Alumni Seejking Knowledge Blog

In the ASK blog, SUNY Oneonta alumni share their insights and advice for their fellow Red Dragons. Read and enjoy some useful tips for everyday life! If you think you have some useful knowledge you would like to share, please fill out this form  and our blog coordinator will reach out to you.

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New Year, New You, New...Job? by Kimberly Adler '04

Kimberly Adler is a 2004 graduate of SUNY Oneonta’s Music Industry program. Having spent 10+ years as a project manager for large and small corporations in NYC, she has been responsible for the hiring and onboarding of numerous employees. Kimberly is currently the Student Employment Coordinator in the Career Development Center at SUNY Oneonta.

Happy New Year, fellow Red Dragons! We’re roarin’ into 2020 with a clear vision for the future! (Has that joke run its course yet?) If you’re like me, you’ve resolved to binge less television, read more books, and crack better jokes. Perhaps you’re one of the many whose resolution list involves finding a new job. Whether that professional shift involves a new employer or signifies a departure from your current line of work in favor of something completely different, we have some tips to assist in your transition!

Reflect on the Past to Prepare for the Future

“Study the product you are going to advertise. The more you know about it, the more likely you are to come up with a big idea for selling it.” As the “Father of Advertising,” David Ogilvy knew how to sell just about everything because he studied just about everything. When you’re in the job search, you are the commodity. Arm yourself with knowledge about who you are, the areas in which you excel, what you enjoy, and the values you hold dear. Knowing the answers to these questions will serve several purposes: they will allow you to narrow your search to companies and positions that match your interests and strengths and will also provide the foundation for developing your personal brand. When you know just what you’re selling, your application materials will be stronger, and you will be better prepared for the interview process when that perfect opportunity arises.

Perform a Document Tune Up

The dreaded résumé.We spend so much time on a document that is typically reviewed very quickly. There is recent data to suggest some are given just six seconds of review time by recruiters and hiring managers!  This race to stand out from the applicant pack makes it more important than ever to have an effective résumé. Ask yourself the following:

  • Is it current, including any recent professional development details? If you’re switching careers, is there evidence to support your commitment to this change?
  • Does it accurately reflect your skills and achievements and how they pertain to the job to which you’re applying?
  • Are you properly incorporating language from the job posting to show that your abilities align with what the company is seeking?
  • Have you steered clear of résumé templates that make it difficult for applicant tracking systems to look for key words in your document?
  • Have you had multiple sets of eyes review it for errors?

Let’s consider the ever-important cover letter.

  • Are you using proper cover letter format?
  • Are you telling the story of you and selling yourself as the best candidate for the job, citing examples of your achievements to reinforce your proven effectiveness?
  • Are you calling out ways in which different work experiences can help you be successful in this new role?
  • Does your narrative have a clear beginning, middle, and end and make use of proper grammar, spelling, and syntax? (Companies want proof of your ability to communicate effectively.)
  • Do you thank them and reiterate your excitement for the opportunity to speak further about your candidacy?

Got references? This is an often-overlooked part of the application process. Be sure to maintain a document with the contact details of at least three recent professional references who have agreed to speak to your best qualities. The document can be simple, but each reference should be laid out in the same format and include the person’s name, title, company, email address, telephone number, and relationship to you. Keep them apprised of any time you share their contact details. You don’t want them ignoring a call or email asking for the reference! It is especially important to prime these folks if you are looking to change careers. Talk with your references about your decision to make a change and why you feel it is the right move. When speaking about you to hiring managers and recruiters, references can help frame you as a qualified candidate by highlighting your transferrable skills. This is something you will also need to do to effectively sell yourself in the interview.

Work the Network

How is your LinkedIn profile looking these days? Consider sprucing up this part of your digital persona. It is your professional landing page on the Internet and should be treated as such. Be mindful of your personal brand, ensuring the messaging you’re using in your cover letters and résumés is consistent with what you're writing on your LinkedIn profile. Use the site to follow organizations and leaders you find inspiring – especially those in the industry you wish to join. Take note of what makes their messaging effective.

Customize your LinkedIn URL. This is a quick and simple way to instantly make your profile a little more professional and on-brand. Once you have customized it to your liking, you can include it in the contact information block on your résumé.

