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The Mentor "Career Advice" Program

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 The SU Career Advice 4 U Mentor Program provides you with excellent suggestions as a prospective new employee.  Going from a college to work setting is very different and insight from alumni who are out in the field is invaluable.  The question below is "What career advice can you give to a new employee."  The answers to that question are below.  Each of the alumni listed below are members of the SU Mentor database and you can go to that database to ask more questions by clicking here.  The Mentors contact information is very easy to find.  Good luck!






"What Career Advice CanYou Give to a New Employee?" 

Kevin Hooker Portrait photo
Kevin Hooker, MCTS

Senior Consultant
Booz I Allen I Hamilton
"As a new employee of a company, it will be important to show your worth for hire and be noticed for the good qualities that you bring to the table. The most important piece of advice I can offer is to ask questions.. Lots of them. Remember that you are new and do not know it all, even if you think you do. Don’t be afraid to ask for examples, advice, or information that is relevant to helping you solve problems. One day you will be the employee that new hires ask for help, so it’s important that you soak up as much knowledge as you can from experienced senior employees in your field. Baby boomers will be retiring soon and a new generation will have to fill the gaps in knowledge.. There is no such thing as a stupid question (as long as it is specific to the challenge)."
Scott Dean Portrait photo
Scott A. Dean
Senior Vice President
Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA, Inc.
"Work hard and ask a lot of questions. Asking questions shows that you are engaged, understand that you don’t already have all the answers and you value input from others. Working hard seems obvious but it is a critical element to gaining respect and demonstrating your desire to move your career forward. You also need to “own” your career. While some employers have strong on-boarding and training, many do not and even those that do are not personalized for your exact situation. You are responsible for driving your success and getting a strong knowledge foundation will help you as you progress."
Nicole Kontrabecki
Booz Allen Hamilton
"As a new employee, be flexible and adaptable. Take time to learn from your colleagues and be open to constructive criticism."
Matthew Heusser
Principal Consultant
Excelon Development
"Learn the context of the business. Study now what people say, but what behaviors are rewarded. Ask yourself if those behaviors are who you want to be. If they are, be that person. If not, start looking at your options -- and learning about company culture before you accept the offer."
Ann Marie Byrd Portrait photo
Ann Marie Byrd

Reading Specialist
Carroll County Public Schools
"My advice would be; always be timely, give 100% of yourself, don't be afraid to disagree(it's how you say it), be a risk taker, admit when you are wrong, be a team player and be positive."
Ken Garritano
Bayer Healthcare
Regional Sales Manager - North East
Oncology Business Unit - Radiopharmaceuticals
"My advice to a new employee is to look at your new job as an opportunity to learn everyday. Consider yourself a true student to your business and take time every day think about where your were, where you are, and where you want to be. Be confident yet humble, listen attentively to those around you and do not hesitate to give your input. Seek feedback on your progress and show that you have the ability to learn, adapt, and produce results."
Scott Kennedy
Branch Manager
Graybar Electric Co., Inc.
"My advice is simple.
1. Be willing to start and the bottom and earn your opportunities.
2. Be patient in waiting for your opportunities.
3. Realize that everyone is replaceable, including you.
4. Treat ALL people that work with and for as you would want to be treated.
5. Maintain a positive attitude as often as possible. It is infectious and aids in building morale amongst your team members.
6. Remember where you came from."
Jessica Batt Portrait photo
Jessica Batt

McGladrey LLP
Manager, Risk Advisory Services
"Get a variety of experiences early on. You'll be surprised at what you thought you would enjoy and don't, and what you didn't expect to like and become passionate about. It will also make you more attractive to current and future employers."
Jeremy Claude Portrait photo
Jeremy Claude
Wildlife International, a Division of EAG.
Aquatic Biologist, Fish Chronic and Endocrine Disruption Team Leader
"Begin any position with the attitude that you are not above performing any task given to you, even if you feel that you are. Your willingness to perform even the simplest or least desirable task will help you build a solid baseline of dependability and reliability. Perform these tasks as if they were just as important as any other task because chances are, on some level, they are."
Leah Kraft (Cochol)
Baltimore City Public Schools
Special Educator
"Schedule time for yourself the first year of teaching and never eat lunch alone!"
Jim Cuviello
Cuviello Concrete and Terrazzo Polishing
"Go to work everyday with enthusiasm, work with a sense of urgency and never ask how to do your job when given a task, take it upon yourself to educate yourself and provide results. Be willing to put in the extra time and prove your worth and dedication. Never dictate to you employer what you will or will not do or what you can or can not do. Expect to start at the bottom and work your way to he top, there are no free rides and no shortcuts to success. Do yourself and your employer a favor and if you don't love what you do quit and find another job."
Pamela King Portrait photo
Pamela King

