Westminster Network in Action
Westminster Network in Action: A strong recommendation can help get your foot in the door
by Lily Wolfe (’18)
Hannah Williams (’16) and Stephanie Tobey (’98, MBA ’00) first met at Hannah’s job interview in the Community Development and Affairs Department at Zions Bank. The department was looking to fill a position, so Stephanie reached out to the Westminster Alumni Relations office to ask for recommendations and passed them on to the director of community development, who was the hiring manager.
“Thanks to the partnership we’ve built over the years, the alumni office knew what type of candidate would be successful in our department,” Stephanie says. “They encouraged Hannah to apply.”
While there will never be a substitute for a strong skillset, a network can be very helpful in facilitating the process of applying for a new job and securing an interview.
“The recommendation helped me get an interview, while my Westminster education ensured that I landed the job,” Hannah recalls.
Stephanie recounted her experience finding a job post-graduation and said there were instances where positions were filled before they were even advertised. “I saw many postings I was qualified for but didn’t know anyone within that organization,” Stephanie says. “A personal connection is often needed to make your candidacy stand out against other qualified applicants.”
As a student, Hannah attended many Westminster alumni events, such as Westmixer and Take a Griffin to Lunch. Mingling with alumni and potential bosses might seem intimidating, but the alumni at these events want to speak with you about your career.
Westmixer is an event designed to help alumni meet new people and expand their network.
“We’ve all attended Westminster,” Stephanie says. “Most of us are more than willing to help fellow alums in discovering their career paths. They just need to ask.”
When looking to build your network, Stephanie suggests first reaching out to alumni on social media outlets like LinkedIn and Facebook, and then joining designated groups such as MBA Alumni, MPC Alumni, etc. Stephanie encourages alumni to pay close attention to special events that allow opportunities to meet fellow alumni and advocates seeking volunteer opportunities that allow you to expand your skillset and improve your résumé.
Stephanie, who has worked in the same department at Zions Bank for the last 15 years, is vice president and community development administrator. Hannah joined Zions Bank as a community reinvestment act specialist in June 2016.
About the Westminster Review
The Westminster Review is Westminster University’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.