As the Director of Undergraduate Career Education and Outcomes at Bentley University, Alyssa Hammond uses a curriculum built on finding students’ strengths to help undergrads find their career path. In addition to being a career services professional with over 20 years of experience in higher education, Alyssa is a lawyer, a certified Strengths Coach, and host of the podcast, ‘Counter Offer’. She has also taught upper level courses about business and social media at Bentley.
Alyssa explains the importance of intentional volunteering as a way to network and gain valuable experience. “What I tell my students is this — about volunteering—volunteering opens closed doors of opportunity in a way that nothing else will.”
Tune in to hear how Alyssa’s volunteering solidified her place in her passion career on the Find Your Passion Career Podcast!
With a little push from her parents, Alyssa knew by age eleven that she wanted to go to law school. At Syracuse, she took every class, internship, and mentorship required. Alyssa was on the crew team, active in her sorority, and was an editor for her school newspaper. All in an effort to get to the next steps: Law school and ultimately become partner in a law firm.
Alyssa loved every second of it. She loved the learning, leaving her comfort zone to try new things, and she loved having a sense of accomplishment. So when her goals ultimately materialized, how long do you think she lasted in her first position at a Boston law firm?
Just 18 months. Alyssa discovered very quickly was that her positive attitude conflicted with the realities of being a divorce lawyer.
“Failure is good, resilience is great, grit is awesome”
Alyssa took the initiative to go to her alma mater, New England Law, and ask the admissions office if they could use some help. Sure enough the director was just about to ask a temp agency for help because they were under staffed. Even though Alyssa was doing low-level work, she knew the experience was what was most valuable.
“I did what my father told me to do, which was make yourself indispensable and they’ll never want you to leave and that’s what I did,” said Alyssa.
While temping in the financial aid department when a position in career services became available. Alyssa was able to prove through past experience that she was more than capable and willing to take on the role. Within the same amount of time it took her to realize she hated being a lawyer, Alyssa took that same 18-month time frame and became Director of Career Services at her law school.
“It was the most amazing transformation and it all came through because I was willing to put myself out there and volunteer,” said Alyssa.
Currently as the Director of Undergraduate Career Education and Outcomes at Bentley University, Alyssa’s passion is helping undergrads who are searching for the reason WHY they’re following their career path, and directing them towards a profession that aligns with their passions.
One piece of advise Alyssa drives home with all of her students is the importance of informational interviewing, networking, and above all intentional volunteering.
“Most people will not turn away free help.”
Alyssa’s metaphor for the value of networking lies in her uncanny ability to crush it in the classic game of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Wait, what? Yes, tune in to see how she gets from James Van Der Beek to Kevin Bacon on the spot.
If you don’t know how to achieve your passion career, consider your passion career is your “Kevin Bacon.” In other words, I challenge you to reach out to at least one person a day and set up an informational interview. After all that intentional networking, before you know it, you’ll be connecting to your “Kevin Bacon.”
Once you’re inspired by Alyssa’s story we would love to read your review. Thanks so much!