Kent County Public Schools
ESOL Teacher
"Learn as much as you can from others, but don't be afraid to speak up if you have something to contribute. Be confident in your decisions and don't judge yourself against others in your workplace. Go the extra mile; you'll feel more fulfilled even if no one notices. And don't forget to smile and wish your coworkers "good morning."
H. Kevin Knussman
Caroline County Dept. of Emergency Services Paramedic Maryland State Police (retired)
"Show up promptly and appropriately attired. Display curiosity and be ready to learn. Make yourself an essential part of the team. Always be prepared to further your knowledge and education. This will be an essential part of successfully preparing for promotions or possible other employment opportunities in the future."
Josh Chamberlain
Freelance TV/Film Editor
"Saturate yourself with every program used in association with editing and graphics. Learning all the tools to the trade makes you more of a desired employee. Broaden your horizon and don't set focus to a specific genre of editing such as Reality Television. Learn techniques and tricks from editing professionals (some can be found with the click of a mouse). Begin to build your demo reel and get it out there for people to discover. Continue adding and updating your amazing work and soon you'll be on your way to a successful career."
Kristopher R. Hallengren CPA/ABV, CFF, ASA, MSF
Director of Forensic & Valuation Services Division
Weyrich, Cronin & Sorra
"My advice to a new employee is to put your head to the grindstone from the onset. Many employers make a permanent decision on you based on first impression which can be anywhere from a week to 3 months. Go above and beyond the expectations to ensure that you solidify your role with the new company. In addition, keep observations and your personal life relatively close to the vest until you see the lay of the land and have a good feel for others opinions and interrelationships."
Chris DiPasqua, RN, MS, MAT, CCRN
Department of Nursing
Salisbury University
"Be sure to know your limitations. Most experienced professionals, especially in health care, will have far greater respect for a new graduate who asks questions and asks for help when they are in unfamiliar situations. Those who act like they know what they are doing when they actually have no idea, but don't ask for assistance have a far greater risk for making error that could lead to catastrophic results. No one knows it all, even seasoned professionals are always learning!"
Chris Bishop
Master Production Scheduler
Labinal Inc.
"One piece of advice I would give to a new Employee is to always work your hardest and accept any task that is assigned to you (even if it isn't your favorite assignment). Showing dedication to your position shows a lot to your manager and will help instill confidence in your boss that you can handle any task they give to you, easy of difficult. If you are in a position in your career field, this will help with any advancement opportunities that may arise, or if this is a temporary job, it will help in the future when you need a reference or letter of recommendation."
Tim Beachley
Beachley Business & Medical
"Make up for your inexperience with hustle. Be a team player and work extra hours. Hide tattoos and piercings. Dress appropriately – try and fit in."
Marie Beckey
Adjunct Instructor
Wor Wic Community College
Salisbury MD
"You have two ears and one mouth. Use them in that proportion. Watch and learn. Once you figure out the dynamics, you'll know what to do."
Ken Garritano
Regional Sales Manager - North East
Bayer Healthcare
Oncology Business Unit - Radiopharmaceuticals
"My advice to a new employee is to look at your new job as an opportunity to learn everyday. Consider yourself a true student to your business and take time every day think about where your were, where you are, and where you want to be. Be confident yet humble, listen attentively to those around you and do not hesitate to give your input. Seek feedback on your progress and show that you have the ability to learn, adapt, and produce results."
Mary Bodroghy
State Farm Insurance Company
Agency Recruiting Supervisor
"You should never stop learning and should focus on skills that are easily transferrable. Always strive to be relevant in your job and look for ways to improve processes and reduce waste. Employers want you to demonstrate your value to the company, so ensure that you keep track of major accomplishments and be able to easily speak to them. Punctuality and good attendance are always valued too."
Tara Di Giovanni
Woods Hole Massage
Woods Hole MA
Owner, licensed massage therapist
Real Pickles, Greenfield, MA
"Be a good listener and retain information as it comes to you. Never be shy of asking a question or to learn something twice."
Simon Drew
Kirkwood School District-St. Louis MO
English teacher/professor
"Keep your ears open and don't be blinded by your own talent. You're the low person on the pole and don't know as much as you think you do.  Also, be friendly with secretaries and custodians. They'll help you in many, many ways."
Matthew Heusser
Principal Consultant
Excelon Development
Allegan MI
"Learn the context of the business. Study now what people say, but what behaviors are rewarded. Ask yourself if those behaviors are who you want to be. If they are, be that person. If not, start looking at your options -- and learning about company culture before you accept the offer."
Patricia Abrahms
Mt. St. Joseph High School
Baltimore, MD
"First, always be prompt and always be professional in your dress and mannerisms.
-Second, listen and learn from your colleagues. They'll be lots of advice as the newbie but discern information carefully so that you use credible sources.
-Third, Prove your worth in actions not words.
-Fourth, be a team player.
-Finally, be grateful for favors great and small, then pay it back when you have the opportunity."
Barrett R. King
Senior Associate Attorney
Elville & Associates, P.C.
Baltimore, MD
"Don't wait for the assignments you're interested in to find you. If you are interested in a particular project at the office, tell the person in charge of it that you're interested in helping out. You may not get to work on that particular task, but he or she will remember you the next time something similar comes around."
Meg deFries
LLC Legal Nurse Consultant
Cardaro & Peek
White Hall MD
"I have a lot of career advice for new employees. The first is to show up on time so please plan to arrive early by about 5 minutes every day. Being late is considered disrespectful to your co-workers and inefficient to your employer. Next, I would say to make sure you are dressed for work every day. Sloppy dress conveys a sloppy attitude. Neat/business dress conveys a work, productive and serious attitude. Lastly, I would suggest you "unplug" from your personal media which includes iPhones, iPads, G-mail, and Facebook. Again, this effects your productivity whether you realize it or not."
Megan Hildenberger
DCS Corporation
Software Engineer III
Lexington Park MD
"Look for ways you can grow and learn more in your field, then act on them. Take initiative to take on more responsibility. Think of ways to improve working conditions for all."
Bruce Cort
Cort & Associates, Inc.
Potomac, MD
"Don't be afraid to ask questions - there is no such thing as a stupid question. Asking questions is a great way to learn things that you don't already know and not asking questions promotes ignorance and incompetence."
Scott Byers
US Department of Homeland Security
Assistant Federal Security Director - Charlotte Douglas International Airport
"1. Be punctual: Show up 15 minutes early for work, you’re already 15 minutes late. Management always knows the employees who show up the second work starts and leave the second they are off the clock.
2. Look sharp, be sharp: Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
3. Be accountable: Own your area of responsibility. There’s nothing wrong with telling your manager you made a mistake, owning up to it and explaining how you are already fixing it.
4. Take initiative: Rather than identify problems in the workplace, bring solutions to the table. Any employee can point out the negative, not everyone can fix it.
5. Check your ego at the door and take constructive criticism without the urge to defend yourself. This will help you develop the soft skills to become a good leader because more often than not your manager is trying to improve you as an employee, not put you down."
David Livingston
Vice President Talent Acquisition
Annapolis MD
"Listen..get to know your business, get a mentor and ask a lot of questions"
Stephen Ambrose Portrait photo
Stephen Ambrose

