World of Work: Ali Peterson ‘07, Shakespeare Theatre Company

Ali Peterson'Ali Peterson ‘07
Corporate Giving Manager
Shakespeare Theatre Company –
Washington, D.C.
Major: Zoology/Political Science
Graduate Program: Masters of Business Administration, The George Washington University

How would you describe what you do on a typical day?

A typical day is hard to come by in my line of work, we are constantly trying to stay ahead of the curve and be innovative in our approach to our work. On the most basic level I am a fundraiser. I work to research, develop and nurture relationships between our theatre company and corporations interested in partnering with us. My work requires me to keep a close eye on business press, stay on top of the needs of our partners and manage their benefits. I also help to plan major events and strategically advance our relationships with members of Congress.

What motivates you to go to work everyday?

The Shakespeare Theatre Company is a Tony award winning professional theatre company producing and presenting world-class performances of classical shows. The quality of the artistic work inspires me but I am more motivated by the way in which we are able to reach audiences. We go into every DC public school and teach kids how to embrace classical texts. We bring students into our theatre to interact with performers, designers and directors. We offer free performances every summer to people of all income levels and abilities. We do theatre for everyone, to challenge our audiences’ minds and lift their spirits.

What three words would describe your work environment?

Collaborative. Creative. Fun. 

Tell us about your path to this position.

I absolutely did not expect to have this job when I was an undergrad at UVM. After graduation I moved to DC to seek a job in Senator Patrick Leahy’s office. I secured a position as a scheduler in his personal office and did that for two years. I then worked on energy policy for over a year and finally, worked as a press secretary for nearly two years. All told, I spent five and a half years with the Senator and learned a great deal about what I want and don’t want for my career. I learned that I want to work at the intersection of arts and business and I found a way to do that by returning to school and working part-time at the Shakespeare Theatre Company on the side of my work in the Senate.

What advice do you have for students searching for jobs or internships in your field?

Great fundraisers are needed by organizations of all shapes and sizes, if you have an interest in fundraising work I suggest you read everything you can on current trends and practices, take informational interviews with people working in the field, and know the specific demands of the industry you are most interested in. Also, if possible gather some information or develop an understanding of the financial position of the company you are interested in working for.

Including Relevant Coursework on Your Resume

Futurama Fry Meme with Text- 'THIS IS RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS'

Choosing the content for a resume can be difficult beside sections such as your name and contact information, “Education” and some form of “Relevant Experience”. A section to consider including is “Relevant Coursework” for the following reasons:

Listing rigorous classes under “Relevant Coursework” can exhibit traits such as “hardworking”, “determination, “strong work ethic” and many more that cannot be explicitly stated in a resume. Relevant Coursework describes the knowledge and extent of technical skills. Another use of this section includes filler; if you cannot quite fill up one full page for a resume, relevant coursework can help you get there.

Now, the mechanics of relevant coursework consist of formatting and placement/priority. There are two formatting options: list and bullet point. Choosing between the two is a matter of preference, but the bullet point format with two columns is usually preferred as it optimizes space and is easy to decipher. I would suggest listing between 4 to 8 relevant class titles, not course numbers since class numbers do not mean anything outside the University.

Placement or priority of a relevant coursework section should be taken seriously. The ideal location for Relevant Coursework is a separate section beneath Education or a subsection of Education, as it flows better between sections.

These are the most effective approaches for a Relevant Coursework section. I hope you feel prepared to incorporate your own Relevant Coursework section into your resume.

~Randall, Career Peer Advisor

Empowering Women Empowers EVERYONE

Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox

When you think of a company’s “ethics,” what comes to mind? Sustainability? Fair trade? While these are important, let’s talk about an ethical issue that everyone has a stake in: gender equity.. In the US, women earn more than 50% of the graduate degrees, and yet they only hold a small percentage of the highest paying positions. This is not only an issue of fairness, but an issue of economics. That’s right, companies with more women in power succeed. In fact, they do better than companies with male-dominated executive boards.

On this note, when you are choosing a company to work for, do a little research and ask these questions:

1.)   Does the company offer opportunities for women to be promoted? Do they adamantly encourage women to do so?

2.)   Does the company have a committee/ task force dedicated to diverse hiring practices? Do they consider hiring women a business imperative?

3.)   Does the company engage in regular data, policy, and practice review in the area of gender equity? Similarly, do they have an annual goal for the number of women they hire?

Not every facet of this issue can be discussed in a short blog post. But the main point is that if you are a female college student/recent graduate entering the workforce, you are likely very qualified. And if you are a non-female college student/recent graduate entering the workforce, you will not lose out by being a part of the fight to empower women. Helping women succeed is not a zero-sum game; everyone wins!

~Sam, Career Peer Advisor

Savvy Seniors: Interviewing

Sailboats on Lake Champlain

Jen Guimaraes
Associate Director
Community Sailing Center

When a student lands an interview, what should they do to prepare?
Students should make sure to do their “homework” on the organization that they are interviewing with. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the entire organization by researching their website and any other information that you can gather about them. Create a list of questions you have about the organization and the position you are applying for. Employers always ask for your questions at the end of the interview process and having a list shows that you did background research and are very interested in the position. Make sure to dress appropriately, show up on time, and be professional in your communication (word choice and email style) with the prospective employer.

You must interview a lot of applicants for the Community Sailing Center, what makes a candidate stand out?
A candidate stands out if they are energetic, upbeat, and already familiar with the organization. Make eye contact with the employer(s) you are interviewing with and give complete answers to their questions, not just one-word responses. You can almost certainly anticipate what questions an employer might ask you based on the position you are applying for, rehearsing your answers ahead of time is always a good idea. Don’t forget to smile!

What questions should candidates be asking you?

I’ve had candidates ask a number of questions: Do I enjoy my job? What is a typical day like for this position? What is the chain of command with direct and indirect supervisors? Are there any additional duties that I will have not included in the job description?

Learn more about opportunities, classes, rentals and more at the Community Sailing Center!

Don’t miss this workshop to learn more! Savvy Seniors: Interviewing Wed., April 10th 4:15pm, L&L E166