whether grad school fits into your career plans. To help with your decisions or start preparing now, you can network with other professionals in your industry of choice and learn about their career paths and see how they got to where they are today. Not only that but you can also connect with mentors and other faculty members here at Gonzaga as well!

What are the benefits of attending graduate school?

Katherine: Oftentimes attending graduate school is mandatory to pursue a specific career, but also it can deepen your knowledge on a specific field. This will enhance your job prospects, give you the opportunity to gain more experience, and increase the potential of gaining an increased salary because of the increase in positions available to you. Not only that, but attending graduate school can open the door to a change in career path as well.

How can CPD help jumpstart students who are interested in this path?

Katherine: To start, we will discuss how graduate school fits into a student’s ideal career goals. From there, we will look into the application process depending on where they want to go. It is important to discuss application timelines, and also we will help them connect with industry professionals as well as Zag Alum! In our meetings we can offer feedback on applications, interview tips, and help you search for which schools will be the perfect fit for each individual student. Set up a meeting with us on ZagsIgnite, and let’s chat!

Given that our entire world has gone digital, it is so much easier for students to connect with admission reps all over the country.

Katherine BRackmann

How can students still get involved and start exploring, despite the COVID restrictions?

Katherine: Given that our entire world has gone digital, it is so much easier for students to connect with admission reps all over the country. Remember this! Don’t be afraid to get in contact with the school. Get out there and talk about you, and your goals, and learn about what each school can offer you. Especially in a time like this, graduate programs may be offering incentives for people to apply!

What is the most important thing for students to remember when looking into graduate school?

Katherine: The most important thing for students when looking into graduate school is to know your why. Why is this the path for you? How will this better you? Not only that, but staying organized and knowing deadlines is extremely important during the application process. This will help you avoid the stress! Lastly, know your resources. Career and Professional Development is always here to help, faculty is here to answer questions, and know your options financially as well.

What is the best piece of advice for students applying to grad school?

Katherine: Timing is everything. Giving yourself time and grace with everything during the process because it varies with each person. This might be taking time to work and grow professionally and personally which is very beneficial before you further your education. It is vital to remember that everyone is on their own timeline and allowing yourself to reflect on your own timing and finding what you need to do to reach your goals.

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