Your St. Edward’s experience lasts far more than your time in your program. For the rest of your life, you’ll be part of the Hilltopper alumni network — a group of colleagues around the world and in every industry, who are ready to lend a hand with your job search or meet for informational interviews.

St. Edward’s alumni are active on LinkedIn, too, where the university’s followers number more than 34,000. We asked them for their suggestions about how to put your best foot forward when you’re searching for a professional opportunity. Here is their time-tested advice.

 

Katherine Protano ’14, Global Studies major, diversity and inclusion specialist at Delivery Hero

“The company culture and your boss are a thousand percent more important than the role — for both your growth and sanity.”

 

Research the company culture at potential workplaces.

“Workplace culture is at a point of high importance. Think about how you would add to the culture, and not just the role you’re applying to. Really internalize it for added confidence when you score that interview.”
Aaron Davis ’17, Psychology major, program manager, talent programs at LinkedIn

“As you are researching companies and preparing for interviews, make sure you have questions, especially related to culture. You are interviewing them as well as the reverse. A company’s culture may or may not be a fit for what you are seeking or align with your values. Best of luck, graduates!”
Michelle Barry ’99, Psychology major, global fulfillment repair operations manager at Applied Materials

“The company culture and your boss are a thousand percent more important than the role — for both your growth and sanity.”
Katherine Protano ’14, Global Studies major, diversity and inclusion specialist at Delivery Hero

“The culture of the company is critical, so take the time to try and get to know the people within the company. See how they have handled this pandemic, and if they have been able to weather the storm.”
Jude Stovall ’06, Finance major, continuous improvement specialist for Mother Parker’s Tea and Coffee

 

Michael McPhail ’92, Business major, commercial real estate representative

“Graduates, you have arrived during unprecedented times. Pay attention, and remember: This could happen again, and your diligence and discernment will be sharper if you learn from this experience.”

 

Network, both in person and online.

“Find a mentor or two. Give to them as much as you take from them. Also, use LinkedIn. Really use it.”
Kerri Qunell, MSOLE ’12, chief marketing officer at Austin Trinity Episcopal School

“Get a coach or mentor (not a family member). Practice your 30-second elevator pitch. Graduates, you have arrived during unprecedented times. Pay attention, and remember: This could happen again, and your diligence and discernment will be sharper if you learn from this experience. I really want to help my fellow alumni, and I encourage students to reach out to me on LinkedIn.”
Michael McPhail ’92, Business major, commercial real estate representative

 

Melinda Szabo ’15, International Business major, stewardship coordinator at Notley

“Always send a handwritten thank-you note within the next day or two. I usually write one to each of the interviewers. It shows your connection and that you are passionate about the company and position.”

 

When you’re invited to interview, go the extra mile.

“Be prepared and do your research. Understand the company’s values, mission, initiatives and, of course, the job description. Then, be authentic when you interview. It’s hard to focus on answering questions when you’re devoting energy to being ‘the ideal candidate.’ Interview anxiety is completely normal, and the person on the other side of the table is a human being just like you. If you get flustered, take a second to organize your thoughts before you jump into your response.”
Aaron Davis ’17, Psychology major, program manager, talent programs at LinkedIn

“Always send a handwritten thank-you note within the next day or two. I usually write one to each of the interviewers. It shows your connection and that you are passionate about the company and position.”
Melinda Szabo ’15, International Business major, stewardship coordinator at Notley

 

Kerri Qunell, MSOLE ’12, chief marketing officer at Austin Trinity Episcopal School

“Be open to entry-level positions in an industry outside your major or field. It doesn’t have to be your forever job, but it can be a jumpstart. Give yourself grace. Be patient. Breathe.”

 

Life is full of changes. Be flexible.

“Be open to deviating from your plan. I landed my current role through an internship I did spontaneously in between my past contract ending and beginning my master’s.”
Katherine Protano ’14, Global Studies major, diversity and inclusion specialist at Delivery Hero

“Be open to entry-level positions in an industry outside your major or field. It doesn’t have to be your forever job, but it can be a jumpstart. Give yourself grace. Be patient. Breathe.”
Kerri Qunell, MSOLE ’12, chief marketing officer at Austin Trinity Episcopal School

“Be open to new opportunities that may not be your ‘ideal’ job. I fell into an entry-level job that was completely outside of my major, and it has become a career.”
Joanne Scott ’02, Marketing major, payroll operations manager, Radisson Hotel Group

 

Scott Hansen ’01, Finance major, financial sales consultant and recruiter at Allstate Financial Services, LLC

“As you venture out into the professional world, keep in mind you are still learning. Understand there is no substitute for hard work and humility.”

 

Keep the right mindset.

“Many years ago, a manager I worked for was listening to me as I panicked about a crisis I thought I was having. The power had gone out in my restaurant, and I was not able to serve my guests. After listening to me and being supportive, he finally said, ‘Kevin, this is a situation over which you have no control. Worry about the things you can control.’ That one statement has been a part of my personal and professional life for the last 25+ years.”
Kevin Wallace ’92, International Business major, sales manager at Miller Paper and Packaging

“Everyone climbs at different paces in their career. There are no rules for how long it should take you to achieve the goals you set for yourself. Walk your own path and celebrate the small successes as well as the big career moves.”
Tess Trahern MBA ’14, marketing manager, SMB at Sphere

“As you venture out into the professional world, keep in mind you are still learning. Understand there is no substitute for hard work and humility.”
Scott Hansen ’01, Finance major, financial sales consultant and recruiter at Allstate Financial Services, LLC

“There are no rules or secrets to success. You just have to believe in yourself. Once you do that, you can do anything. If you don’t believe in yourself yet, put yourself out there anyway, until you do. And don’t waste time being afraid of anything because life is too short. It’s okay if you struggle after college. Everyone does. There is joy to be found in the process and your journey of getting there. It’s not about aiming towards a ‘perfect’ life — it’s about seeking a fulfilling one.”
Rachael Bellus ’16, Entrepreneurship major, Media Assistant at Ideapeddler