Career Contessa

This article was written with the assistance of Berkeley Women in Business’s Communications Committee member, Paige Vogenthaler.

Career Contessa is an online platform that showcases profiles of successful women. Its goal is to guide career-driven millennial women to effective changes and progressions in their respective occupations. On Wednesday, February 13, 2014, in line with Berkeley Women in Business‘s (BWIB) goal of empowering women on campus to pursue their career and entrepreneurial aspirations, the organization hosted a talk featuring Career Contessa’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Lauren McGoodwin.

Lauren Goodwin speaking to BWIB members and guests
Lauren Goodwin speaking to BWIB members and guests

McGoodwin shared her personal story with the event’s attendees; discussing details about her plans and dreams from when she was in college, to graduation, to her current role as a University Recruiter for Hulu. As a millennial, she was surrounded by a generation of women who took initiative, knew what they wanted, and reached for it. However, it wasn’t always easy. McGoodwin wanted a lot of things, just like her fellow millennials. Nonetheless, reaching success and happiness is not as simple as solving some X+Y algebraic equation. She did not lack ambition, but felt she could use some sense of direction.

In response, she started looking into the successes of other women to seek inspiration and examples for insights on her career aspirations. It was while writing her master’s thesis on Millennial Women that she discovered the reasons behind the roadblocks involved in women’s attempts to move forward with their career paths. She realized that the struggles came from unmet expectations, which thus translates into discouragement and feeling lost as women explore their potential for personal and professional advancements.

McGoodwin introduces Career Contessa to BWIB members
McGoodwin introduces Career Contessa to BWIB members

McGoodwin has invested much of her time conducting informational interviews with professionals to discover the right career. To assist other women like her, she has founded Career Contessa in order to initiate realistic conversations via stories of women and the direction, inspiration, and information that have played roles in their successes.

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The path to success isn’t easy, but there are people and other resources to help you along the way!

Lauren McGoodwin suggests trying informational interviews to get ahead. Below are some of her tips for transitioning from a student into an empowered professional.

1.    Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

When you ask successful professionals for career advice, you are giving them compliments! Don’t be shy when asking professionals about their experiences and their compliments.

2.    Do Your Research

Don’t go into an information interview not knowing anything about the profession. Asking, “so what’s it like to be an accountant” seems lazy because general information can be googled. Instead find more intuitive and time worthy questions to ask your professional.

3.    Prepare Your Questions

Following from the previous point, you should have a rehearsed list of questions ready before the interview.

4.    Keep It Short

Be respectful that the interviewee is taking time out of his or her day to help you. Try to keep the informational interview between 20 and 30 minutes.

5.    Cement the Connection

Follow up after the meeting with a thank you email. Also, feel free to keep in touch with this professional. He or she may even become your mentor!

The path to success isn’t easy, but there are people and other resources to help you along the way!

Go to Career Contessa’s webpage here: http://careercontessa.com

Denice Sy
Class of 2014

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