Your Résumé: A Powerful Marketing Tool

Résumés are often your first impression on the employer. It must be concise and succinct because on average, a prospective employer will spend only 30 seconds reviewing it. Career centers encourage students to think of their résumé as the advertisement of what they have to offer. 

Lisa Novack from the Carlson School of Management at University of Minnesota says Business résumés take a conservative and professional approach. However, it’s important to note that a résumé should be tailored to the industry a student wishes to go into. 

Victoria Schroeder from the Questrom School of Business at Boston University says the most important information for employers are education. Therefore, a résumé should always have information on where you went to college, your graduating year, a GPA of 3.0 or above, and your degree and concentration at the top. 

Below education, working experience or activity records that demonstrate leadership skills can be interchangeably placed second or third. Depending on what seems to better illustrate your competence should be addressed second. For example, as a sophomore, your only work experience may be sales at Jamba Juice. Even though it may seem irrelevant, counselors think there are transferrable skills from working part-time at the smoothie store. Therefore, a student should include this working experience on his/her résumé. However, let’s say this student is on the e-board of Questrom’s Finance club; this student has done research on stocks and investments, which highlights the student’s leadership skills. Then, the activity should be addressed prior to work experience. 

Schroeder commented that the résumé should end with technical skills. These days, it isn’t necessarily Microsoft Office. Companies have preferred skills such as Microsoft Access and SDSS (Suspect Detection Systems Sales) for Marketing students. The preferred skills function as an easy scanner for many recruiters. 

To sum up, depending on what work experiences and co-curricular records a student may have, they should be addressed in a chronological order that best illustrates a student’s competence. If you’re enrolled in the honor’s program, or if you made the dean list in previous years, these should also be addressed in the résumé. 

For STEM students, there are three primary experiences that should be addressed proficiently: Technical skills, Research, Projects. Samantha Tiemens-Anderson of the College of Sciences & Engineering at the University of Minnesota says employers have emphasized hard skills that includes computer languages and software programs. As mentioned early in the blog post Taking your First Steps On-Campus: A Discussion with the Career Counseling Department,  for Engineering students, research experience is key to their success in the career field. Therefore, if a Mechanical Engineering student has worked on a synthetic jet cooling design project, that should be highlighted in a résumé.

On Objectives: 

An objective is an optional brief that indicates what type of position you are seeking. It may also include key skills you bring to the position, which type of industry you want to work in, and/or what company you want to work for. When applying for a position, you should tailor your objective to match the qualifications of the job description and address the company’s needs. If an employer requests a cover letter, an objective statement is probably unnecessary as you are addressing your qualifications through the cover letter (CES Career Center, Undergraduate Resume Guide, Pg.1). 

On Cover Letters: 

Cover letters introduce who you are, explains your purpose of writing, highlights a few of your experience or skills, and requests an opportunity to meet personally with the potential employer (The Writing Center @ University of Wisconsin-Madison, What is a cover letter?). 

Visual Appeal & Formatting:

Career counselors recommend bachelors level candidates to limit their résumé to one-page. To start, it’s best to keep all sides with identical margins, preferably one-inch on each side. Click here to access a video setting one-inch margins on word. Keep the font size and style consistent throughout your résumé. Choose fonts that are conventional and easily read such as Times New Roman and Arial in 10-12 points. 

As mentioned earlier, recruiters spend about 30 seconds to scan a résumé; therefore, use bullet points rather than writing paragraphs to avoid generating a laundry list. Omit jobs and skills that may be irrelevant to the job you’re applying. Only address key assets that will get you the job. 

The handout from Carlson suggests readers to use this equation when creating bullet points: Strong Skills Statement = Action Verb + Details + Result. In addition, students should ask themselves the essential questions résumé bullet points should aim to answer. They include, “What did I do?,” “How did I do it?,” “What did I learn?,” What’s the result/impact? (Carlson School of Management, Chapter 5. Résumés, pg.29)” 

There are many websites that provide free templates and programs that provide structure to write résumés and cover letters. However, Carlson and other most schools recommend that students avoid using these free templates, because it’s difficult to personalize and make changes to these online résumé templates. Our résumés only continue to change; therefore, it’s best to create it from scratch through Microsoft Word. 

