McDow Preps Students for the Job Hunt

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Amelia Pavlik
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Finding a job is a lot like dating a company. That’s how Lauren McDow explains job hunting to students.

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Finding a job is a lot like dating a company. That’s how Lauren McDow explains job hunting to students. 

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Finding a job is a lot like dating a company. That’s how Lauren McDow explains job hunting to
students.        

“I feel like I do a lot of relationship coaching in my job,” said McDow, a corporate relations manager in the Scheller College of Business. “Most students initially think only of employers who post jobs on campus, but I want them to pursue industries that excite them, regardless of whether those companies are actively recruiting here. But students can’t do that by emailing an executive to ask about internships. I try to get them to understand that sending a cold email asking for an internship to the vice president of a company is kind of like asking a person you just met in a bar to marry you — it’s too much too soon.”

McDow, who earned her bachelor’s from Scheller, oversees career programs for undergraduate students, which includes teaching a one-hour required weekly career course to students.  

“In addition to teaching them how to build relationships, I do a lot of critiquing of resumes and cover letters,” she said. “I’ve learned that if you just stand in front of the class and tell them how to format a resume, it goes in one ear and out the other.”

So, students spend a lot of time revising these documents, sometimes over and over again, until McDow thinks they’ve got the hang of things.

“I won’t just mark what’s right and wrong, and give the resume back with a grade,” she said. “I want the focus to be on improving — and having the skills that actually get them a job — not on just getting a good grade.”

Read on for more about McDow and her time at Georgia Tech.

What did you want to be when you were a child?
A vet. I loved animals and helping them. But at some point I realized that I’d rather play with puppies than operate on them.

How did you arrive in your position at Tech?
When I graduated from Tech in 2003, I thought about trying to work here. But I ended up taking a job in the corporate world instead. I was responsible for managing strategic corporate giving programs and relationships with ChoicePoint’s nonprofit clients. In 2007, my current position opened up, and I decided it was time for a change. I love that in this job I get to enjoy everything I loved about Tech as a student — and get a paycheck!

What is the most satisfying part of your job?
It’s when students tell me about their positive job hunting results. As I mentioned before, I wouldn’t recommend that a student email a vice president and ask for an internship. But I do encourage students to reach out to leaders to set up informational meetings to express interest in companies. I’ve had so many students tell me that they never would have thought an executive would have time to meet with them but that the conversation ultimately led to a job opportunity.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?  
Seeing students who are capable of excelling at things like time management, interviewing, and other life skills not seem to care about improving in these areas. But all I can do is encourage them to take the time to hone these skills and show them the resources available to help them do so.

What is one piece of technology you can’t live without?
It would have to be LinkedIn. Part of my job is connecting students and companies. So, when a student expresses an interest in a company, I can just look at my network to see if there is a person at the organization I can connect the student to.  

Where is your favorite spot on campus?
The top of Tech Tower. That’s where my husband, Randy, who is also a Tech graduate, proposed.

What are a few things every employee should do while working at Tech?
Eat in a dining hall, attend a homecoming event (especially the Mini 500 race), and attend the When the Whistle Blows ceremony.

Where is your favorite place to have lunch?
I love a burrito at Moe’s on Mondays.

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Lauren McDow, Scheller College of Business
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  • Created By: Amelia Pavlik
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Mar 14, 2014 - 12:06pm
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:16pm