Organizational and Leadership Psychology Department: Alumni Alliance
Alumni Alliance Activity
The Organizational and Leadership Psychology (O&LP) Alumni Alliance held a "Breaking In" workshop on January 23rd at the Newton campus. Attended by current students and alumni, the event was well received and provided helpful, practical tips for OD job seekers.
First and foremost, THANKS to Marge Dupere (2008), Leto Papadopoulos (2009), Kelly Armstrong (2010), and Dennis Woodruff (2011) for facilitating various portions of the program and to Rebecca Rodriguez (Class of 2014) for assisting with the logistics and serving as event photographer. Following is a summary of the feedback collected from the event evaluations, photos from the event, the top take-aways from each portion of the event, and next steps for the Alliance.
Workshop Attendees and Facilitators
What did attendees say about the event?
100% of evaluations via SurveyMonkey (total respondents = 5) reported that the event met their expectations. Respondents were split 50%-50% on whether the LinkedIn or the resume review portion was most beneficial. Feedback was positive on the interviewing portion; a constructive suggestion was to include a mock interview next time. Specific quotes from the evaluations include the following:
- The workshop was very informative. Both the LinkedIn and Interview presentations were well prepared and presented. The LinkedIn presentation was particularly informative and detailed.
- I enjoyed getting to interact with alumni in the program, and learn more about them. It was fun to be able to network with all who attended. I appreciate the support alumni provide for each other!
What were the main messages shared at the event?
Below is a summary of the Top 3 Take-Aways from each portion of the program. For those who attended, they are a quick reminder and tip sheet. For those who weren't able to join us, we hope the summary will entice you to attend future events and benefit from networking, collaborating, and learning with your peers.
Top 3 Take-Aways: Resume Writing
- Write a powerful opening/objective statement or summary. A solid, clear opening/objective statement will help you carry a focused message throughout the resume. This will summarize your skills and emphasize your strengths and this should typically be in a block paragraph format and run about 3 to 5 sentences long
- Tailor your resume and cover letter for EACH position. Many applicants create a generic resume and send it out for every job of interest. Most often this is just a waste of time. You should take the time to review in detail the job advertisement and the required qualifications. Tailor your resume and work experience to support what the employer is looking for. Address each point in enough detail that the employer can easily find the information on your resume and cover letter and understand your depth of experience. One resume does not fill all.
- Be organized, logical and concise. In addition to reviewing your experience, employers also use the resume to sense whether you are organized, logical or concise. Make sure your resume is balanced, neat, visually appealing and flows consistently. Clearly separate sections and emphasize section titles. Leave sufficient blank space between sections for easy reading.
Top 3 Take-Aways: Linked In
- Keyword your LinkedIn profile with all relevant terms related to the types of positions you're looking for within OD. This can be done within the summary, job descriptions or skills & endorsements sections. It doesn't matter where on your profile those terms are located, you will still appear in search results and terms will be highlighted.
- Create a strong career summary for your profile. This is a big picture overview - if your background isn't in OD, find transferrable skills/accomplishments to highlight.
- Use LinkedIn to create networking opportunities. It's an extension of your in-person activities. Do your research on companies and people to meet with, and then use it to get introductions to set those meetings.
Top 4 Take-Aways: Interviewing
- Do your homework: Prior to any meeting, be it an interview or networking meeting, know what is going on at the organization you are targeting. Best exercise is to write out a report for yourself, including a summary of key strengths and challenges for that organization, and questions you would like to ask of those with whom you are meeting.
- Information interviewing works: Get out there and find out more about the discipline in which you would like to work (such as Org Behavior or Leadership Development), the sector you would like to work (biotech, non-profit, healthcare, etc.). If you are uncomfortable meeting first with your prime target, get to know their competitors. You will add serious value to the discussion once you land the "big one"; the interview that matters.
- Leverage what you know: If you are changing careers or targeting an adjacent field, build on what you know whether that is sector or subject matter expertise. For example, if you worked in financial services (in a finance/accounting role) then seek an OD role in that sector and build on/sell what you know about that business and audience.
- Believe in and be confident in what you learned at MSPP: As discussed, there is rigor in your degree and/or certificate that many working in the field may not possess. Learn how to communicate that value proposition in a succinct and compelling way, and in the interest of the decision maker.
75% of evaluation respondents are interested in more networking opportunities. One respondent was surprised that the turnout at the event was lower than they expected. Another said it would have been beneficial to have a faculty member attend and express the importance of such learning opportunities.
The MSPP O&LP Alumni Alliance is driven by alumni. Committees are led by alumni. Events are planned by alumni. All efforts are for the benefit of current, future, and potential alumni. While faculty members provide support, serve as liaisons to the school, have been present at all previous events, and strive to promote Alliance events to the larger MSPP O&LP community, the alumni are accountable for the success of the Alliance.
To be successful in our mission to provide educational, networking, and social events, the Alliance needs you – to show up, to participate on committees and in event planning, to share ideas and suggestions, to commit to the mission and goals of the Alliance. For those who focus on Organizational Psychology, we hope it resonates that the Alliance is, in and of itself, an organization that is in need of structure and development. If we apply Galbraith, filling out the committees (working groups) and empowering them to develop the details and implement their activities appear to be the next steps in developing the Alumni Alliance as a healthy, sustainable organization.
So we ask – what will entice you to participate? If you have been unsatisfied with the activities of the Alliance or the overall support of MSPP since you graduated – what will encourage you to share your time and ideas to make it better?
The "Breaking In" event was a success – there will be many more if we all work together. Join us for the next Alumni Alliance call on Thursday evening, March 13, 2014, at 6:30 pm to plan what's next.
In conjunction with MSPP’s Ribbon Cutting Celebration, the Organizational and Leadership Department’s Alliance hosted an evening venue to showcase our new campus to alumni. The venue was highlighted by a keynote address by Dr. David Kantor, a widely accomplished systems psychologist, organizational consultant, and clinical researcher. Participants enjoyed a wonderful overview of his current work on the “4 Player Model” which represents a central element to his “Structural Dynamics” theory on face to face communication. Additionally, three alumni panelists, Alyssa Rocco, Sam Newland and Becky Smith, shared their personal journeys from MSPP back into the work place. These panelists then led round table discussions with attendees as it related to “bridging the gap” from academics to careers. The evening included a champagne toast and closing led by Department Chair and Director, Dr. Erik Gregory.