What Learning to Code Taught Me

It’s not as easy as ABC or 123, but maybe 1010…

A few months ago, I had a phone call with a recruiter. It had taken me weeks to set this call up. It all began with a networking call, then an email reference to internal HR, then finally to the recruiter for the job that I was interested in. The job was as an Operations Analyst at a popular fashion retailer and I could not have been more excited. Despite my sticky palms, I hopped on the recruiting call, ready to discuss why I was most qualified for the position. After running through my resume with the recruiter, she mentioned that she was impressed with both my enthusiasm and experiences just coming out of college, however, the position required a working knowledge of SQL. At the time, I only had experience with R code, a coding language that I learned in my Quantitative Business Analytics courses. She said that this would not normally be a considerable problem, however there is a mandatory SQL test during the recruitment process that I would not be able to finish if I did not understand SQL. After thanking her for the call, I remember sitting in my room completely frustrated. I had just lost an incredible opportunity due to the fact that I did not have one simple skill. It was then and there that I knew I had to roll up my sleeves and take a crack at it. Challenge accepted.

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In simple terms, a coder is someone who writes specific instructions or a “program” for a computer to understand and process the submitted request in the form of a completed task. Different coding languages are used for different purposes and require a specific language for writing “instructions”. SQL is a particularly helpful language for managing data in a relational database management system, making it useful for data analytics roles. 

If you are a beginner, like myself, I recommend using Codecademy to get your feet wet! Codecademy is free to sign up and offers various different courses to learn coding languages, such as SQL, Python, R, and Java. After signing up for my SQL course on Codecademy, I decided to dive right into the first session. Each session is composed of a few parts, the main ones being lessons, informational articles, projects, and quizzes. I especially appreciated the variety in material the courses offer, which helps coders learn the language more than memorize it. I also really enjoyed the challenging projects within each session that tests your coding skills in a useful and practical manner. 

After earning my “Learn SQL” course with Codecademy this past November, I had a few takeaways that I thought were worth sharing. My first takeaway is that, although the phrase “learning to code” and other tech terminology may seem intimidating, coding can be learned by anyone no matter what skill level. If your ambition is there, there is no stopping what you can learn, especially given the incredible online resources at your disposal. If you put your mind to something you can just about teach yourself anything. Simply put, learning to code is just like learning a new language. It seems intimidating from the start, but the magic is in when you find out it really isn’t too complicated. You are just not versed in the conversation yet!

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Another noteworthy takeaway is that coding allows you to think in ways you never approached problems before. When you are in the process of learning to code, you are pushed to ask yourself difficult questions that may be frustrating in the beginning. Coding forces you to dive deeply into the “why” questions, which you must answer in order to write efficient and useful code. Learning to code orients your mind into breaking down complex issues into bit size pieces that you must understand in order to accomplish your goal. A life lesson almost more than a coding one. 

Lastly, learning to code helps you become more detail oriented in your thinking. When writing code, you must go through a step by step process of explaining to the computer what to do. But, once you get the basics down, it is just learning what more functions and short cuts are at your disposal. It is incredible learning about the possibilities of coding, organizing data, and the capabilities of modern technology. You just have to try it for yourself!

The future is only going to become more and more technologically integrated, making it worth understanding the fundamentals to fully appreciate the world’s sheer complexity. It is only when we uncover the basics that we begin to understand how far we have developed as a people, society, and world. Thank you internet. 

Lauren MacArthur on Being a Recruiter and Advice for Job Seekers

Equipping you with the tools to land a job during challenging circumstances.

If you are currently navigating the job space, this article is definitely for you. If you aren’t, make sure to share this post with someone who could benefit from the wisdom of an expert in the recruiting space. Landing a job isn’t easy in a stable environment, making securing a position in our current circumstances an exceptionally difficult feat. My 6 month long job search was one of the most challenging and emotionally draining periods of my life. It can be a battle everyday to wake up with motivation to continue networking, emailing, and applying for positions with hundreds, even thousands, of other applicants. If you are someone who is looking for a job yourself, don’t give up! You are strong, capable, and resilient. A position will come along and, with enough hard work, you will be the one to fill it. Keep going.


