Your Winter Break Checklist

The holidays are a great time to refresh, reflect, and revisit your career goals. Take advantage of the winter break to prepare for the coming year. Here are five things you can do:

  1. Assess your strengths and interests. Make a list of your accomplishments, particularly those you found meaningful. Note the skills you used and the issues you helped to address.
  2. Research career options based on the skills and issues that you have identified and draft a target list of jobs and employers. Start by talking to people in your fields of interest. You can also use job search tools available within the Document Library.
  3. Organize and prepare your application materials for different opportunities. Add your latest experience to your resume and LinkedIn. If you’re in the process of applying to summer and post-graduate opportunities, make sure to tailor both the resume and cover letter for each. Refer to the career guides and checklists in the Document Library for additional tips.
  4. Work on your personal pitchHow do you want people to remember you in terms of your skills, passions, and achievements? Take the time to brainstorm your talking points and practice sharing your story with different audiences. This will help with networking and interviewing.
  5. Continue to cultivate your network. Tap into the CSSW network by joining and engaging with the CSSW LinkedIn Group and Columbia Alumni Community. If you’ve been actively reaching out to people throughout the semester (great!), make sure to send them good wishes, share an update, and/or give thanks. Simple gestures can go a long way in enhancing your relationships and opening doors to new ones.

A Journey Towards a Dynamic Social Work Career

We were thrilled to welcome back alumna Ashleigh Washington ’09, Senior Director of Learning and Staff Development at Safe Horizon, to discuss how she shaped her social work career, from providing direct services and managing programs to leading trainings for a national organization!

Attendees had the opportunity to gain a number of takeaways, including:

  • Taking the time to reflect on your experiences and assessing the activities in which you excel, the issues and causes that drive you, and the environments in which you enjoy working and thrive;
  • Embracing every opportunity as a learning opportunity; and
  • Owning your own career journey, including actively seeking ways to grow, build skills and expertise, and contribute

Thank you, Ashleigh, for sharing your inspiring story and these useful tips on building a fulfilling career!

Did you miss the talk? The captioned recordings for this and Dr. Joy Ippolito’s talk are now available in Career Connect’s Document Library within the Workshops / Webinars / Presentations Folder. (UNI login required.)

Students Gain Insight into Social Impact Investing

We were thrilled to welcome Dr. Joy Ippolito, a social work-trained Social Impact Investment Director, and her team members, Amber Porter, Venture Capital Associate, and Chaarvi Badani, Fall VC Associate and current Columbia SIPA student, for a talk about their work at the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact last Wednesday!

Dr. Ippolito, Amber, and Chaarvi shared their varied paths to social impact investing and the ways in which they have brought their unique experiences and skill sets to this work. A few highlights from the discussion include the importance of:

  • Defining how you want to help people and make a difference in terms of concrete skills and expertise;
  • Taking the time to build the necessary content knowledge by working with different organizations and communities both on the ground and on a macro-level; and
  • Understanding and effectively communicating the value of these experiences and perspectives in advocating for meaningful and sustainable social change.

We are grateful to Dr. Ippolito, Amber, and Chaarvi, American Family Insurance, as well as Dr. Desmond Patton for making this event possible!

*If you missed the talk, a recorded and captioned video will be made available to students within the Document Library in the next few weeks. A copy of the presentation slides that provides an overview of AmFam’s mission and investment focus areas has already been posted and made available in the Library.

Career Talk with Ashleigh Washington ’09 | Wednesday, December 4

Join us for an intimate conversation with Ashleigh Washington ’09, Senior Director of Learning and Staff Development at Safe Horizon, on how her talent for innovation and strategic leadership has driven her experiences in social work and nonprofit management.

Career Talk with Ashleigh Washington
Wednesday, December 4, 12:30 – 1:30 PM
CSSW Room C05
Live-stream available; registration required.

Register here

About Ashleigh

Ashleigh Washington is currently the Senior Director of Learning and Staff Development at Safe Horizon, the nation’s leading victims services agency. She leads training and professional development for the agency’s 900+ employees.

Her talent for innovation and strategic leadership has driven her experiences in the field of social work over the last 13 years. Ashleigh has also worked in the fields of substance abuse, public education, healthcare, and supportive housing, providing both direct practice and management in the non-profit sector.

Ashleigh holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Prairie View A&M University in Texas, and a master’s in social work from Columbia University. She is currently a Ph.D. student in social welfare at the City University of New York.

She is also the founder of HumanizEd Learning, an online professional and career development company for social service professionals. Visit ashleighwashington.com to sign up for a free online course.

Getting Started with the Job Search Process

Whether you plan to apply for a summer internship or post-grad opportunity, there are steps you can take now to prepare, including drafting a target list of employers. You can begin this process by:

  • Researching organizations you want to work for based on their mission and impact. Not sure where to start? Check out the links in the Employer Research folder within the Document Library of Career Connect.
  • Identifying opportunities within these organizations that align with your knowledge, skills, and interests.
  • Making connections and conducting informational interviews with people working at these organizations in roles that you hope to attain.

Learn more at our Job Search Workshop on Tuesday, October 27 from 1:00 to 1:50 PM in Room C06! There will be another workshop for those seeking summer opportunities on Thursday, November 14.

