Persistence, passion pays off for one senior who found her dream job
Chloe MacNaughton will work for
Ernst & Young after graduation.
Photos by Michelle Naranjo WWU University Communications Interns
Anxiety about life after graduation keeps many college seniors awake at night, but Western senior Chloe MacNaughton can breathe a little easier: She will have a job after she graduates in June.
MacNaughton, who is completing a major in Business Administration with a concentration in Management Information Systems and a minor in Economics, has been hired for an IT risk and assurance advisory position with Ernst & Young, one of the “Big Four” international professional services networks in accountancy and professional services.
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The opportunity didn’t exactly fall in her lap; MacNaughton had been on an active job hunt since mid-junior year.
“I had constantly been looking for jobs, but many companies do not hire eight months beforehand, so I was taking down names and job titles in companies I was interested in – for future reference,” she says.
She completed two internships, one of which she found through networking and another one using the professional networking site LinkedIn. She found her future job through the Career Services Center, where she works as a student coordinator and peer career advisor.
McNaughton knows how useful the Career Services
Center is -- she works there.
She took advantage of the many opportunities Career Services provides.
Because her job is to be a resource in career-related matters for students, alumni and community members – and for her own benefit – MacNaughton sought advice from counselors in the Career Services office, used some of the office’s features such as Viking CareerLink, Optimal Resume and various workshops, and attended every campus job fair.
“Even if I wasn’t looking for an internship or job, it was a great way to network and learn how to talk to recruiters and company representatives,” she says. “I visit the Career Services website pretty much every single day and even on the weekends.”
On getting her job:
Susan Anderson, a career counselor at Career Services, informed her of an opening for Ernst & Young posted on Viking CareerLink and that company representatives were coming to campus to interview students. She scheduled an interview.
Although the company was hiring for its Seattle location, MacNaughton expressed her interest in the office in San Francisco. After the on-campus interview, a recommendation of her was forwarded to the San Francisco office. She was flown to San Jose for a second interview and received a job offer three days later.
What set her apart from other applicants:
The interview process can be intimidating, but MacNaughton curbed the fear with practice. Past experience in interviewing for jobs and internships, coupled with networking experience at Career Fairs gave her confidence to articulate well.
She also has various leadership experiences – in addition to working at Career Services for two years she is involved in two clubs and an invite-only leadership team on campus, and has completed two internships. She regularly updates her resume to reflect her skills.
Above all, she knows how to tell a potential employer why she is perfect for the job.
“The main reason I got the job was I love my major and have a passion for what I will be doing,” she says. “Most companies don’t look for specific skills, but rather a fit for the organization. Showing my personality, excitement and passion is a huge reason why I secured a job.”
Advice for students looking for a job after graduation:
You can never start too early, MacNaughton says.
“If you aren’t graduating soon, look for internships and volunteer opportunities. Do not be afraid to put yourself out there. Any practice is good practice.”
She also pitches Career Services – and not just because she works there.
“We have counselors and peers who want to see you succeed and will go to great lengths to see it happen,” she says. “We are here to help you! Job and internship postings, mock interviews, resume checks, career counseling, major declaration help, career-related assessments, on-campus interviews, career fairs, workshops and more are available for you. We are an underused resource and really would love to see Western students succeed.”
Words of encouragement: Be persistent.
“The job opportunities are out there” MacNaughton notes. “Sometimes they just take a little work to find. If you utilize all available channels and are willing to learn and take chances, employment after graduation will seem much less daunting.”