I have shared this with someone who needs it!


A daughter, pop culture junkie, friend, movie lover, and fiancé, Lauren MacArthur is many things on top of being an expert recruiter at Veeva Systems, a cloud-computing company focused on pharmaceutical and life sciences industry applications. 

Screen Shot 2020-12-07 at 2.23.47 PMLauren graduated from Muhlenberg College with a Major in English and Minor in French and Creative Writing. When looking for jobs right out of college, Lauren always thought that she would work in public relations or publishing. While looking for opportunities in these fields, however, a staffing agency that she was working with mentioned that she would be a great fit for recruitment. Lauren had no idea what the profession of a recruiter looked like beforehand, yet, once she began investigating a bit further realized that recruiting could be a good fit. Lauren is a people lover at her very core and an opportunity to connect people with opportunities to help their personal growth sounded like an incredible role. 

When interviewing a candidate, here are some things Lauren looks for:

  • A team player

  • Passion

  • Flexibility

  • Innovative mindset

  • Comfortable navigating ambiguity

  • In-depth knowledge of company overall  

  • Self-starter

If she is recruiting for a client facing role, Lauren looks for a strong communicator and the ability to engage well with others. While, if Lauren is looking for a data scientist or a software engineer, she looks for someone who has a strong understanding of specific technical skills. 

For each role that opens up at the company, Lauren meets with hiring managers to get an idea of what they are looking for, what the process looks like, and to ensure she moves through efficiently. Then, Lauren interviews the candidates that have applied. Common questions that she normally asks are (subject to the role): 

“What are you hoping for in your next role?”

“Tell me about a time where you had to work with someone difficult and how you navigated that?”

“Tell me about a time when you had to build a product from the ground up?”

Lauren tries to avoid using yes or no questions, making the questions more situational and open ended in order to get the most qualitative information from the candidate. 

Having been a recruiter for some time now, Lauren notes that she has seen it all, including candidates who forget what role they are interviewing for or what company she recruits for. To avoid awkward interactions with your recruiter, Lauren recommends doing your research when it comes to the company you are interviewing with, enough so that you can have a thorough conversation about it.

“It’s always the best when someone has a lot of questions or fills the full 30 minutes. It is also great to see when someone is truly passionate about their work, where before you can ask them about a certain situation, they tell you about it first. Just be your authentic self.”  

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One of the most challenging aspects of Lauren’s job the push and pull between being honest with candidates in helping them on their career journeys while also valuing the vision of the business and what works for each group. Additionally, Lauren finds that, at times, giving feedback to candidates can be tough, especially when she connects with someone within the recruiting process. Those rejection conversations can be difficult, but transparency is the most important for the candidate experience.

In terms of advice she has for individuals looking for a job right now, Lauren mentions that persistence is key as well as maintaining the connections that you have in your network. It is a long game, not a short one. Any connections that you can make now are going to be beneficial so that when a position does open up, you will be first on their mind, says Lauren. 

One of the most rewarding aspects of Lauren’s job is seeing everything come full circle, when she ends up working with the individuals that she screened for hiring. Veeva is a talent partner based company, which really looks for individuals whose values align with the company, making true fits difficult, but well worth it. Veeva looks for individuals who are not only qualified for the position based on their skillset, but who also align with the values and vision of the company. Engaging with and learning from others on a daily basis is what really makes her job enjoyable as well.

Lauren has seen recruiting change over the years drastically, given that there are so many more platforms, such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Cardea, out there for job seekers. There are a multitude of places that you can get your applicants from. Diversity is also more important than ever before, as there is a greater prioritization in creating a more inclusive and equitable process. 

What does the future of recruitment look like to Lauren?

Lauren sees more systems and automation being incorporated into the process.

