JMU Student Thomas Giordano Shares His Practice Interview Experience

Thomas Giordano, JMU senior and International Business major, participated in ASM Research‘s practice interviews here on campus. Thomas shared his experience and how his practice interview prepared him for his future interviews.

How did you hear about the Practice Interview Program?

“I looked through some posts on CAP’s social media, but it wasn’t until I was being very active on Recruit-A-Duke that I thought it was something I needed to do before I was deep into ‘Interview Season.’”

Why did you decide to participate?

“I officially decided to participate after I scheduled interviews for actual positions. I have had previous interviews for internships and past jobs/organizations, but I finally wanted to get feedback on what I was doing. It was important to me that someone could finally tell me to keep doing something during my interviews, or to stop something.”

What did you do to prepare for your practice interview? Where did you go to research the company?

“To prepare for the interview itself, I searched on Google for ‘Commonly asked questions during an interview.’ As I went through the list, I came up with the experiences I wanted to talk about and molded them to fit the job description. To prepare for interview with ASM I looked on ASM Research’s website. I looked at entry-level positions they offered and did some extensive research on their ‘About Us’ tab. I wanted to get a generally idea of what the company did, even if I wasn’t looking into actually being hired by their company.

Did the employer representative provide you with helpful feedback? Will you apply that feedback for your future interviews?

The representative gave me great feedback! A day after the interview I got a rubric with helpful comments and suggestions for what I did that made me a successful interviewee and what I should work on. It was great to finally get feedback from the actual interview instead of just basing it off of whether I got a certain position or not. I know I will be using his suggestions during the interviews I have lined up these next few weeks!

Do you feel more confident in talking to recruiters and in your future interviews?

“I definitely feel more confident because the practice interview helped me reflect on the skills that I’ve learned in classes and the comments I got back from the interview. It was a great way to get an idea of how an interview worked before applying for a job I really want.

Read more about Career & Academic Planning’s Practice Interview Program and other practice interviewing resources on our website!


JMU Alumna Alexa Senio Shares “8 Things to Know as a Noblis Intern”

JMU Alumna Alexa Senio interned at Noblis as a student, and now she works for Noblis full-time! Read her article “8 Things to Know as a Noblis Intern,”and apply to be a Noblis Intern Today!


Alexa Senio majored in Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication and minored in Humanitarian Affairs and Sociology at JMU. She graduated from the Honors Program in May 2016 and is currently a Communications and Graphic Design Specialist at Noblis, a nonprofit science, technology, and strategy organization. Alexa was also a Media Fellow for the Digital Communication Center while at JMU.

Her experience with nonprofits and digital communication led her to pursue an internship at Noblis in 2015. Following her internship, Noblis offered her a full-time position after graduation. She talks about her internship experience and shares “8 Things to Know as a Noblis Intern.”

Alexa recommends the Noblis summer internship program to anyone who is looking for an internship with good pay, a valuable real-world experience, and the ability to apply their coursework. Noblis is still hiring for the 2017 summer internship program

Read Alexa’s article here!

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Dukes Take Five

As I sip my iced tea and finish up another post for, the blog that I created in 2010, I can’t help but think about the steps that got me here.

I arrived on the campus of James Madison University as a freshman in the fall of 1987. I didn’t really know what I wanted to major in, so I came in undeclared. I did very much carry a love of math and a fascination with space in my heart, so it was no surprise that I declared a major in mathematics.

While many of my peers had their sights set on establishing careers in their respective fields of study, my heart leaned more towards home and family. Indeed, I was willing to work hard and enjoy the job that would be the right fit for me. However, I knew that my career move would be to use…

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Daily Duke Spotlight: JMU CAP


For me, it started with a Skype interview. Granted, I can appreciate a Skype interview– you can see the person interviewing you, and feel more of a connection than you might over a phone interview. But finding a place to have one is a pain. You have to find the right lighting, a low noise level, a strong WiFi connection… it’s a daunting task.

That’s where JMU Career & Academic Planning (CAP) came in. Now, if you frequent CAP a lot, you’re probably thinking really? This is ground breaking for you? Really, it is. And I have a feeling it is for a lot of other people too.

laurahI was lucky enough to sit down with Laura Hickerson, an internship coordinator for CAP. She let me know about resources that they offer, and that we may not be taking full advantage of.

To first address my Skype interview dilemma, she…

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Meet Parallon, a Company Attending the JMU Career & Internship Fair!

You’ve heard from JMU student Becca and JMU alumnus Noah about their career fair success. Now, meet Parallon, a company attending JMU’s Career & Internship Fair!