Last Minute Details: 

The most common mistake students make when writing résumés for the first time is overusing personal pronouns. With few exemptions, career center resources advise students to avoid using personal pronouns and to always start a statement with an action verb. 

Let’s go back to the bullet points to wrap up. Not only should you describe your role in the bullet points, but also the result of your effort. If it’s quantified, it’s even better. To better understand what this means, we will take a look at an example provided by Questrom. 

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Let’s closely look at the description for two working experiences of Jane’s. As shown above, for her tutoring background, she specified the subject and the number of student she has taught. Once again, for her camp counseling background, she specified number of campers participated in the program and activities she’s arranged. Though it’s not highlighted above, Jane uses the results-oriented statement again for her leadership experience. 






Taking your First Steps On-Campus: A Discussion with the Career Counseling Department


Meet Lisa Novack,

Novack is a gopher alumna. She has a BBA in Marketing & Entrepreneurial Management at Carlson School of Management and a MA in Educational Psychology. Her passion for helping students led her to a career in academic & career advising at Carlson, where she serves as the Associate Director of Student Services at the Undergraduate Business Career Center. While 20 % of her day is booked with career counseling appointments, Novack also teaches minor courses in leadership; she spends a fair amount of her day prepping, grading, communicating with her TA. Furthermore, she’s responsible for employer relations; Novack consults with employers to structure new internship opportunities for Carlson undergraduates. Novack explains that the career center provides services from career exploration to mock interviews. Specifically, at Carlson, there are one-credit courses such as BA 3000 and 3999, which teaches students to develop career skills or integrate credit-based internships into the academic curriculum.

There are mainly two major recruitment fairs held in the spring and the fall for Carlson students. Novack says fall fairs usually recruit more gophers. While majority of Carlson students start working full-time or part-time, 90 days after graduation, there are students who advance their degrees to Master’s. For Accounting students, getting a Master’s degree in Public Accounting to take the CPA exam is typical. Otherwise, there’s the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. MBA curriculums tend to be more academic case-based, and discussions on case studies are woven into the curriculum. Most MBA students have a working background; in fact, part-time MBA students come from a major company, where employers pay or sponsor their tuition for 2 years.

In the interview, Novack highlighted the importance of “relationship building over time.” Whether it’d be through the casual social event such as “snack stops,” where alumni recruiters visit the campus to get to know current students. Following up with the LinkedIn alumni network group was also suggested. Thus, there are opportunities to connect and expand your network both physically and digitally. Other things that may be helpful are following a company on social media, keeping up with the business news, joining relevant clubs such as the American Marketing Association for Marketing students.


Meet Victoria Schroeder,

Schroeder, with a BBA and Management background interested in working for Human Resources, began her career as a recruiter at a staffing firm, where she worked with mid and senior-level software developers. She particularly enjoyed helping people connect with a job. However, Schroeder was unsatisfied with other aspects of the firm. Later on, she was introduced to a field in career counseling. Without having any affiliation with Northeastern University, she was able to secure an internship by referencing how she followed up with NEU in previous years At NEU, she served as an academic advisor for the honors program, and she has actively worked in employer relations, which led her to her current role as the Director of Undergraduate Career Management of the Questrom School of Business at Boston University.

Schroeder balances her role as the director and an advisor. She works closely with undergraduate students one-on-one to educate them on career exploration, résumé writing, salary negotiation, etc.

Within BU, Questrom is unique in that it has career courses built into the curriculum. There are one-credit courses available, starting freshmen year. Typically, in the first year seminar, students concentrate on career exploration, setting up a Questrom résumé, and re-formatting and editing their LinkedIn profiles. As an upperclassmen, students have the opportunity to take courses that focuses on job strategizing and regularly updating documents.

Workshops tailored to the Questrom program are available; they include seminars on, “How to make the most out of your OPT (Optional Practical Training) for international students,” “Round table: How to connect with recruiters and alumni,” “MBA degree: What do business schools look for in a candidate?” 

In the interview, Schroeder highlighted the importance of relationships and GPA. Having the internal referrals and showing professionalism and capability through a strong academic record are important factors, because they are used as “filtering tools” for many recruiters and employers.


