For many, this time of year is dedicated to spending time with our loved ones, to showing gratitude for what we have and all we have accomplished, and to displaying an abundance of love for something greater than ourselves.
And for me, this couldn’t be more true. For the first time in my life, I feel complete. What a journey it has been and I have much to be grateful for.
When I was younger, I couldn’t have imagined the dynamic, ambitious, accomplished, and truly happy woman I see when I look in the mirror today. Of course I knew I was smart so I’d be able to get good grades and get a job. Being a first generation college student, all I heard growing up was you’re so smart, keep getting good grades, make sure you go to college, and make something of yourself. Growing up, I felt like…
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Five months ago, you could have told me I’d be standing where I am now and I wouldn’t have believed you. Living in Washington, D.C.? Working for a sports and entertainment company? Neither sounded appealing to me at the time because I had my mind set on one post-grad plan and one post-grad plan only: to move to Los Angeles and pursue a career in film and television production. When the job offer to work at the Washington based sports company fell into my lap a few months after an introduction at the SMAD Day career fair, everything I thought about my near future was put into question.
They say when one door closes, another one opens. But what if more than one door is open? And if a door opens, does that always mean you should walk through it? These are the questions I struggled with my first few…
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Hannah Nyberg, JMU Class of 2015, is the Executive Assistant at Chess Consulting LLC. Hannah graduated with a Business Management major and Human Resource Development minor. While at JMU, Hannah stayed active on campus by participating in Make Your Mark on Madison, Quality Council (for COB 300), the Honors Program, and InterVarsity, in which she also held a leadership position.
According to their website, “Chess Consulting LLC is a business advisory firm that helps domestic and international clients and their outside counsel develop practical and sustainable solutions to address accounting and regulatory compliance issues. Among our specialties is helping government contractors manage their critical business and compliance risks associated with selling to the U.S. Government.” They recruit JMU Accounting and Finance majors every fall!
What is the company culture like at Chess?
“Company culture is something that, although I studied it as a management major, I did not realize the importance of until I joined the work force. Chess is a small, private firm and with that comes a great company culture. Everyone in the office knows everyone, and beyond that, we are all actually friends. Many aspects influence the culture here including events such as: chartering a boat in DC, attending sporting events, holiday parties, charity events and even Tuesday night basketball. Having that kind of community in the workplace is vital to making a smooth transition from college student to young professional.
Additionally, management is very transparent when it comes to how the business is run and we hold internal trainings monthly as well as quarterly to keep employees well-equipped in their careers.”
Follow Chess Consulting LLC on Twitter!
What is an externship, and does Chess Consulting have an externship program?
“One opportunity that sets Chess apart from other firms is our externship program. Whenever I visit career fairs, younger students always ask me about internships, knowing that internships often lead to jobs and are a necessity for any resume. Since we are a small firm, we do not have an internship program, but I always encourage students not to discount us but to apply to our externship. Externships in general are a great way to gain valuable experience and insight into an industry and company over a short period of time.
Most externships last between 1-3 days and are broken down into sections that show the different types of work the company handles, as well as the opportunities within the industry, and the company culture. Since many college students are not exactly sure what career path they want, or even know the different options available, externships can provide the perfect opportunity to gain exposure to the firm and the industry as well as networking experience.”
How are externships appealing to college students?
“One of the biggest draws of an externship is that they typically do not interfere with classes or internships. Since externships are short they can provide another important and relevant bullet point for your resume and easily fit in with other career development. For example, our externship is 3 days long (Wednesday-Friday) at the end of May or early June. We provide background on all of our service offerings, allow shadowing portions with different levels of employees, provide food and lodging, and arrange a social event. This past year we extended an offer to one of our externs who accepted and will begin working with us next fall.”
Read more about externships on the Career & Academic planning website.
What’s your best piece of career advice for students?
“I recommend to take advantage of all the tips, tools, and resources JMU has to offer. Whether that is practice interviews at CAP, resume workshops, mentoring programs, Recruit-A-Duke or simply your professors, you will never be exposed to this many options again. You are in control of your professional development, so get started!
Networking is exceptionally important; make connections now that you will be able to utilize in the future, especially with your professors. You never know who may be helpful to know in the future, or even who they may know (hint: make sure you make a LinkedIn profile if relevant to your profession).”
Check out Chess Consulting LLC on Recruit-A-Duke today! Be on the lookout for their externship position on RAD, which will be posted in late January.
JMU is notorious in the business world for producing some of the hardest working individuals. When it comes to finding the perfect job, you need to learn how to market your experience and skills and tailor them to what you’re looking for. Follow these steps and you’ll gain a serious advantage over the competing applicants.
STEP 1. NETWORK!