Tips on Sharing Your Value with the Wider Community

Last Wednesday, we were excited to welcome back alumna Josie Rosario LMSW ’19, MSEd, a NYC-based therapist and founder of Healing Strategy, a brand and marketing consultancy for therapists, to share insights on how to develop a personal brand and enhance your professional marketability while in school, especially using digital platforms.

A couple takeaways included:

  • Being clear about (and staying true to) who you are, and how you want to serve the world using your strengths and expertise
  • Knowing who and where your target audience is, whether online or offline, and focusing on nurturing a relationship with them based on their needs and interests
  • Leveraging various resources and tools including social media and personal connections to broaden your reach

Thank you, Josie, for sharing these insights and many other tips, as well as your personal story on how you implemented these successfully in your own journey!

Missed the workshop? Check out the presentation slides in the Document Library within Career Connect under the Workshops/Webinar folder. You can also make an appointment with career services via Career Connect.

Managing Your Personal Brand

Whether you know it or not, you have a brand.

For better or for worse, how you communicate and engage with others, whether in person, online, or on paper, shape the reputation of who you are and what you bring to the table. It can be as simple as an email you sent to a supervisor, a brief interaction you had with a peer, or a status you posted on your social media page — people will judge:

Do you communicate clearly and concisely? Are you respectful? Do you have a positive attitude? What do you stand for? Would I want to work with you?

Regardless of whether these perceptions ring true, they don’t always represent how you may see yourself or hope to be seen. However, you have the power to change this.

Personal branding is the practice of developing and managing your reputation based on the value you bring to the world. If you take ownership of this process and do it well, it may not only improve your image but also raise your visibility and access to new opportunities.

A good starting point is determining what you want your brand to be, auditing your existing brand, and refining it to better showcase your strengths and personality. A few questions you can ask yourself are:

  • Who are you? What’s important to you, and what makes you unique?
  • Are these aspects of you accurately reflected in your professional interactions? Social media profile? Resume?
  • Do they come across authentically and credibly?

Read additional tips on personal branding on Idealist Careers and/or attend our upcoming workshop on Wednesday, October 16 with Josie Rosario ’19 to learn more about how you can build your brand and enhance your marketability.

Build Your Brand with Josie Rosario ’19 | Wednesday, October 16

Join us for an exciting workshop led by CSSW Alumna, Josie Rosario ’19!

Building Your Brand: Strategies to Enhance Your Marketability While in School
Wednesday, October 16, 12:30 – 1:30 PM
CSSW Room 301

Register

This is a great opportunity to learn how to effectively define and communicate your personal brand and increase your marketability for future opportunities.

About the Presenter

Josie M. Rosario, LMSW ’19, MSEd is an NYC-based therapist, who helps individuals and couples improve their self and relational awareness while supporting their journey towards feeling whole and being well. As the founder of the Healing Strategy, a brand and marketing consultancy for therapists, she supports private practice clinicians increase their visibility and impact. Josie splits her time between private practice, leading the Healing Strategy, and a mental health clinic.

Josie earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University, a master’s degree in education from Hunter College, and graduated with distinction from Columbia University’s School of Social Work. Josie was an early participant of Business Essentials at Harvard Business School and the Columbia Entrepreneurship Design Studio. She is also a trainee in family and couples therapy at the Ackerman Institute for the Family.

Josie is a native New Yorker, a proud Black Dominican-American woman, a die-hard Golden Girls fan, and deeply committed to continuing to manifest her ancestors’ wildest, most fiercest dreams.

Careers in Development with Angelie Singla ’06

Last Wednesday, we had the pleasure of learning about careers in development from Angelie Singla ’06, who spoke about her own journey in the field and how she leveraged her social work background to secure funding for her organizations. Many social work skills and attributes were discussed, including the ability to:

  • Understand the needs, goals, and mission of an organization;
  • Build and cultivate relationships with both donors and internal stakeholders across the organization; and
  • Persuasively communicate and advocate for a cause and inspire others to invest in the issues, whether through grant proposals or other fundraising campaigns.

Thank you, Angelie, for sharing your story, insights, and tips on this career path!

Want to learn more about careers in development? Conduct informational interviews with professionals in the field and explore resources and associations such as Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFPNET), Chronicle of Philanthropy, and Candid (merge of the Foundation Center and GuideStar).

Building Community through Candid Conversations

Yesterday, at our 2nd annual Communities of Color Networking Night, we had the pleasure of welcoming back alumni, both in person and online, to share their unique stories and perspectives on navigating their careers as professionals of color working in various roles and spaces.

Notable themes included the importance of being open and thoughtful about who you choose to connect with — recognizing that titles don’t always dictate the value others can offer — knowing what you want to learn and being proactive in the learning process, and using your natural ability as social workers to initiate and cultivate relationships.

We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all our alumni who spent their evening with us to share their insights and advice, to James Singletary ’10, Associate Director of Field Education, who led an engaging panel discussion on strategic networking, and to students who participated and helped make the evening a success!

We hope everyone enjoyed the opportunity to connect and felt empowered to continue developing their network.

For tips on how to build on the connections you made after an event, click here.