In January, NECO hosted its first Career Symposium aimed to provide networking opportunities and workshops for success post-graduation. The AOSA trade show set up booths in one section of the school where students and residents had the chance to talk to representatives from Walmart, Alcon, Luxottica, VSP, Volk Optical, Optos and more. I went from booth to booth to talk to representatives from each company to discuss new graduate opportunities. For example, I learned that optometrists who are affiliated with Walmart may participate in a mentorship program, where students are paired up with an optometrist to learn more about the business in practice. At the Luxottica booth, we learned about the different work environments and leases or subleases that optometrists can hold at their various practices. Service booths displayed new technology as well, where we could run demonstrations with their latest developments.
Aside from the trade show, three workshops were held for students. The first one I attended was “Ace Your Interview” by Victoria LoCascio, President of Ace Your Interview and acclaimed Boston interviewing professional. Victoria provided a step-by-step guide of things you can do to prepare for before, during, and after an interview. She also gave us great advice about how to handle certain questions and how to focus on stories about yourself that exemplify our character and skills in a business setting. As a third year student, I did not realize how quickly the need for understanding the interviewing process has crept up on us, especially when we have all begun studying for Boards and focused on that. I was nervous walking in, but Victoria hit on key points and I walked out with a useful packet of tips and a less hazy idea of what interviewing will be like.
The next workshop was “Branding You and Your Practice,” featuring David Pride, President of Social Impressions, Inc. David’s stories were fantastic. He had a personal story for every social media tip, and I was surprised as to how well they all flowed together. Not only did David cover how to clean up the social media accounts that we all presumably have, he also went over the future of social media, the direction that businesses are headed in, and how to get involved in the process. His talk was a helpful starter kit on how to advertise for anyone interested in owning their own practice.
“A Resume is Just a Piece of Paper” by Kelley Dadah, certified CV, resume writer, and professional coach, was the last workshop I attended at the symposium. I remember every resume workshop I attended in my undergraduate years covered the most important point of not exceeding one page. It seemed to be the only part of a resume extremely emphasized by everyone, so it was a nice change to see how to change the format of my resume to better fit one of a graduate student. Kelley also provided a good step-by-step guide of how to update our undergraduate-ridden resumes with examples of several resumes as well.
When I talked to representatives in my first year, I felt pretty clueless about where I was headed in the future. But speaking to them now in my third year, I felt much more comfortable and it eased my into the thinking about my impending future career. I know there are many opportunities out there, and with the overwhelming amount of advice I received from the workshops, I don’t feel as lost about how to handle the next step.
Tiffany is a third year student at New England College of Optometry. Born and raised in Maryland, she graduated from the University of Maryland in both Biological Sciences and Psychology. Her initial interest in optometry stems from shadowing and working in practices that provide vision therapy.