“I think in the future there is going to be a day when a computer reads and processes almost all of the information for prospective employees, where applicant tracking systems can help evaluate role alignment. Also, we will be able to have more data and metrics to track performance, productivity, and further perfect our process to attract talent.”  

Additionally, Lauren mentions that talent marketing will continue to grow and expand, companies focusing on emphasizing their talent brand. Sourcing talent is great, but it’s always better to have job seekers coming to you to want to work at your company, Lauren cites. The prioritization of certain benefits has also become more popular, as people have started to care a lot more about work-life balance, benefits, culture, diversity, and resource groups, to name a few.

We live in an ever changing world that continues to require adaptation, resilience, and flexibility, qualities of every good employee. With a little bit of persistence and hope for the future, we will all make it through this challenging time. One day at a time! 

Shaina Shikoff on Being a Female Engineer

On her journey to becoming an engineer and working in a male-dominated industry.

Originally from outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Shaina Shikoff is currently a solutions consultant at Appian Corporation, living in Arlington, Virginia. Just a couple of years ago, Shaina graduated from the University of Virginia majoring in Systems and Information Engineering, however, she never expected that she would ultimately become an engineer. In high school, Shaina was always interested in a lot of different subjects, but avoided pigeonholing herself into one so early on. Nevertheless, in college she found that there were a lot of opportunities for women in the engineering field. Civil engineering she found rather technical, which led her to major in Systems and Information Engineering, a newer field that brings business, science, and engineering all together. Systems and Information Engineering is a field of engineering that focuses on the intersection of systems, which can range between business systems to mechanical systems and everything in between. In Systems and Information Engineering, you also learn how to design and manage systems most efficiently and how humans interact with systems, as well as some related coding and data analytics. 

Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 2.04.57 PMIn college, Shaina found one introductory engineering class to be most compelling, where she learned about major engineering failures, such as the Challenger disaster, the collapse of Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and The Great Molasses Flood of 1919. Shaina saw this class as being a particularly interesting way to introduce the field of engineering and how engineering has used past experiences to improve upon itself. Outside of engineering, it was a class on Dracula that Shaina enjoyed the most.

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During her time at the University of Virginia, Shaina joined the Society of Women Engineers in order to develop a supportive network of women within the field of engineering. She also enjoyed building friendships with other engineers that could relate to her in a way that some of her friends within other majors couldn’t. One of the most valuable parts of being in the group, Shaina mentioned, was that she was able to seek the advice of women engineers that were older than her. 

In college, Shaina felt that she didn’t stand out as a female minority, because her major had a fair 60/40 ratio of men to women. However, when she entered the workforce, she began to see that across the field of engineering at her company, there were significantly more men. Nowadays, Shaina doesn’t find it shocking to be the only woman in the room, which comes along with a self-imposed pressure to prove her credibility and competence. Coupled with her young age and being the first hire within her division’s college program, Shaina has found client meetings and projects to be daunting at times, but rewarding nevertheless. 

Looking towards the future, Shaina sees more opportunities for women in technology and engineering than ever. Shaina admits that there are not a lot of women in engineering compared to men, by any means, but that women are definitely starting to be more valued and encouraged to join the field, especially as engineering grows and develops. “Women have a different way of thinking and diversity of thought is important, as a unique perspective is always valued,” Shaina mentions. 

Some advice Shaina has for a woman pursuing engineering?

Gear_love_heart_stock_illustration__Illustration_of_valentine_-_9341889-removebg-previewShaina advises that you should be willing to push yourself out of your comfort zone and work hard- maybe even harder than your male counterparts to prove yourself. “When you are out of college it is important to remember that everything isn’t going to be handed to you,” she emphasizes. Shaina also mentions that you should not feel held back by the stereotypes that surround you, “if you are passionate about it, then go for it.” Some other pieces of advice Shaina takes to heart are to try to get as many new experiences as possible in order to learn about what you like and don’t like early on in your career. Also she recommends developing a support system of women that you trust within your company, in order to bounce ideas off of or seek advice from. 