Samantha Tiemens-Anderson


Meet Samantha Tiemens-Anderson,

Tiemens-Anderson is another gopher alumna. She has a BA in Psychology (UMN) and a MA in Educational & Counseling Psychology at University of Missouri-Columbia, where she received a graduate assistantship. Upon graduating from Mizzou, she worked as a career advisor at the University of Chicago. She says U Chicago career centers are divided into different industries, and she worked closely with students majoring in Physics and Chemistry, wanting a career in a health profession. Having enjoyed working closely with science students, Tiemens-Anderson came back to Minnesota and has worked for the career center at the College of Sciences & Engineering (CSE) ever since. A field that’s growing rapidly with a lot of new opportunities given to STEM graduates, she thought that an advising career at CSE would be a good match, and she says she loves working for the CSE career center. Her current role at the CSE career center is Employer Relations Specialist & Career Counselor.

Not only does Tiemens-Anderson work closely with students on résumé writing, mock interviews, job search strategies; she works with recruiters and employers from companies, primarily in-state, to plan on-campus events and site visits. In the past, regional site visits were held in Minnesota and Wisconsin, but CSE career center plans to travel down to San Francisco for students who want to go into the tech industry and Texas for the oil industry in the future.

While most Science & Engineering graduates land on a job upon graduating from UMN, there are some students who choose to pursue a higher degree in Ph.D. or Master’s. There are variety of reasons why a student may want to attend a graduate school. The most common reason is if a student wants to stay in academia to do more research, or a student wants to become a professor later on.

For Biomedical Engineering students, who want to come up with design plans may want to get more expertise through graduate school. Computer Science students who want to specialize in artificial intelligence, for instance, may pursue a higher degree, since a bachelor’s degree covers a range of topics broadly. In addition, students who graduated with a degree in natural sciences typically get a master’s. Tiemens-Anderson says without a higher degree, a BS degree in Physics won’t let you advance and become a physicist, so students who studied Physics, Chemistry, and Biology often get their master’s to find jobs more easily.

Having technical skills is the most essential asset a Science & Engineering student can have. Therefore, recruiters from companies like Google come in each year to give workshops, and they would provide assessments in Computer Science to test a student’s qualification and coding literacy. Tiemens-Anderson says consulting companies conduct “case interviews,” which asks candidates to solve a real-life scenario, applying their technical skills. To prepare for these types of interviews, Tiemens-Anderson tries to pair up her students with someone in the industry to talk about the interviews.

In the interview, Tiemens-Anderson commented that the course load for Science & Engineering students is a big jump from what they may be used to, so taking the time to get used to the rigor in the first year is key. As soon as a student gains more confidence with the coursework, it’s best to do research before the third year, which is a time when students typically begin applying for internships. Without any research experience, Tiemens-Anderson says it may be difficult to acquire other work experiences.

For International students: 

As an international student, applying for jobs can be a daunting experience. To break down the confusion, I asked the career counselors on how the process looks different for international students studying in an American college or university.

Most jobs, including on-campus part-time jobs, require a work authorization issued by the school a student is attending. As for internships that are paid off-campus, a student needs to register for the CPT (Curricular Practical Training), which allows students to gain work experience related to their major field of study. A student may work part-time (20 hours/week or less) or full-time (20 hours/week or more). However, if a student accumulates 12 months of full-time CPT authorization, she/he may lost eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

OPT is a period during which undergraduate and graduate students with F-1 status who have completed or have been pursuing their degrees for more than nine months are permitted by the US citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to work for one year on a student visa towards getting practical training to complement their education. Just one year ago, OPT for STEM students has been extended. They are eligible to work under their OPT up to 36 months after graduation. Management Information Systems, which is considered a business degree, also qualifies for the STEM extension.

Once the OPT ends, a student must find a company that can sponsor a visa. The problem is, though, that not a lot of companies are willing to sponsor. “Most employers think there’s risk to hiring an international student,” says Schroeder. She continued, “They may not want to put the money and training to hire an international.” Many international students get upset with the situation; therefore, Schroeder believes they should be informed as to the “why” so that they can network at the right places and be better prepared for the market.

