Use Your Influence To Get A Job

So often we talk about the people we know and the influence we have. We just like to feel important. Well, why not use that supposed influence for good? Or at least help yourself.

Social media has become a key factor in most aspects of our daily lives. One aspect that I think too many people overlook (yes, even the “connected” generation) is how to utilize your online presence to find a job or build professional connections. Obviously, this is the point of LinkedIn but there are a lot of avenues to start and build those relationships. Just make sure you have something to offer in return.

Recently I was contacted about my thoughts on this subject based off of a post I wrote in summer 2011 after my most recent job search. I was shown an interesting info graphic, which I think is worth sharing:

 

Social Score Infographic
From OnlineClasses.org

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I Have a Job! – Here Are The Details

Good news!  After a job search that was significantly longer and more difficult than I anticipated, I finally have a job!  I’m pretty excited! Even better – I had the opportunity to make a choice (although it was an extraordinarily difficult one): over the past week I had three job offers from which to choose!

So, here are the details:

Starting August 8, 2011, I will working for Centene Corporation as a Contract Negotiator.  Centene (more information below) is a Fortune 500 managed healthcare company based in St. Louis, Missouri.  I will be reporting to the Director of Contracting and Network Development.

My role is to be part of the team responsible for building provider networks for Medicaid and other managed plans.  Centene manages plans for state governments.  I will be building relationships with healthcare providers (starting with doctors/doctor organizations and clinics and moving to hospitals and more complex entities), putting proposals together for state governments, and if Centene’s proposal is selected, negotiating terms of relationships between healthcare providers and Centene.  I will be working on provider setup and training as well.

There are a lot of elements to the position: negotiating, business development, analysis, proposal writing, reporting, project management, training, legal, compliance, strategy, etc.  I will be based in the company’s headquarters.  The position includes travel up to 70-80% of the time (during the week).

There should be a lot of opportunities for growth – Centene is looking to double in size in the next 3-5 years.  The Network Development team, of which I will be a part, is going to be key to making that happen.

About Centene Corporation:

Centene Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, is a leading multi-line healthcare enterprise that provides programs and related services to the rising number of under-insured and uninsured individuals. Many receive benefits provided under Medicaid, including the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), as well as Aged, Blind or Disabled (ABD), Foster Care and long-term care, in addition to other state-sponsored programs, and Medicare (Special Needs Plans). Centene’s CeltiCare subsidiary offers states unique, “exchange based” and other cost-effective coverage solutions for low-income populations. The Company operates local health plans and offers a range of health insurance solutions. It also contracts with other healthcare and commercial organizations to provide specialty services including behavioral health, life and health management, managed vision, telehealth services, and pharmacy benefits management.

I will post some of my thoughts on interviewing/the job search soon in a separate post, but here are some of the basic statistics that I calculated based on my applications and the responses I received:

Location of Job % of total jobs applied for
St. Louis 44.4%
Denver 15.8%
Washington DC 21.1%
Chicago 3.7%
Other/Multiple Location Options 15.1%

I heard back (either for an interview or to tell me that I was rejected) from 31.5% of the places I applied.  I interviewed for 33 positions. I’ve had four job offers and several more opportunities that could have resulted in job offer had I pursued them.

This has been a long and difficult process and I am certainly glad that it is over.  I am excited about the opportunity to join Centene Corporation as a Contract Negotiator.  Here’s to the future!

Life Update From The Past Month +

It has been quite some time since I’ve written a regular blog post on here.  May and the beginning of June just flew by!  The end of college came and went – way too quickly!  I am hoping to start doing a better job of blogging again now.  In the meantime, I figured I would give some updates on what I have been up to during the past month and half or so (In no particular order).  I don’t know if anyone will read this, but just in case…