We hope to see you at the fair on February 14th and 15th from 11 AM – 3 PM in the Festival Ballroom!


We interviewed three employees of Parallon, two of which are JMU alumni! They discuss the company’s culture, how to stand out as a candidate, two positions for which they are currently hiring, and more.

Natalie French graduated from JMU in May 2012 with a B.B.A in Management with a concentration in Human Resource Management. She was the VP of Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and a member of the Marching Royal Dukes for three years!

David Mooney is Parallon’s Governmental Collections Manager. He graduated in 2012 with a major in Healthcare Administration and minor in General Business. He was also a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity!

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Sara Watson is the Compliance Director/Ethics& Compliance Officer(ECO)/ Facility Privacy Officer (FPO) at Parallon, and she majored in Health Services Administration and graduated from JMU in 2003. She was involved with the HSA Student Association and served as VP of the club!

Tell us about the company culture at Parallon.

Our purpose is to “serve and enable those who care for and improve human life in their communities.” Parallon is a wholly-owned subsidiary of HCA, or Hospital Corporation of America, which is a leading healthcare provider in the USA and the UK. We manage the business office functions and the overall revenue cycle for HCA facilities. For example, when a patient visits an HCA facility, Parallon is responsible for billing the patient’s insurance company and collecting payment from the insurance company for the service that was provided. This can also include other functions such as customer service, billing, collections, working claims appeals, and other various functions.

In short, Parallon can be viewed as the “business side of healthcare.” Although we may not all directly interact with the patients on a day to day basis, our top priority is to maintain a positive patient experience and to continue to be a patient-focused organization every day.

What’s the biggest draw for a JMU student to work at Parallon? What positions are you currently hiring for?

We are focused on employee development and career paths within the organization. As an example, we are currently recruiting for our Manager-in-Training program. This is an entry level position that is specifically designed to provide the participant with an understanding of the business as a whole by rotating through various departments and participating in developmental activities over an 18-month period. After this learning period, the goal is to transition these participants to leadership positions within the Richmond Shared Services Center.

Apply for the Manager in Training position on Recruit-A-Duke today!

In addition, we are also currently recruiting for interns at our Richmond Shared Services Center. Our commitment to our internship program also exemplifies our dedication to employee development. Interns will be assigned specific projects and developmental activities to allow them the opportunity to learn more about Parallon and the healthcare industry. The goal is for successful interns to transition into the Manager-in-Training program upon graduation.

Apply for the Shared Services Center Intern position on Recruit-A-Duke today!

Joining the Parallon team is also an excellent career path for those individuals that are interested in gaining exposure to the healthcare industry, but do not necessarily want to be involved in the hands-on clinical side of healthcare.

What can JMU students do to stand out as a candidate?

At Parallon, we are specifically looking for students with demonstrated leadership experience, strong critical thinking skills, and effective communication skills.

How should students market themselves as JMU graduates?

Interpersonal skills are a consistent strength across JMU students. Tap into the strength of your interpersonal skills when networking and connecting with employers.

Did you intern as a student? What was your experience like? 

Natalie: “I completed a summer HR internship with ABM Industrial Services. In this internship, I gained exposure to detailed clerical and legal and tasks associated with HR by completing an audit of terminated employee files.

I also completed a Management Rotation Internship at a Fairfield Inn & Suites. In this internship, I learned the significance of rolling up your sleeves and getting the job done. I also learned the importance of customer service.”

David: “One of the requirements of my major was to complete an internship in a healthcare organization. I completed mine at Spotsylvania Medical Center, a hospital right outside of Fredericksburg VA. Basically my role there was to shadow different areas of the hospital, and complete various tasks for the hospital administrative team. I gained a basic understanding of how a hospital operates, which has been extremely helpful in my roles at the business office.”

Sara: “As a requirement of the HSA program, I completed a post-graduation internship with HCA’s Capital Division Office reporting to the VP of Managed Care.  I assisted with building all the payers/contracts into a Master Payer system as well as participated in negotiation meetings with top payers in the area.  I also got invited to join the annual corporate wide Managed Care meeting that all the managed care teams across the company came together for meetings and education sessions which was a great honor so I really felt like I was one of the team.   It was a great experience and I developed great relationships with key players in the organization that ultimately helped me land my first job within several months of graduating.  I have been with HCA/Parallon my entire career because I truly believe it is a great company to work for.”

How did your experiences as a student prepare you for this role? 

Natalie:My HR classes provided the most preparation for my role in talent acquisition. They provided me with knowledge regarding legalities in the world of hiring, recruitment strategies, and how to tap into talented candidates that will be a fit for the organization.”