Despite some complications, Schroeder says there are still many ways to talk about working for companies in the U.S. You can always go back and work as an intern; there are 6-month contracts; you can work on a specific project for a company. Otherwise, looking for job opportunities in home countries is another alternative. Schroeder works closely with staffing firms in the Boston and New York area to connect students with companies in Hong Kong, China, Japan, etc.

The clash between a student’s expectation and his/her parents’ expectation also adds another layer of complexity, according to Schroeder. Parents are uncertain if a student is willing to come back to his/her home country, or they want to know if a student will be working full-time in the U.S. upon graudation. Schroeder currently advises an Accounting student who wants to work in the fashion industry; however, her parents are against her career goals, which is a challenge for both Schroeder and her student.

Tiemens-Anderson says there are certain areas that are on high demand. “Almost all companies look into Computer Science students,” says Tiemens-Anderson, because there isn’t enough graduates to fill in those positions.

To provide strategic guidance for international students, some colleges/universities have created an employer’s list that hires international students. Schroeder says if a student challenges himself/herself to be thoughtful and creative with a list of companies to apply, she is certain that the student will land on a job.



An Analysis of OMC Survey + Personal Opinion on Choosing the Right School

Just before my appointment rotations began, I sent out a survey to Blake juniors and seniors and asked them about their college choices, intended major, summer plans. Here are the statistics compiled from the survey:

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According to Blake At a Glance, the average graduating class size is 130 students; classrooms average is 15-16 students. Due to the small student to faculty ratio and the liberal arts curriculum, most Blake graduates attend small liberal arts college predominantly in the east coast. According to College Matriculation 2013-2016, out of 159 schools, approximately 70 schools identify as small liberal arts college including Yale University, University of Chicago, St.Olaf College. Result from the survey reconfirms the norm of continuing a liberal arts education.

However, there seemed to be a contradiction when comparing students’ college choice to their intended majors.

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The top two intended majors were STEM and Management majors, which are considered to be more pre-professional tracks than Social Science or Humanities majors. Although schools like Washington University of St. Louis (Olin School of Business, School of Engineering and Applied Science) and Dartmouth College (Tuck School of Business, Thayer School of Engineering)  have undergraduate programs in both Business and Engineering, schools like Carleton College don’t offer those tracks, so they offer options for a 3-2 engineering program, which is a dual-degree program, where only a selective number of students are admitted to pursue an Engineering degree at another school that offers the program. For Wellesley students, interested in taking a management course, it means cross-registering at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. While cross-registration and combined degree programs are excellent opportunities for students who want to graduate from a small liberal arts college, it means there are more complications and barriers along the way as well. Whereas Business and Engineering students at WashU and Dartmouth have research and career center resources on-campus, Wellesley and Carleton students are required to make an extra visit off-campus for laboratory internships and career counseling. Considering how both campuses are located in out-of-the-way places, students can only imagine how painful it’s to commute from their isolated campuses.

Whether it’d be the New York Times or our college counselors, we’ve heard the popular phrase ‘Where You Go Is Not Who You Will Be’ overused countless times. Honestly, I find this to be somewhat ironic. Partially, I agree that where you go isn’t a reflection of your personality, and choosing a college based on its reputation such as its overall ranking on the U.S. News Report is absolutely pathetic. However, choosing a college based on its quality of academics within my intended major, strong network system, and location, are qualities that needs to be prioritized. In fact, I wrote an argumentative essay  on this subject matter for my Literary Essay course last winter.

Obviously, things have changed since last December, and I’m not going to a small liberal arts college in rural Massachusetts. After being denied from Smith, I asked myself if I wanted that admission ticket so desperately. My answer was “no.” While I have a general idea of what I think I would like to pursue in the future, I wanted to build a strong foundation in the liberal arts during my first two years of college. That’s why I initially looked into small liberal arts schools, thinking that I’ll eventually transfer as an upperclassman.

However, I’ve always been attracted by universities in metropolitan areas, where a diverse and innovative economy exists; as the author of There Is Life After College: What Parents and Students Should Know About Navigating School to Prepare for the Jobs of Tomorrow  Jeffrey J. Selingo puts it, “The Knowledge that flows back and forth between the local economy and higher ed fuels the growth of intellectual capital for both sides, providing students with unparalleled opportunities for research projects and internships, and eventually, good jobs after graduation.” 