As the future of work changes tremendously in our COVID-19 world, I am hopeful that many would be inspired by Shaina’s story to enter the field and diversify engineering one woman at a time. 

Claudia Hu on being a Professional Pianist

Inside the world of a lifelong professional musician.

There is a saying that goes “consistency breeds perfection,” a saying that professional pianist Claudia Hu truly embodies in her work. Starting her piano career at just 6 years of age, Claudia has refined her craft of piano through thousands of hours of practice, which resulted in invitations to play in renowned music halls, such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City, as well as famous performance halls across The United States and Europe. Claudia recently graduated from Manhattan School of Music in May, majoring in Classical Piano Performance, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Classical Piano Performance at her alma mater with her teacher Nina Svetlanova.

Growing up, Claudia’s passion for piano was more than a hobby. Despite winning competitions and being invited to play at recitals, for Claudia, it was never about winning, it was about doing something that she loved. Interestingly, Claudia always thought that she would become a doctor, like many members of her family, yet she knew that if she went the academic route, she would never be able to play at the same level again. When she decided to apply to the Manhattan School of Music, she had the chance to meet her interviewer, by chance, before her audition and they just so happened to “click”. This allowed Claudia to feel more comfortable in her final audition, which landed her a place at the college among some of the most talented musicians in the country. 

Claudia admits that the prospect of attending the Manhattan School of Music seemed a bit daunting to her, however, she was more excited than anything, having the chance to study alongside some wonderful musicians. In college, Claudia viewed herself as a small fish in a big pond, which she saw as a positive, considering she wanted to learn the most that she could around high performing individuals that have the same love as she does for music. 

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One of Claudia’s favorite classes that she took was a conducting class, explaining that she loves conducting and views conductors as being the most intelligent in terms of both music and music history as well as art and life. Claudia was also eager to understand the theory and technical aspects of what it means to conduct. Another class she found to be particularly interesting was Historical Recordings of Great Pianists, which consisted of listening to old piano recordings. Claudia especially enjoyed listening to piano from the Golden Age or mid 1900s, as those pianists would play pieces that are not part of the typical repertoire and diverged from what we hear today. 

Claudia mentioned that some of her most memorable piano experiences came out of her college recitals Sophomore and Senior year. These recitals were the first times that it was just Claudia playing, with everyone coming to watch her perform the music she has been playing for the past two years. Claudia also enjoys these recitals because they act as milestones for how much she has learned in addition to how she can improve for the future. 

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Her experience playing has not always been smooth sailing, however, having suffered a physical injury two years ago. Claudia mentioned that she wasn’t too familiar with the “right technique” as a pianist and, as a result, her arms and back got so tense that she physically couldn’t play piano because it was too painful. This moment led to Claudia asking herself a lot of existential questions about her life without piano. Luckily, Claudia was able to see a physical therapist to correct the tension in her shoulders and breathing exercises. Now, Claudia is a more relaxed player, which has had a tremendous effect on the sound of her music and what Claudia regards as an overall triumph. 

When asked what Claudia finds as the most important quality in a pianist, she responded that being a good pianist is more than just reading music and playing it, it’s about a mental state of mind and your whole characteristic as a person. To be an incredibly proficient musician, you must work on being calm and introspective, getting to know the background of the piece and life of the composer. “A lot of composers were inspired by their political states or the popular literary works of their time, that is reflected in their music. I try to think about that while I am playing. It is a lot of mental work as well as physical,” Claudia points out. 

What excites Claudia most about the future is observing the shift taking place within classical music. The big question that is being asked nowadays in the music world is: Why do we keep sticking with the classical repertoire? A question that Claudia is eager to hear the answer to. Claudia is equally as compelled by the fact that modern classical musicians don’t have to follow one route in order to be a recognized pianist. She notes “you can find a career outside of that and with social media it becomes easier to become recognized”. It is my hope that everyone has the chance to hear Claudia’s music, a transportive experience, where sincerity and thoughtfulness can be both heard and felt. 