David:One of the biggest things that being a student taught me was how to manage time wisely and prioritize projects based on level of importance. There is never a slow moment in our industry, and usually we are juggling many different projects/issues at a time. In some ways it is similar to the second half of college semesters, where there are two or three tests in a week, projects due and presentations to prepare for. It is very key as a student, and as a professional, that you are managing your time wisely so that you can successfully complete everything that is expected of you. JMU does an excellent job, in my opinion, preparing people for the demands of the ‘real world.’

Sara: “Certainly, being involved in a leadership position in a student organization, as well as working part time at a local Harrisonburg Physician office, gave me a great foundation and solidified my passion for the healthcare field.  In addition, as part of the ACHESA student group I attended ACHE conferences over spring break in Chicago both my Jr and Sr years was an unmatched experience.  Not only did I network with my peers but I also learned about the top issues impacting healthcare as well as met current leaders in the healthcare field. I am still good friends with many of my HSA Alum Dukes. I truly believe success in any career path is a combination of hard work, opportunity and timing.”

Is this the career path you envisioned as a student? 

Natalie: “Yes. Upon completing my Bachelor’s degree, I attended West Virginia University and received my Master’s in Industrial Relations & Human Resources. Early on as a student, I had a strong desire to pursue a career in the field of human resources and I have been fortunate to have been provided with opportunities to fulfill these career aspirations.”

David: “It’s actually exactly the career path that I was hoping to get into. I knew that I wanted to be in the healthcare industry, but wasn’t 100% sold on working in direct patient care. Being in the business office allows me to help those who are face-to-face with patients each day without having to actually be in that setting. Even though my role does not involve direct patient contact, it is rewarding to know that what we do helps the hospitals do what they do better.

Sara: “I am not surprised I ended up in the healthcare field. My mom was a nurse and my grandfather was a doctor. I thought I wanted to be a nurse but after one week in an EMT class decided hands on healthcare was not my cup of tea but wanted to still make a difference from an administrative position.  I would never have guessed that I would have ended up as a Compliance Director, however I am extremely grateful I did. I love my job and this is the perfect role for me, my personality and my skillset. I feel mentally challenged each day and come home with a sense of accomplishment. My role in compliance is extremely important in the ever changing healthcare environment and at Parallon we take extreme pride in doing things right and doing the right thing. We are one of the top most ethical healthcare companies per Ethisphere the last few years and our top focus is ensuring a positive patient experience. I proud to be a part of such an ethical and patient focused company.

What is your best piece of career advice for students

Natalie: “Always stay humble. Be willing to learn from and listen to the advice and suggestions of more seasoned employees, regardless of their position in the organization relative to yours. Understand the importance of being able to communicate with different types of employees and how you can learn from each of these employees.”

David:Don’t forget about the basics. Show up early, dress and act professionally, don’t miss work, show respect to others, etc. While they may seem obvious, they are the foundation to any successful career.”

Sara: “Build your resume. Build your knowledge. Build your relationships. Build your wealth. Build your resume by volunteering, interning, working in the field that interests you which shows your passion towards your future career to potential employers. Build your knowledge by perpetually learning and being open to new ideas and concepts. There is always more to learn and people are more willing to help you grow if you are willing to embrace the knowledge being passed down. Build lasting relationships by connecting with your professors, your peers, your family members, community organizations and even potential employers. Get to know your colleagues both personally and professionally so you can earn a solid reputation and lean on those relationships to help you get exactly where you want to go. You can’t do it alone so don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it and be willing to help others when they are in need. And finally when you get into the real world, Build your wealth early. Sign up for a 401K on your first day of your new job and put in at least as much as your company will match and aim to increase to 10% savings as soon as possible. Parallon has great retirement benefits with options to auto increase your savings annually, as well as pre-mixed portfolio options based on years left until retirement stepping you down from high risk to low risk as you near retirement age. It’s been easy contributing to my 401K when the tools and resources have been laid out for me.”

Use CAP’s career-fair-checklist below to prepare for the Spring 2017 Career & Internship Fair on February 14th and 15th from 11 AM – 3 PM!




JMU’s Career & Internship Fair helped JMU Alumnus Noah get his job, and it can help you too!

Noah Lamma majored in Integrated Science & Technology at JMU, and he is now a Customer Support Engineer at Cisco Systems. We asked Noah questions about his experience and how he prepared for the fair.

We hope to see you at the fair on February 14th and 15th from 11 AM – 3 PM in the Festival Ballroom!


Did you attend CAP’s career fairs? If so what was your experience?