  • I graduated.
  • I co-chaired the University of Denver’s 10th Annual Diversity Summit on Inclusive Excellence.
  • Earlier (end of April) I competed in the University of Denver’s Inclusive Excellence Case Competition. Life got really busy though and I never wrote about that experience, but my team developed a comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategy for MolsonCoors, focusing on its international business units.
  • I have gotten to know some amazing people.  This includes quite a good number of the international (specifically Chinese) students at the Daniels College of Business.  I am so happy for the opportunity to become friends with so many great people.
  • I went to a protocol dinner.  I have never had sorbet between courses or three wine pairings at one meal.  I don’t even know if I have ever even had a wine pairing… 🙂
  • I attended part of TEDxDU.  There were some pretty awesome speakers.
  • I completed group papers that involved meetings with and research into Vail Resorts (on human resource strategy) and Love Grown Foods (on business sustainability).
  • I saw the University of Denver’s lacrosse team play in the NCAA final four game… on TV.
  • A friend and I created a Wiki with extensive research and best practices about onboarding and orientation programs.
  • I met up with several friends who came back to visit Denver.
  • I went by the Native Student Alliance’s Pow Wow at the University of Denver.  It was awesome and I wish I could have stayed longer.
  • I went to a Cardinals vs. Rockies game at Coors Field.
  • I went bowling and played laser tag with my cousins in Littleton.
  • I had funnel cake. 🙂
  • A friend and I wanted to go camping, but unfortunately that did not happen.  Apparently finals meant there would be a lot of work to do…
  • I worked with a team as part of my MBA capstone class on a feasibility study/business plan for the creation of a Neurology Clinical Pharmacy Specialist (PharmD) position at Denver Health.  We presented to the Associate COOs and several other executives at Denver Health.  The formal ask will be made soon.
  • I have subscribed to Fortune, Fast Company, The Economist, and several other magazines.  I need to stay current and engaged to be competitive and innovative in the marketplace and to engage in intelligent conversation.
  • I went to a lot of goodbye dinners.  Some on the same night.
  • I went to a pool party.
  • I smiled.
  • I cried a little.
  • I laughed a lot.
  • I left my position at the Center for Multicultural Excellence.
  • I moved back to St. Louis.
  • I have been catching up with friends at home.
  • I have been debating going to Las Vegas with some friends but plane tickets are really expensive.
  • I am trying to figure out my future – weighing options, balancing priorities, etc.
  • I have been applying for a lot of jobs and have had several interviews lately.  I am hoping that some positive progress might happen in regards to my future very soon.

That’s a lot.  And there is a lot more.  Hopefully, I will have time to post updates on life, what I am thinking, and interesting things I come across online.

Spring Quarter – My Last at DU

It is Spring Quarter and there seems to be excitement in the air.  I can’t really put my finger on it, but there is certainly something different, something exciting about this quarter.  People are generally in a good mood and seem to smile more.  I like that.

My classes this quarter will be a lot of work and each of them involves at least one group project.  I am taking the following classes: Creating Sustainable Enterprises, Strategic Human Resource Management, Competitive Marketing Strategies, and Enterprise Solutions.  I like my professors so far and the content seems like it will be interesting and relevant to me post-graduation.  Enterprise Solutions is a capstone class that is meant to bring together concepts from the entire MBA program and function more as a consulting engagement.  My group will be working with Denver Health.

Working at the Center for Multicultural Excellence this quarter will focus mostly on the 10th Annual Diversity Summit on Inclusive Excellence.  We should have a great program and I am extremely excited about the potential the Summit has.  I will also be doing some wrap-up and evaluation of the Diversity & Unity Retreat and Voices of Discovery, while beginning planning for next year’s Diversity & Unity Retreat.  Of course, there will be our quarterly Dinner and a Movie and work with Joint Council.  Importantly, we will need to be developing some sort of transition/succession plan for after I leave CME.

I am participating in the Daniels College of Business’s Inclusive Excellence Case Competition this quarter with a great team.  We will be working with MolsonCoors to solve a real diversity/inclusion program that their enterprise needs to address.

A big part of the next 10ish weeks will be my job search.  I am constantly looking up companies and jobs and applying for opportunities.  I hope to have something lined up soon.  My goal is to have a job well before the end of the quarter, while making sure that it is a great fit for me and the company.  I am hoping for something that provides continued growth and long-term opportunity.

Then there are the other groups of which I am a part and to which I will continue to contribute.

In the midst of all of this, I hope to make the most of the end of my college experience.  It has been an amazing five years, better than anything I could have ever imagined.  I want to cherish each moment, each experience, every person, all of my friends and make the most of the short time I have remaining.

Here’s to the end of college and setting ourselves up for a successful future!

On a Stormy Sea of Moving Emotion

Today was the Diversity & Unity Retreat.  I know I have much to update on here (I have not really blogged in a few weeks), but I’d like to offer some of my takeaways from the weekend.  Some of these are related to the actual content of the event, but more than that is how the Retreat has/may set the context for where I am in life more generally right now.