CEO Sit Down: Kai Han on Cardea

A company that is interrupting the traditional job search process one job at a time.

Finding a job is tough. Finding a job in today’s economy is even tougher. Cardea‘s entrance into the job search space couldn’t have been better timed, with new job seekers, like myself, eager to seek new and exciting opportunities. Having used many different job searching platforms, I consider Cardea to be one of my favorites, as the website’s user experience is incredibly intuitive and simple. I am so happy to have gotten the chance to interview Kai, Cardea’s CEO and a budding entrepreneur, on his new business and hope that you sign up to access the site too!


Kai! Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Sure thing! I’m 22 years old, and recently graduated from the University of Oxford in June. I was born and raised in New York City, which unfortunately makes up about 55% of my entire personal identity. Besides my hometown, I also like talking about startups, sports, and anime.

What was the inspiration behind starting Cardea and tell us a little bit about the business?

I was looking for an internship last summer and found myself extremely frustrated with the process. I wanted to work in venture capital, and remember conducting an entire mini-research project just to find out where to apply. I often caught myself wishing that someone could just present me with a list of all the firms that were currently hiring interns in New York City. Talking to some of my friends, it seemed that everyone hated the process of finding the right places to apply to as well (particularly those who didn’t want to go the banking, big tech, consulting type of route).

Traditional job finding platforms really place the burden of discovery entirely on the user. You’re given a giant database of jobs and nothing but a search bar and some rudimentary filters to sift through all of those jobs. What ends up happening is an experience that feels extremely clunky, with low personalization and tons of irrelevant jobs being shown to users.

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Zooming out a bit, I’d say there are broadly two types of content platforms: Search (Amazon) and discovery (Spotify, Reddit, Twitter) based platforms. Search works really well when the user knows exactly what they’re looking for, whereas discovery is optimally suited when a user has a set of interests but doesn’t know the exact specific pieces of information they want. From that angle, jobs should really be discovery based, but they’ve been search products since Monster.com in the 90’s. We set out to build a jobs platform that prioritized highly curated discovery over anything else.

To do that, we curate Spotify-style “playlists” of jobs. These can center around anything, whether it’s something like “Fintech’s Top Startups”, “Breaking into Product Management” or even something like “Last minute internships for procrastinating students”. Users can explore our selection of playlists and follow the ones they like. Anytime a job is posted to one of their followed playlists it’s displayed in their stream tab, creating an intuitive and easy to navigate job finding experience. Once you’re set up with us, all you have  to do is occasionally check your stream, we’ll handle all the rest.

What do you believe the biggest challenge is in finding employment online?

I could write an entire essay on this question alone. There’s a lot of problems in a lot of different areas, but we’re focusing on the discoverability aspect of it. Studies have shown that over 40% of qualified applicants won’t apply to a job simply because they don’t ever see it. In this age of technologically connected societies, that’s a pretty jarring number.

How does Cardea stand out from competing platforms such as LinkedIn or Creatively?

At this current stage, we’re strictly focused on job discovery, rather than professional social networking. For both LinkedIn and Creatively, job search is a small part of their product, and it’s pretty easy to tell that from looking at their platforms (search bar, big database, low curation, bad filters). We think by directing our efforts to just one aspect of these types of larger horizontal platforms, we can deliver a superior experience that we can then be built further features off of.

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What has been one “high” and one “low” in starting Cardea?

Definitely a high was letting our first users onto the platform.  We’re still in the process of testing and building but that was the culmination of so much work and planning so that was a big moment. As far as lows, we initially had a solution for adding jobs to the platform that we quickly realized was impossible to scale, and that was definitely a tough pill to swallow. Thankfully, we were able to get our heads together and figure something out on the fly.

What are future goals or milestones you hope Cardea to achieve?