“I attended multiple career fairs in my Junior and Senior year at JMU. My experience was very good. The employers know that JMU provides excellent quality graduates, and they are on the lookout.

How did you prepare for the fair?

“I prepared by looking at the companies that were interested in my major, seeing what they did and focusing on talking points about each one. I then expanded and looked at companies who didn’t list my major, but we’re relevant to what I was doing. I then went over all the skills I listed on my resume to make sure I could talk (and make light jokes) about them. I then starting debating how I would present myself, and how my experience at JMU was unique enough to warrant an interview.”

How did you navigate the fair and spend your time wisely?

“I made a beeline for each stand I had prepared for and talked with them. If I was asked I gave the semi-prepared speech, but otherwise I let them drive the conversation. After all those booths were done with, I went over the list of companies again and any that sparked my interest, I visited.”

Did you follow up with employers after the fair, and what was that conversation like?

“My follow up was to send a thank you to all the email addresses on the business cards I received. I didn’t hear back from the majority of those emails, but I got a couple of interviews scheduled out of it.

How did CAP help you to get your job or internship?

Recruit-A-Duke was integral to getting my job. Due to the fact that I had prepared my profile and kept it up to date meant Cisco knew about me before I knew about them!”

As students prepare to enter the workforce, how would you recommend they market themselves as JMU graduates?

“Market how much time you have spent working in groups. Employers want to hear about those stories, whether they are successes or not. The workforce is not you in a cube with your work, you are almost always working with a group of people. Also, learn how to distinguish yourself from your peers. Everyone goes through college differently, show that and stress how that will help you in the role you are applying for.”

What is your best piece of career advice for students?

“Start looking and applying as soon as you finish reading this sentence. Why are you reading this? Find 3 companies RIGHT NOW that you are interested in and contact them. If they don’t have anything open, ask when that will be and how to prepare yourself. Companies love initiative.

So what are your next steps? 

“I am still reeling about the shift from college student to fortune 100 company in the span of 6 months, so my goal is to stay this way and not get complacent. I never want to look at where I’m at and think, this is good enough.”

Use CAP’s career-fair-checklist below to prepare for the Spring 2017 Career & Internship Fair on February 14th and 15th from 11 AM – 3 PM!



JMU Career & Internship Fair Success Story with JMU Student Becca Warden

Not only did Hospitality Management major Becca Warden land an internship from attending the career fair, she landed her job with Marriott from the fair! When she graduates this May, she will begin Marriott’s Voyage Program.

JMU’s Career & Internship Fair helped Becca get her internship and job, and it can help you too! We asked Becca questions about her experience and how she prepared for the fair. We hope to see you at the fair on February 14th and 15th from 11 AM – 3 PM in the Festival Ballroom!


Did you attend CAP’s career fairs? If so what was your experience?

“Indeed, I have! I got both my internship and my job through the career fair!”

How did you prepare for the fair?

“I prepared by researching the companies that would be at the fair, and deciding who I wanted to be sure to talk to while at the fair. (Go to the Career Fairs page on Recruit-A-Duke to see a full list of employers!) Then I ensured I had printed out enough resumes for each employer.”

How did you navigate the fair and spend your time wisely?

“After I check into the career fair, I got a map of the fair. I circled the employers I wanted to talk to, and planned my route around the ballroom. Then I made sure to allot enough time to speak with each employer.”

Did you follow up with employers after the fair, and what was that conversation like?

“Following the career fair, if I had received a business card from the person I talked to, I made sure to send them a handwritten thank you note for taking the time to speak to me and be at JMU’s career fair to begin with.”

As students prepare to enter the workforce how would you recommend they market themselves as JMU graduates?

“I think the most important thing is to learn how to market yourself. Think about how you want to come off to an employer, and make sure you let that shine through. Come up with an elevator pitch, as you have only a few moments with each recruiter.

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How did CAP help you to get your job or internship?

Recruit-A-Duke is how I first submitted my resume to each of the companies I have gotten jobs with. Learning how to correctly set up my resume through ResumePREP really helped me make a great first impression.”

So what are your next steps? 

“I will graduate this May. I will be moving to Maryland to be in Marriott’s Voyage Program.”

What is your best piece of career advice for students?

Find something you really care about, and a company that really fits with what you want.  It took me four (yes, four!) majors to find where I really fit in, and could see myself in the field.

What’s something people might be surprised to learn about you?

“I have volunteered in the CAP office for the past four years!”

Use CAP’s career-fair-checklist below to prepare for the Spring 2017 Career & Internship Fair on February 14th and 15th from 11 AM – 3 PM!