I learn so much from the people with whom I interact.  I spent 23 hours with 130 Retreat participants who challenged themselves and each other on how to comprehend topics of diversity and inclusion, how to grow in their own identities, and how to transform this passion and knowledge into becoming allies for each other and towards creating positive change on university campuses.  I witnessed so many people who got out of their comfort zones and challenged themselves to engage differently.  Too often, we become complacent within our own safe zones, our own communities, our own knowledge.  I am amazed at how much we can transform in such a short period of time.  I hope that the new knowledge and understanding gained by participants will continue to fester and develop.  If that happens, I have much hope in the future.

Thomas and I worked with a group of 12 students (10 undergraduate and 2 graduate) to develop content for the Retreat.  We worked with them on curriculum development, event write-ups, training methodologies, and discussion/facilitation skills. We call this group the Core Team.  Mia and I began the group last year and we expanded upon their role for this year’s Retreat.  Our first Core Team included many of my best friends who also happened to be leaders of diversity work on campus.  Most of them graduated last year and I was unsure at first about how I might interact with this year’s group of students.  While I knew each of them from other activities, our relationship was different and for the most part, they were several years younger than last year’s group.

After this weekend, I am proud to say that we could not have had a better group of student leaders.  Their passion, dedication, hard work, and skills are an inspiration and I am so proud to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a group and help them develop as individuals.

Yet, it was also me who developed in the process.  I sometimes become frustrated at diversity events when people “don’t get it” or when I attend sessions that I “know.”  But I learn from the people with whom I interact.  And my knowledge and skill set are constantly challenged and transformed from the work that I do.  I am thankful for every person at the Retreat who has also helped me as I become the person I want to be.

We spent some time talking about identity development models – how each of our social identities develops/transforms overtime, at different levels, and at the same time as our other identities.  We had an incredibly diverse group of participants (and not just in the “usual” dimensions of the term).  This morning when I was standing in the middle of the circle of participants, I reflected on my whiteness.  I’m not entirely sure what it was that made me think this way, but almost as if someone hit a button, I was instantly aware that I was a white person leading the Retreat.  Would it be seen as though the majority person was trying to tell the minority people what “they” needed to do?  I hope not.

I certainly do not have all of the answers.  I just try to do my part to make the world a better place.  Hopefully I am able to impart some wisdom on other people, just as other people constantly teach me and challenge me.  In that process, I think it is important for each of us to recognize and own our own identities and engage ourselves as we try to discover who we are and how we interact with others.

Over the past year, I have filled out a lot of forms asking me what my career goals are and what my intended career path is.  Here is the short answer: it depends.  My long term goals are to be successful, both personally and professionally, and to be able to use that success and my position (whatever it may be) to create positive change in the world.  I want to do my part to make the world a better place, where each of us can be recognized, welcomed, included, and respected equally.  How I get there is yet to be determined. I have no set path that I feel a need to take.  Whatever field or industry I end up in, I will try to position myself for my long-term goal.

I had a conversation this weekend with someone about my goals/career path.  I shared that I sometimes wonder whether a MBA was the right choice.  Perhaps I should have pursued a degree in higher education so that I continue my work on student engagement and university development.  There is no right or wrong answer and I am committed to the MBA.  Hopefully, the business world will provide me the opportunities I seek.  And who knows – I could return to higher education sometime in the future.  The path leads in many directions.

In case you were wondering, the title of this post is a line from “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas.  It is a great song that offers opportunity for reflection on one’s place in life.  As I consider my experiences with the Diversity and Unity Retreat, I am well aware that my path is in flux.  The fact that I graduate with two degrees and have to move to the next stage in my life in ~13 weeks is still surreal to me.  Just as I offered opportunities for thought and reflection to event participants, I reflect on my own privileges and opportunities.  Hopefully, I am able to engage and challenge myself to use them for positive outcomes in the years to come.

Quote #22 – Friendship

I realized that I have not posted any quotes on here recently, so here goes:

“Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.”

– G. Randolf

I find this quote to be incredibly relevant to my life right now as I finish college and look to a future job and living location.  I have been reconnecting with old friends and making new friends, some of whom I most certainly hope to keep well into the future.  This complicates my life decision regarding living location/job but I have to trust that my memories will always remain and the relationships will continue to be built, regardless of geographic proximity.