Physical Scientist
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS)
Camp Springs MD
"For a new employee I would give the advice to be enthusiastic, have a willingness to take on a variety of assignments, and communicate. New employees will take a few months to get acclimated to new jobs, particularly when related to your college major, and that is expected, but it doesn't mean that you are not productive in the beginning. I know in my new position it took me about 6 months to understand the role I would play, the IT system, and the co-workers. It may seem overwhelming, but don't let it discourage you as everyone needs time to understand the job, build confidence in your duties, and feel comfortable with the job. So keep asking questions to learn the job so you become the expert, and just like in school, there are no stupid questions!"
Lili Afkhami
Development Officer
League of American Bicyclists
Annapolis, MD
" Find your balance early on in your career. There will always be specific projects and initiatives that you'll have to bring home to work on in order to meet a deadline, but don't make it a habit; spend time doing things that keep you centered, spend time with your family, and take vacations. You'll be much more productive, and the quality of your work will be much higher than trying to impress your bosses by logging 60-hour weeks."
Andrew Dix
Postdoctoral Fellow
National Institutes of Health, NIDDK/LBC
Jessup MD
"Do everything you can to "hit the ground running." Whether it be making the effort to learn everyone's names, meeting everyone you'd interact with, doing extra reading at home, researching new aspects of the job, it's important to get up to speed as fast as possible. Investing early on will payoff. And if you don't know where to go/how to do something, ask! Just make sure you've tried/thought about it first. "
Eric M. Finkelstein
Director of Residence Life
Division of Student Affairs
St. John's University
Queens, NY
“Be eager to take on new responsibilities. Managers will look to you as a new employee to see how you respond to new projects. Sometimes this is a test. New responsibilities often lead to new opportunities. Take advantage and opportunities (promotions, raises, and credibility) will not be far behind.”
Carrie L. Holt
IT Specialist - Litigation Support Specialist
U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
Washington, D.C.
"Network – In this job environment sometimes it is ‘who you know’. Obviously, you need the background and education to support your application; however, it is important to network with all and any available resources."
Jessica (Cline) Drew
Staffing Manager
Annapolis, MD