We’re viewing this next year as a “building” phase for us. We want to really build the best product possible without needing to rush that market. Thankfully we’ve generated enough user demand for us to continue to test and validate our ideas around. In that sense, I’d say our goals for the immediate future are making the people that do get access to our private beta extremely happy. To us, this looks like high engagement, high retention and positive word of mouth growth. While the initial signs have been encouraging, there’s a lot more we can do to get even better.

Cardea targets recent college graduates and junior level positions, why have you chosen this market?

It’s really a scaling issue. To handle the amount of content we’d need to pump out to service older candidates is something we can’t really do right now. That being said, I think the current model is well suited for anyone up until their 3rd or 4th job, at which point people are usually moving around strictly via word-of-mouth referral. We might actually be even better off for people a little later in their career, as they usually have slightly more market awareness and a better understanding of what they’re looking for in their next step. One thing I will say about the younger demographic is that our UX is something they’re extremely comfortable with. Our entire generation has become accustomed to the act of following niche content channels, then scrolling through a central feed that aggregates all of that content.

What features are you rolling out on the site in the near future that you are excited about?

We’re working on a lot of really exciting things. In the near term, we really want to beef up our core consumer offering. This means expanding into different industries, allowing users to favorite and save companies instead of just lists, bringing in a search aspect (that doesn’t take away from our core model), and revamping the entire design of the platform. In addition, we’re currently building a machine learning tool that should allow us to increase our volume of jobs by a significant margin.

What is your advice for recent graduates applying for jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Don’t be discouraged! COVID-19 has hit businesses hard, but there are still plenty of companies hiring out there and plenty of positions that need to be filled.

In terms of how to go about the search process, you should have a few companies you’re particularly excited about, and at least begin to think about what it is you want to do with your career. We spend arguably the most amount of time in our adult life doing things for our employers, so finding companies that align with your goals, values and interests is crucial. There are a ton of companies out there that are doing really amazing work, you just need to find them.

 

Dayne Brown on Being a Business Attorney

Ever wonder what it is like to be a business attorney? Well, now you know.

When asking Dayne Brown about her experience as a business attorney, I thought it best we start at the very beginning: how she ended up sitting down to take the LSAT in the first place.

Dayne first mentioned that she always wanted to work in book publishing and moved from her home in Seattle, Washington to New York, New York to start her first career working for Oxford University Press. Dayne specialized in historical non-fiction while working at Oxford University Press for four years, earning $30,300 a year. Even in 2007, this was barely enough to get by in New York City. When her apartment got bed bugs (eep!) that wouldn’t leave, Dayne found herself stuck. She had no savings and she did not have enough money to move out of her apartment and replace all of her things, so she was forced to move back home to Seattle. Before bedbugs, Dayne had been reluctantly exploring other careers that might provide a more sustainable livelihood. Fortunately, one of her friends (a former NYC public school teacher) was in his last year of law school at Columbia at that time and was quite candid about his move into law. He shared the fact that he would be earning a six-figure income right immediately upon graduation. However, he also mentioned this sort of position was really only available to people who attend one of the top ten law schools in the nation. Admission at those schools is based almost entirely on the applicant’s Law School Admissions Test, or LSAT, score. Dayne then spent hours during her lunch breaks, on weekends, and in the evenings self-tutoring to take the LSAT. When she received her score, Dayne knew that she would likely receive admission to at least one of the top schools, and she ended up attending The University of Chicago’s Law School.

While attending The University of Chicago, Dayne soon realized that she was more interested in business law as opposed to other forms of law such as litigation. Dayne was more passionate about the collaboration that working in business law involved. She noted that, often in business matters, lawyers are interested in helping achieve what is in the best interest of everyone, while litigation is often a zero-sum game.


Having worked in business law for six years, Dayne is currently an associate at a large law firm, Cooley LLP, that specializes in representing high-growth technology and life sciences companies. Dayne’s clients are most often pre-revenue and raising capital from venture capital funds that specialize in early-stage investments. Dayne has worked on many private financing deals as well as biotech initial public offerings, or IPOs. She also assists her early-stage clients with corporate governance, employment, and equity compensation issues.