I picked up this book at the Minnesota Public Radio Open House event in May. I read the uncorrected proof book; therefore, there may have been some changes. However, I highly recommend this book to parents and students who want to fuel their engines earlier to get ahead in the job game. Selingo interviews recruiters from renowned companies to ask them about what qualities they look for in a candidate; he also provides tips on using the networking site LinkedIn.

In the book, Selingo explains schools like American University attract scholars and Ph.d.s, attracted to D.C.’s intellectual and cultural life, working full-time and teaching on the side. Having these “hybrid professors” is AU’s greatest asset, because professionals that worked outside of academia provide both “practical arts and liberal arts” education to AU students.

Regarding internships, it’s pretty self-explanatory. If you attend George Washington, it’s more likely that a popular journalist would teach your media courses, and CNN is casually invited on-campus to have its nightly show taped; when you’re exposed to a setting, where you’re pushed to network with professionals working in your field of study, it opens up a whole new possibility from refining your communications skills to interning at the Washington Post.

After months of college research, I found the ideal fit for me: Boston University’s General Studies Program. BU guarantees me the resource of a large research university, while the College of General Studies (CGS) program allows me to bridge the gap between professors and myself. In addition, the tailored academic advising program helps CGS students to transition to different colleges and schools within BU. As I mentioned above, I have a general idea of what I would like to study, something that combines interactive technology with management; however, it’s still evolving and remains fluid; therefore, being in a liberal arts program before the transition was vital in my college decision.

And I’m fortunate to study in the heart of Boston, one of the best employment hubs and college towns located in a major metro area, according to American Institute for Economic Research.

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Despite having half of Blake graduates attending a small liberal arts college located in a suburban or rural area, the survey indicated that location, social scene, student culture, size, more external factors, were the most important features when deciding on a school.

Again, external factors are highly subjective. For me, being practical and career-oriented was a priority; therefore, Boston was the right choice for me. However, others might say they’d rather belong in a school, where most students are involved in greek life, and students can lie down in green pasture to write an Anthropology paper surrounded by cottage-like buildings. That suburban culture wasn’t something that stirred my heart.

Later on, I learned that LinkedIn, the famous networking site, isn’t just valuable for recruitment purposes. Instead, it actually can assist many teenagers in their college search. Most colleges or universities in the U.S. haves its own LinkedIn page, and site members have access to information on where alumni work, what they do, what they studied, what they are skilled at.

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Site members are able to narrow down the selection by clicking a company or industry of their interest, particular assets that resonate with them, or their mutual connections.
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For example, I selected a region of my interest and a field that I have the potential to work for. LinkedIn filtered out the data to 1,222 from 215,301 original results. The companies’ name also changed. The top three companies in the SF area are Genentech, Kaiser Permanente, and Google.  Overall, though, when all data was compiled, most BU graduates ended up working for the following companies: Fidelity Investments, IBM, MA General Hospital.

By scrolling down the page, LinkedIn members are able to read profiles of all alumni with a LinkedIn profile. I found it to be helpful to actually read through some of the sample profiles, especially the ones that align with your career goals or aspirations. As a young, inexperienced student, just knowing to describe and explain your role as a part-time employee at a non-profit organization in a concise language can be an integral first step to initiate before making the next move as a full-time intern at a consulting firm in the summer. Using others’ template to learn and train an eye for crafting a solid résumé is important.

If you’re a rising senior, I highly recommend narrowing down your application list through the LinkedIn system. Compare two to three schools by selecting few industries that intrigue you. See where alumni work at. Ask yourself; “is this where I see myself in five to seven years?” You may also be someone like myself, who has a general idea of what to pursue in the future but has a difficult time deciding on a major. However, you’ve recently taken course in Statistics and Computer Science, and you became more interested in computational and analytical courses. You can easily look up top 25 data scientist profiles on LinkedIn to observe insights about members with that profession on LinkedIn.