Don’t treat your LinkedIn feed as just another place for passive scrolling while waiting in line for coffee. Remember that it is first and foremost a powerful networking tool. Check to see if you have any connections currently employed in companies or industries you are considering and reach out to them to gather information or ask for introductions. Remember that it’s important to put the human relationship first. Only ask for information or an introduction from someone with whom you have maintained a professional relationship. No one likes to feel as though they’re simply part of a transaction, so nurturing your network is just as important as leveraging it. Keep in touch with folks and check in from time to time. It’s the right thing to do and will help you cultivate meaningful professional relationships in the long run.

Beyond the web, seek out opportunities to get face time with folks currently in your field of interest. This could be anything from an industry mixer event to a more casual interaction. One of my most memorable career moves resulted from a chance networking encounter. A new executive was joining our team at work. Upon reading his press release, I learned an interesting fact: we were both graduates of SUNY Oneonta. When I introduced myself to him in the hallway, I made sure to mention this fun bit of trivia. That instant connection led to a trip down memory lane and the opportunity to interview for a newly created position on his team. Working for a fellow Red Dragon took my career to the next level and provided me with a lifelong mentor. Sometimes, networking is as simple as that.

Hit Up Your Career Development Center

If all of this seems like a lot to remember, you need not worry. The Career Development Center at SUNY Oneonta is at your disposal! Our department exists to support not only the professional development of the current student body, but also lend support services to our alumni network! You can email or call us anytime for assistance with everything from document review to interview and negotiation tactics. We are conveniently located in 110 Netzer. If you would like to set up a time to speak with a member of our staff, you can contact us via email ( and/or telephone (607-436-2534).

We hope to hear from you soon!



Budgeting Basics by Kevin Sutton '16

Kevin is a graduate of the Class of 2016, and is the coordinator of the Making Cent$ Financial Literacy & Wellness program on the SUNY Oneonta campus.
Kevin Making Cent$ logo

Hardly do I ever need to make the argument to people that budgeting is important, or at the very least it is a positive skill to have! Having said that, there is a huge difference between people philosophically agreeing with the benefits of budgeting and (literally) putting pen to paper to make a budget themselves. This “call to action” may seem like the most trivial thing, but there is typically some form of resistance for people to do so. A lot of people may believe that somewhere out there a “better” version of themselves is making slightly different choices. Perhaps this alternate version takes the stairs in lieu of the elevator when arriving at work, or makes it a habit to call their family every week. This version is probably also taking an active role in budgeting their money. All of the above are actually achievable with just a slight adjustment to our behavior.
           Creating your first budget is going to be the biggest step. Even though people may have an idea of a budget in their head, in order to be truly effective there needs to be a focused effort on doing it. It is recommended to make a budget one month at a time and to make a new budget each month. Keep the following five steps in mind when it comes to creating your budget:

Step 1 - Identify money resources. This is your income and other sources of money. To make things easier, use the “after tax” value.

Kevin Note: Do not include prospective gifts as income here; be conservative and only account for anticipated earnings.

Step 2 - Identify all expenses. This is the more time consuming phase. List out all your expenses. Common areas include rent, phone, loans, food (grocery and eating out), and utilities. Go through each area and write out how much you think is a realistic amount to spend for you in that area in a month time-frame.

Step 3 - Compare resources to expenses. Add up all your expenses from step 2 and then subtract that from your income in step 1.

Kevin Note: If this number is negative, stop here and go back through your expenses and find ways to cut back your spending in some areas.

Step 4 - Identify an amount to save. This is a very important step. You want to find how much you can afford to save. Look at the amount left after you’ve subtracted your expenses from your income. Take a portion of this and mark that as your amount to put into savings each month. When in doubt, shoot for 10% of your monthly income. For your first budget I do stress to only use a portion of your leftover amount for savings because you want to give yourself a buffer in case you underestimate some other expenses.
Once your savings amount is decided, you want to give yourself a “savings bill.” Treat this just like any other expense and move it to the top of your budget. This simple change in mindset of prioritizing saving can help you make behavioral changes that can benefit you financially.

Step 5 - Track, track, track! Follow through and hold yourself accountable. This will help you make more realistic future budgets as well!
This is an example of what your budget sheet may look like at the end of your first month. The $108 buffer left was useful as some areas were over budget.

 sample budget

             Keep your budget sheet in an easily accessible place so you can accurately track your expenses. Your refrigerator or bedside table may be good places to keep it in your daily view. It is also important to reward yourself, especially after your first month budgeting! Give yourself that positive reinforcement to keep making those healthy decisions and eventually you may turn into the “better” version of you in no time!