University Activities - From Classroom to Career Junior Year
Just 60 miles away...
Whatever your interest, you can probably learn more about it or experience it in New York City. Check out relevant lectures, museums, events, historical locales, internships, and potential summer jobs.
Fairfield is expanding its program for students to shadow alumni, where the student can take an inside look at a career, get an overview of a company or industry, explore individual career options and goals, and receive advice from a professional. Students in biology and psychology are among those who benefitted in the past. Contact the Career Planning Center.
I started at Bloomberg as an interpreter - I'd learned Portuguese on a Fairfield program in Brazil. As you learn more, as your interests develop, you take different positions. I went to the analytics desk and then to the sales desk, visiting clients and teaching them to use our tools. You want a college that prepares you to make those kinds of moves. - Mark Maestranzi '03, Bloomberg
Use a Study Abroad trip to gain a cross-cultural perspective, move toward becoming a global citizen, and think more broadly about your studies and career possibilities. How can it best tie in to your Dream Job or career path?
Continue to polish and hone your resume. Show it to your faculty advisor or a favorite professor and ask for feedback. What's missing? How can you use your remaining time at Fairfield most effectively? Remember to bring your resume to Career Planning; reviewing resumes is one of the center's primary services.
There are hundreds of resumes going in for many openings today. You must stand out. Talk to HR professionals and career services to gain advice about what makes your resume and cover letter look best. Do not simply rely on that being the solution though. You must follow up on your submission, talk to anyone and everyone who might be able to help you secure an interview, and then practice answering questions so you can wow them when you get there. - Michael Curran '09, English; teaches English at a prep school in Massachusetts
Working with Professors
Talk to your academic advisor and other professors in your department about what else you can do to build on classroom learning. For example:
I'm really interested in bioinformatics, a field that combines my biology and computer science majors. I once mentioned to my biology professor that I was interested in doing an internship at a lab in Japan and she made a connection for me, just like that. For a professor to remember not only the academic but also the personal interests of her students really shows how much she cares. - Kekoa Taparra Milliani '12, Biology and Computer Science; graduate student at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, studying molecular and cellular medicine
The Chemistry Department offers students many opportunities to participate in research projects and internships. Organic chemistry is a competitive field, but we have the advantage of having some great professors to support us. Dr. Edmond O'Connell knows everything you'll ever need to know about organic chemistry and teaches straight from the heart. The chemistry professors are very close with the students. I can talk to any of them. If I ever need anything, I just need to tell them I need a hand. - Michael Shinall, Chemistry
Gain management experience - and give something back - by taking a leadership position in a campus club or student organization.
Networking. Begin networking by connecting with Alumni Career Services and its Fairfield Alumni Network (FAN) program. Look for relevant information in the Alumni Career Webinar Series, focusing on such issues as the job search and professional development. Look at the Fairfield Alumni groups on LinkedIn and join those that are relevant. Login to Experience where companies interested in recruiting Fairfield students post their jobs and internship opportunities.
Most jobs are filled before the company even puts out a notice, as most hires are from an internal referral in the company. These hires have huge advantages over the general population. Many companies that use websites such as Monster are looking to fill positions for a job that has a high rate of burn-out among employees, like sales. Networking, therefore, is the most crucial aspect to a successful employment search. Internships, academic clubs and volunteer work will result in more contacts in different fields. - Chris Zeitz '04. Philosophy; US Army (2007-2012)
These free, mini-courses can strengthen technical and computer skills. These days, to compete, you must be proficient in Excel, PowerPoint and Word, plus programs you might need for specialized jobs such as Photoshop and In Design. Beyond RCADE, how can you use any final elective courses to gain additional skills needed for your dream job?
I wish I had looked into these. I lucked out and really learned to navigate these though an internship I had ... but not everyone is so lucky. - Jenn Lance '12, English
Summer Jobs and Internships
Work with Career Planning and your professors to help find relevant summer jobs and internships that can give you more experience and add a credit to your resume.
I've worked in a lab long enough to know that once you graduate with a bachelor's degree, you need additional training. You have to deal with the politics of a lab, new rules and regulations, and you have to be a self-starter. Hands-on internships can really help. - Margot Puerta '00, biology; managing editor, Molecular Medicine
To learn about paying careers with non-profit organizations, make room on your four-year course schedule for a Service Learning course.
The message of Fairfield to be a "man for others" struck me in service work, especially in Bridgeport. If students have an interest in helping others, whether it is children or adults, there are so many opportunities available. I know some of my experiences with service and campus ministry led me toward my current career. - Michael Curran '09, English; teaches English at a prep school in Massachusetts
As you add to your resume, what other opportunities can you choose to give you applied experience and civic engagement beyond the classroom. They might include summer jobs, internships, leadership roles in campus clubs, mentoring other students. Work to become a leader and an explorer, through engagement with the broader community.
I would even encourage students to participate in extracurricular activities beyond their career field of interest. I was an American Studies minor and became involved with my local historical society, becoming a docent at one of our local historical homes. This was a great experience and allowed me to enhance my interpersonal skills. While it is of course best to participate in activities in your field of interest, don't shy away from something just because it is not directly connected to it. Everything you do can help if you allow it to. -Liz Holman, English '12; student at Quinnipiac University School of Law
My education at Fairfield University not only prepared me for a career in rigorous science and research, but also instilled in me a deep love of learning, as evident from my current enrollment in a doctoral program. What struck me most about Fairfield can be broadly summarized in one word: community. Being a somewhat smaller liberal arts University with strong Jesuit values, communities are readily formed both in and out of the classroom. Of course, college students will always find niches and friend groups, and form communities around their extracurricular and social interests; however, the sense of community formed between students and professors is what has left the most lasting impact on me. - Jonathan M. Tirrell '09; music/psych double major; doctoral student, Program in Arts and Youth Development at Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development, Tufts University
Hit The Library
The DiMenna-Nyselius Library has a large array of resources to help you to discover, begin and manage your career: If you would like assistance in using any of these resources, please contact a librarian.
Hear From Professionals
Attend lectures on campus when professionals in your field come to speak and often meet students. Start with the Open VISIONS Forum and other events at the Quick Center.
Gain management experience - and give something back - by taking as leadership position in a campus club or student organizations.
Consider creating a blog or e-portfolio to collect materials that you can use to promote yourself in the future.(Build a blog.)
Look for a relevant job on campus to gain work experience. Consider volunteer opportunities, often tied to your academic interest, to give your experience and provide information on potential careers, especially with non-profit organizations.