For Dayne, a typical workday involves checking her email first thing in the morning in order to gauge the business of her day. On a busy day when she is involved in a couple of active deals, Dayne might receive more than 200 emails. The volume of email traffic is a result of her role as a filter, both for information that needs to flow upward to partners and downward to paralegals and junior associates. Dayne first answers the most urgent emails and then often spends an hour or two on client calls and in administrative meetings. In the afternoon, Dayne drafts documents, provides feedback on the work product of more junior attorneys, and she might have a call or two with opposing counsel. Most days, Dayne is able to take a couple of hours off in the evening to spend with her young children. Dayne then usually gets back online at around 8:30 pm to finish any outstanding projects and to correspond with clients, partners, and associates.

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Another aspect of Dayne’s work is finding clients for Cooley. One way to do this is through a strong social media presence, for instance through LinkedIn, her personal bio on the firm’s website, speaking on panels, and participating in networking events. Thus far, however, Dayne has been most successful in acquiring clients who are also personal friends. Even when they aren’t friends first, Dayne’s client relationships often last for years as she and the other attorneys she works with will support a company as it grows and its legal needs become more complex.

A typical venture financing deal that she works on takes about three to six weeks and involves a relatively small investment (usually between $2 and $10 million). Mergers and acquisitions, or M&A, deals typically take six to twelve weeks because of the higher level of due diligence that is required, and an IPO takes about six to nine months.

Dayne notes that the most challenging part of her work is getting to the right answer in an efficient manner. Many of Dayne’s clients expect her to be an expert in the specific law and technicalities of their field. Dayne mentions that it can be challenging to become familiar with the specifics of each deal, work on the legalities of the deal, and communicate this effectively to the client, and fast. Her clients pay on an hourly basis, which makes executing a deal in a timely manner for these companies very important. Associates on Dayne’s level are responsible for transforming a three-page term sheet–which outlines the principle agreement between parties–into a hundred pages of documents that lay out the specifics of what is being agreed upon. This ties into the greatest misconception that Dayne believes people have about lawyers–that lawyers are made to throw up roadblocks to hinder their progress. As Dayne highlights, lawyers are there to assist growing businesses to thrive and prosper in the most effective, efficient, and legal (of course!) way.

Dayne views the healthcare industry as being ripe for disruption, which is why it has become one area of focus for her. Helping people bring their ideas to the world is what Dayne has become passionate about and what she believes makes her work compelling. Dayne represents companies that are looking to solve some of the world’s toughest problems in innovative ways, which makes her work incredibly engaging.

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Her advice for anyone looking to attend law school? Dayne mentions that it will definitely be helpful to know why, specifically, you want to go to law school. For example, it is good to know whether you want to become a public defender or are leaning toward M&A transactions. Additionally, considering law school is such a capital intensive decision, you want to make sure that your investment will be worth it! Dayne advises that, if you want a job at a firm, you spend a lot of time studying for the LSAT; your LSAT score will determine if you are able to go to a reputable school and therefore have a better chance of getting a job in a law firm afterward. Graduating from second, third, and fourth-tier law schools often result in not even close to the same opportunities at firms as top tier schools, resulting in a lot of underemployed law school graduates. One tip for deciding where to go to law school is to look at the school’s post-graduate employment statistics and also some of the places that graduates from these schools are employed at. This will provide an idea of the kinds of opportunities that you will be exposed to upon graduation.

If you are interested in becoming a lawyer, I hope that you take the time to consider some of Dayne’s wealth of professional advice. If you haven’t ever considered it, never rule law out completely, you never know when and where the law bug may bite!

Starting a TikTok Empire with Julian Parra

How Julian Parra racked up over 80,000 followers on TikTok giving career advice.

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My friend Julian Parra has always been one of my go-to people in terms of who I get career advice from. Having worked in the Center for Career Development at our college and having navigated the job circuit to land a position at IBM, Julian has both incredible professional and life experience to draw from. Recently, he created a TikTok channel to share some of his advice, which has accumulated over 80,000 followers. I sat down with Julian to understand a little bit more about how he built a social media empire around his passion for helping others professionally.


