You Have to Start Somewhere: A Powerful Journey to Career Success

Elena is a highly resilient woman. As a Russian immigrant and military spouse, she has achieved success through endurance, persistence, and hard work. Elena graduated from Walden University with a MS in Psychology. Her Walden experience helped her overcome many challenges and inspired her to make a difference in the lives of severely abused children and adolescents.

Shortly before immigrating to Kentucky from Eastern Europe, Elena lost her husband who was killed while serving in Iraq. While coping with grief and adjusting to her new country, she enrolled in a local BS in Psychology program and sought volunteer opportunities at a VA hospital. After completion of her BS, she “wanted to try something new” and heard from her friends that online education helped students become more organized and responsible. At this point, Elena enrolled in the MS in Psychology program at Walden and started looking for full-time positions in her field. She tried applying for positions at health departments, but received no response. She then took a proactive approach and contacted Walden University Career Services for assistance with her job search.

Career Services helped Elena expand her career options and target positions that were more aligned with her qualifications. The resources she received helped her research entry-level positions at nonprofit organizations. She also referred to the Career Services Center website for cover letter and resume samples, and worked with a Career Services Advisor to prepare for interviews. After extensive preparation and research, she submitted an application to a nonprofit working with abused children and youth, aced her interview, and got hired for a Youth Counselor position.

The following factors contributed to Elena’s success in the application process:

• She created a targeted resume using resources on the Career Services website, and provided a personal touch to her cover letter by including a quote from Anna Freud about abused children. Her employer was impressed by the quality of her materials.

• She dressed professionally by wearing a suit and researched the organization and position prior to the interview.

 • She emphasized her Walden University experience, transferable skills from completing a graduate program (knowledge, organizational skills, responsibility, etc.) and her exceptional GPA.

What advice does Elena have for other Walden students who are trying to break into the Psychology field? Start gaining experience early through volunteering, establish strong networking relationships with students and faculty, and be willing to consider entry level positions that may provide valuable skills and experience. As a Youth Counselor, she received CPR training, Safety and Crisis Management training, and hands-on experience working with challenging populations. Elena plans to continue her career in Psychology with her new knowledge and skills, and looks forward to future challenges.

Written by Career Services Advisor Dina Bergren

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