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LinkedIn analyzes profiles of data scientist members with an advanced and most viewed profile with superb technical skills and outstanding projects posted as a media source on their profile. As shown above, the top three schools renowned data scientists graduated from are Stanford, UC-Berkeley, MIT.
Using a paper copy source such as the Fiske Guide to Colleges by Edward B. Fiske is very helpful as well. Especially, if you’re interested in taking a pre-professional track, it’s important to note the page on “guide to professionals.” In that section, Fiske categorizes schools based on their size, type, and strongest programs. For example, large, public universities with strong business programs include University of Michigan and University of Texas-Austin. Private Universities include University of Southern California and University of Notre Dame. It’s also important to note that large, public universities and mid-sized, private universities have upscaled pre-professional schools and a global network system. For example, studying Business at Washington & Lee University versus University of Washington is going to be different in terms of the connections you make and the industries you’ll go into.
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Lastly, students responded they are most likely to spend their summer with a part-time job, whether it’d be babysitting or camp counseling. Main reasons included to save money, to continue to pursue their passions, to work for a cause that matters to them.

This is where the importance of adopting “soft skills” weighs in. Soft skills are often disregarded and cannot be taught in a classroom environment. They may include your ability to communicate with people of all ages, to tolerate criticism and offensive feedback, to organize people and manage multiple projects simultaneously. I will have another post on essential soft skills, so I will save that up for now. However, just to briefly explain, having a part-time job, even if it means bagging at a grocery store or tutoring algebra for your cousins, soft skills can only be taught through “real-life scenarios.” Without having a report card or a transcript demonstrating your performance, you will need to detect what you have learned through this particular experience and see the larger applications to your future career. Ask yourself; “how has working at Jamba Juice helped me to learn about collaboration and time management?” The fact that Blake students are pushing themselves to engage in some sort of a job over the summer needs to be complimented. Hopefully, they will find joy in learning soft skills, as much as they love making money.


According to the Blake School’s website, “all seniors devise their own course of study for their Senior Program.” As part of the General Education requirement, all seniors, with few exemptions, are required to take the course Senior Seminar: Communication & Society.  Senior Program is part of the course’s curriculum, and Blake’s course catalog defines it, “An individual learning opportunity that offers students the space and time to execute a self-designed project that falls outside the standard school day and/or curriculum.” 

For the past few months, I have worked hard to write a persuasive project proposal, followed by an oral defense to a committee of faculty and administrators. After receiving a full pass, for the last two weeks of May, I worked on my project entitled Overcoming Millennial Crisis (OMC): 101 guide to internships and jobs. 

According to Goldman Sachs, a multifunctional finance company, millennials are a generation born between 1980 and 2000. Growing up, using the internet and smartphone, we’re a first generation of digital natives. In 2014, Council of Economic Advisers reported 61 percent of adult millennials attended college, whereas only 46 percent of Baby Boomers (1946-1964) did in 1980. However, encumbered with debt, millennials had a mean student loan balance of $20,926 in 2013, versus $10,649 in 2003, according to Goldman Sachs . High unemployment rate and smaller incomes leave millennials with less money than previous generations. A data on mean income for 15-24 year olds as a % of total population reported 64% in 2012 versus 69% in 2000. It’s not surprising to hear that millennials snug in their nests for a longer time. About 29.9% of ages 18-34 year olds reported they live with their parents, in comparison with 26.8% in 1990.

At a time, when the job market is competitive than ever, it’s too late to start marketing ourselves upon graduating from university. In order to combat the harsh reality millennials are expected to face, I thought it was appropriate to organize a program that tackles career exploration & development.

For ten days, I met professionals ranging from the Director of Career Development Center at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Target Corporation to ask them about in-demand skills, résumé writing, mock interviews, and evolution of their career. Based on interviews I compiled and online research, I learned about essential tools like LinkedIn, the role of Interactive Technology (IT) within a creative advertising industry, increasing popularity in a career in brand management & buying.

In this page, I will publish blog posts ranging from profiles of Target professionals to career advice from Generation X & Baby Boomers for Millennials. While some posts will be more tailored for Blake students, still, I believe career exploration & development is a relevant issue to all millennials, which is why I decided to publish this information online with the consent from all of my interviewees.

Special thanks to the Blake School, Carmichael Lynch Spong, Target Corporation, NGS Global, University of Minnesota, Boston University for contributing to OMC.