At Lehigh, the Human Resources (HR) team supports career development through the Career Enrichment @Lehigh (CE@L) system. The Career Power Lunch series is an eight-part program that offers employees interested particularly in changing positions within the University. Learn more through the stories of two recent participants.
Deb Watlington had been a Budget Analyst in the Budget Office for about seven years when she felt a desire to stretch her wings. She was ready for a new opportunity at Lehigh. She turned to Lehigh HR’s Career Power Lunch series to build skills that would help her navigate the internal search process.
“I attended sessions that covered interviewing, networking, planning, and making use of LinkedIn,” she said.
Two programs in particular stood out for Deb. Through the networking session, she was able meet other employees from different parts of the University and practice skills to use when she interacted with other departments. But the “Possibilities” program proved most beneficial.
“Possibilities covers your career interests and options, and your fit within Lehigh,” Deb explained. “For me this cemented my love of Lehigh and gave me the confidence to apply when an advancement opportunity presented itself.”
Earlier this year, Deb took that leap. She’s now the Business Manager in the College of Education. She’s thrilled to have advanced her career and credits Career Power Lunch with giving her a boost.
Beyond teaching her to create a better LinkedIn profile, though, Deb says what she learned about the University and herself were her key takeaways from the series. “I learned that Lehigh is a wonderful place to work and that I am so glad to be a part of this community.”
Ben Landis was a Gift Officer in the Lehigh Fund for two years when he started considering a change in roles at Lehigh. He registered for four Career Power Lunch sessions. Like Deb he attended the networking and LinkedIn programs, but he also chose the resume workshop and an informational session on the Lehigh salary structure.
“I was pretty strategic in selecting which sessions I wanted to attend,” Ben explained. “I wanted to better myself and my understanding of topics that mattered to me. Free lunch didn't hurt either. “
Not long after, an opportunity to take a step up within his department presented itself and Ben applied with the support of his supervisor and mentors. He says his Career Power Lunch experience was a real plus.
“Understanding the processes in place as an internal candidate helped a great deal and helped keep me calm and confident throughout the process,” he said. “I also learned how important it is to keep one's resume current.”
In July, Ben began his new role as a Major Gifts Officer for the College of Arts and Sciences. He says he really happy with his new position and the work he’s doing, and he encourages other employees to take Career Power Lunch and make use of HR’s resources. Here are his top tips:
- Move to carefully consider your personal ambitions and professional goals and how they may align with the position description of a posted job and the mission of that particular department and the University as a whole
- Lean on your mentors and have open, honest conversations with your supervisor and leadership
- There are great resources and people throughout Lehigh and our HR office who are here to help professionals with the process and determine if it is the right position at the right time.
- Be honest with yourself and what your skill set is and again, communicate with your mentors.