"If your company is active in the community or any type of fundraising efforts, volunteer! Building professional friendships outside of the office is beneficial and your commitment to the company outside of the working hours will go a long way.

Always be early to meetings and always get to the office 15 minutes before your day is suppose to start. So many times employees walk into the office right on the dot and by the time they get coffee and get settled, they have wasted 20-30 minutes.

Ask your manager what you do better or differently to sharpen your skills. Learn to take constructive criticism and put it into action!"
Kimberly Min Portrait photo
Kimberly J. Min
, Esquire
Abramoff Neuberger LLP
Baltimore, Maryland
"You can learn something from everyone. Treat everyone, especially support staff, with respect; they know more than you do and can give you a lot of help that you might not even yet know you need. Writing is the primary form of communication, so take the time to re-read anything you send. Punctuation and grammar errors are distracting and compromise your credibility. The first few days at a job give your co-workers the most information about you, and it is nearly impossible to change first impressions."
Ben Hilliard
Senior Accountant
Smartlink, LLC
"Seek out new job activities and duties. Your ultimate career path will be determined not only by your college major and the initial job that you take, but also by a confluence of your interests and the opportunities that present themselves. By expanding your range of experiences whenever possible, you maximize your chances of finding rewarding positions as your career progresses."
Patrick John
Owner, CEO
Washington DC 20007
1. Make yourself indispensable to your employer by doing whatever is needed to make your company a success
2. Concede that your employer and his/her superiors DO know more than you, and leverage that by putting yourself in a position to be constantly learning from them
Ron Landon Portrait photo
Ron Landon

Former Job Title - Director of HR and Budget City of Apopka, FL (Retired)
Apopka FL
You don't always have to fill out an employment application or send in a resume to get hired. A good way to start your job search is to talk to decision makers and ask them how they were hired or ask them to review your resume for pointers not a current opening. This takes the pressure off you and them. At the end ask if they know of someone else who might do the same thing (again you are looking for the opportunity to just talk with these people not corner them for a job). You will be surprised to find the number of high up management professionals who, when there is no pressure will donate their time to help young wannabes to succeed.

Eventually don't be surprised if one of them says, "you know I think so and so can use you right here" or "I have a friend that is looking for someone with your talents."


To view the "Mentor Alumni Hall of Fame" please click here. These are SU alumni who have been in the Mentoring program for a few years and have worked with our students.

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