On Thursday, June 29th, The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) hosted a panel titled, “Landing a Job in D.C.” as part of their career development series. Speakers included Christopher Ullman of the Carlyle Group, Cherisse Eatmon of the Millennial Action Project, and LeeAnna Matarazzo of the American Enterprise Institute. College students from around the country came together as professionals discussed their own path to success and offered advice for landing a job in the nation’s capital.
As Managing Director and Director of Global Communications for the Carlyle Group, Ullman offered his four keys to landing a job: heart, head, network, and opportunity. “It’s important to have a period of discernment in order to figure out what you truly want to do and what you’re good at,” he explained. Self understanding combined with a strong network can help seize opportunity. “Reverse engineer to yield a certain outcome,” he explained. Ullman advised students to think of their desired outcome, and let their goals shape the way they approach entry to the workforce.
State Caucus Director at the Millennial Action Project Cherisse Eatmon, offered insight to networking as a millennial in the city. “Get lots of coffee,” she recommended. She also encouraged students to be true to themselves and embrace their truly unique story as part of their personal brand. “Think outside of the box, be agile,” Eatmon said, explaining the importance of innovative thoughts and drive in the professional sphere. Most importantly, she cautioned students to be careful of burning bridges in D.C.
Human Resources Generalist and TFAS Alumna Leanna Matarazzo offered insight on how to nail the interview process, build a professional image, and polish a resume. She also highlighted the importance of patience when looking for a job. “Nothing is beneath you,” explained Matarazzo, “Everyone in D.C. has worked their way up.” She encouraged students to take D.C. back to their home universities through their network, energy, and efforts.
After hearing from the panelists, students had the opportunity to ask questions. “How do younger and older politicians engage with constituents through social media?” one student asked. “For the young elected officials themselves, they are doing a pretty good job building their personal brand.” Eatmon explained how young legislators motivate their millennial constituents to get involved and vote. “I just had a caucus in California have a reverse town hall with students from Sacramento State” where they listened to students share the issues they want to see in the legislature.
Watch Eatmon’s full response here:
Punctuality and knowledgeability were key pieces of advice discussed throughout the panel. While applicants do not posses the same expertise as potential employers, Eatmon emphasized that they have a great deal to offer through their own curiosity, engagement, innovation, and willingness to listen. “Be a thoughtful sponge,” Ullman encouraged. “Think of the job search and interview process as a ‘take home test.’ The answers are there, and the preparation is in your own control.”
Overall, the morning panel discussion provided motivational, inspirational, and practical advice for young people getting ready to enter the workforce. The opportunities are available, but how can a young adult stand out in the job market? Eatmon left students with this advice, “There are no losses, only lessons, just take the interview, take the coffee, take the meeting.”