So Julian, tell us a little bit about yourself!

Sure thing Ursula! So I was born and raised in Hawthorne, NJ, I’m a recent graduate from Babson College, and I’m currently an Offering Manager at IBM.

How did you first come up with the idea to start a TikTok channel giving professional and personal development advice?

I first found out about TikTok in December 2019, and immediately, I was super interested in how the TikTok algorithm worked. The app is engineered for virality and users who may not have many followers can have videos blow up on the app. At Babson, I was a Peer Career Ambassador at Babson’s Center for Career Development for three years, and in my role, I met with many students a semester to help with resumes, LinkedIn profiles, cover letters, and all things career development. This experience solidified my passion for personal and career development and mentorship, so while I was in quarantine, I decided to combine my two interests in social media content creation and career development and starting posting on TikTok!

How have you worked on growing your following?

I first focused on the career-development niche and consistently posted at least one TikTok a day related to that. I also studied the way the TikTok algorithm works, why it pushes certain content over others, and optimized my future content accordingly.

How do you keep your TikTok followers engaged?

I try to respond to as many comments as I can on my videos and am always open to suggestions as to the content they want to see. It’s been great reading comments and direct messages from people saying that my content has helped them level up in their career development journeys. I hope to go on TikTok Live more consistently and encourage my followers to follow me on my other platforms like Instagram or LinkedIn.

You currently have over 8ok followers on TikTok, was there ever a major turning point for you and your channel?

I had been posting 2 TikToks a day for a month and hadn’t seen much traction. However, in mid-July, I started an “Interviewer-Interviewee” series, in which I gave concrete examples of how I think people should respond to certain questions in interviews to ensure a successful outcome. I received a lot of engagement from those videos and continued to post that type of content. I also uploaded a “How to send work emails like a boss” TikTok that currently has over 1.5m views that helped jumpstart my growth on the platform. Finally, I was incredibly grateful and humbled to have been featured on Buzzfeed’s Facebook and Instagram platforms, which has motivated me to keep providing the best content I can!

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What are three pieces of advice that you would give to anyone currently unemployed?

First, I encourage you to do your research on what companies you’re interested in working for and get clear on what exactly you want. Think about your own strengths and align that with your interests. Knowing what kind of job you see yourself working in will allow you to have a more focused path to getting to your end goal. Second, I encourage you to focus on building out your network. Although slightly cliche, LinkedIn can be a powerful tool if used efficiently. Reach out to someone whose career you would like to emulate, and ask them to hop on a 10-minute call. You never know what can happen. Third, don’t get discouraged. Although easier said than done, be sure to set time aside every day towards your goal of getting a job. This can be applying to this amount of roles, or reaching out to this amount of people. It’s always okay to take a step back, reflect, take a break, and go back to the job search when you’re ready. Celebrate the little successes and reflect on how far you’ve come. This should get you motivated to continue seeking your dream job.

What is the most valuable piece of advice someone has given to you?

One valuable piece of advice that comes to mind is that “whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” As soon as we understand the true power our minds have, we can achieve literally anything. Moreover, I am incredibly appreciative of being surrounded by friends who support my journey and endeavors and push me to continue to reach new heights. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, so it’s important for everyone to choose wisely!

 

Lastly, what about the future excites you?Screen Shot 2020-08-19 at 4.35.00 PM

I am incredibly grateful for my role at IBM, as it’s allowing me to grow professionally and personally, it challenges me intellectually, and my team is very supportive. I’m also super grateful for the platform I’ve developed on social media. I aim to stay consistent and post as much content as I can on TikTok and Instagram, and hope to motivate, inspire, and educate more and more people around the world!


How to find Julian

LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/julparra

Business Instagram: https://instagram.com/youknowitjulian

Personal Instagram: https://instagram.com/julparra

TikTok: https://tiktok.com/@youknowitjulian