Broadening Career Searches

November 29, 2017

Stephanie Bucklin

When Hiba Doudar ’17 graduated from the American University of Beirut (AUB), she knew that she wanted to find a job related to her major, Environmental and Chemical Engineering. But after a few months of searching, Hiba grew frustrated. She hadn’t yet found a position, and she didn’t know what she was doing wrong—after all, she had a strong background, one that also included a minor in chemistry and another in public health.

Then, Hiba received an email about the AUB Alumni Mentoring Program. She immediately signed up for a few mock interviews and résumé critiques, figuring that she would get to know the market more and hear advice from experienced alumni. The feedback that she received would open up a new range of possibilities for Hiba.

Many of the advisors that Hiba consulted with were impressed by her strong background, and suggested that she actually try focusing her efforts more in the environmental sector, rather than chemical engineering, to gain an advantage. That’s because, they explained, it’s very hard to find an “in” at many chemical engineering companies.

Inspired, Hiba broadened her job search efforts and even completed some mock interviews with people in consulting to learn more about a different industry and about how to solve a business case.

“Mock interviews are really beneficial for us in order to have someone who can notice where your weaknesses are so you can overcome them, and where your strengths are so you can stress them,” Hiba explains.

Advisor Salim Bousleiman knows the importance of advising aspiring professionals who may not yet know what their dream career will look like. “For me, the big picture is very important, more than just the first job,” he explains. A lot of times, the advisees he talks to on the AUB Alumni Mentoring Program are just starting out in their career, eager for the connections and advice.

Salim, whose kids are around the same age as the advisees that he speaks to, understands how crucial this advice is. Advisors, he explains, can help students and recent graduates focus their efforts and decide if certain things—like the cost and time invested in a graduate degree—would be worth it for their particular goals.

Based on feedback from advisors at the AUB Alumni Mentoring Program, Hiba broadened her career search, and began volunteering and interning to add more experience to her résumé as she decides what industry she wants to be in.

And that experience can only help Hiba going forward: Salim notes that ultimately, hard work and high standards will set candidates apart. “Do your best wherever you are,” he says, “because you’re doing it for yourself, and then you’ll be noticed.”

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