Networking is the number 1 most critical component to finding a job. Get to know people, talk to you friends and capitalize on your “loose” connections. Loose connections are people who you may have a common friend with, or have met briefly at a party or gathering. Loose connections can also be your friend’s parents, your aunt’s boss, or a recruiter you randomly found on LinkedIn. Learning how to network with anyone – especially people who you aren’t close with, will open endless doors in almost any field of work. Also, it can…
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Meet Cole Bradley.
Cole Bradley is a Computer Science graduate student here at JMU. Cole graduated from JMU in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and a minor in Computer Information Systems. As JMU’s Network Engineering Intern since 2014, he has great advice for other JMU students considering an internship. You can also learn more about internships on our website!
Cole also attended our Career & Academic Planning Employer Drive-In Conference this past summer, which allowed him to share the JMU student experience on a student panel while networking with employers. First, let’s hear his internship advice!
How did you find out about your current internship? What was the interview process like?
“I was contacted by my current boss to apply for the position when they posted it to JMU JobLink. At the time I was working at the Carrier Tech Desk trying to work out the WiFi dead zones in the library and I was trying to get floor plans an locations of the wireless access points in the building. Applying on JobLink was about the same as any other initial application to a job. Resume, recommendations and just paperwork. The actual interview was with the whole team that I currently work with and my current boss (five people but one was absent that day). It was not a tense interview at all. It consisted of answering some predetermined questions for all candidates and then just Q&A and regular conversation with the team from there. Then I just waited for a call back.”
What made you decide to pursue an internship? Why do you believe that an internship is beneficial to your career success?
“My current internship I pursued because it relates to what I want to do as a career, which is network administration. I think internships are a great opportunity to see how things are ran in the real world. Experiencing the red tape when doing projects and how to work with a team.”
What new skills have you learned from your internship?
“I have learned how to design and manage a campus structured network. I have also learned how to best setup and inventory the physical equipment itself. I am still learning how to configure the many different components and we are also setting up new systems this fall which I will begin to learn.”
How has the learning outside of the classroom at your internship affected/helped your learning in the classroom?
“[My internship] helps me see how often things from the classroom are brought back to the real world. Not always in a in-depth manner, but small details here and there always appear that relate back to the classroom.”
Do you have a mentor or supervisor at your internship that has influenced you and your career path? What advice have they shared with you? How have they impacted you?
“I have a mentor that I work with the most. We typically work on wireless projects together and we try to find the time to work in a sort of lab setting to help teach me different concepts. All of my coworkers have had an impact [on me], really. They all have a good work life balance and still make time for fun while being dedicated to delivering a reliable network to the students, staff, and faculty of JMU. It gets you excited to work with a hard working group and I always enjoy going in to work.”
What about your internship has challenged you? How have you overcome this?
“Learning how devices work together and how to make them work together is difficult and it takes a lot of time and effort to learn. It isn’t something you can learn in a day and everything builds on itself. I overcome it by trying to refresh myself on things I have already learned and try to do what I can to put into practice what I have learned. Such as practicing on test equipment how to set up routed networks and such.”
What is your advice to other students considering an internship? Why would you encourage them to pursue an internship, as you have done?
“The hiring process can take a while. It was a while before the posting on JMU JobLink opened up. Then it was at least a month until the posting closed. Then I believe another month until the interview. Then a couple more weeks until the offer and starting the job. I also applied to other internships this summer and they were always slow to get back. I would say apply as soon as you can and expect to wait a while and not to panic. Internships, I feel, are great. It is experience you cannot pass up. Even if it isn’t directly applicable to your career path it is certainly a learning experience and you learn more about the processes that businesses have to go through to get work done.”
So, what was Career & Academic Planning’s Employer Drive-In Conference?
The annual Employer Drive-In Conference provides employers who recruit at JMU valuable information and connections for their recruiting strategy.
At this past conference, employers heard from a student panel (shown above), which Cole participated in, faculty presenters, the Associate Vice President of Constituent Relations Cannie Campbell, and the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Jim McConnel during this unique and exclusive event at JMU.
Employers hiring JMU students gained valuable insight on building their brand and utilizing successful recruiting strategies at JMU from these valuable contacts.
Cole answered one last question for us:
Why do you think it’s important to get involved with Career & Academic Planning while you’re a student?
“Because CAP is here to help students find their future career and it is important that they stay up to date with how students react to forms of media and that they are helping students with what they need help with. JMU has also done a lot for me and I want to give back in a way that also turns around and helps my peers.”
Look for ways you can get involved with Career & Academic Planning!
Here’s what employer participants shared about their experience:
James Madison University’s CAP team has published Top 5 Ways You May Be Feeling About Your Major on BuzzFeed. Check it out!
JMU’s Career & Academic Planning offers a tool called FOCUS where you can take self-assessment quizzes (and who doesn’t love a quiz about themselves?) to see what kind of majors/careers come up. Then you can talk with a real live person, one of the CAP career counselors, about what you find. We want you to LOVE your major… because you two will be spending a lot of time together. Make sure it’s the right fit.