Alignment Success Story, by Sean Barkan

I like this account from Sean because it shows how he took a deliberate action to network, which led directly to an opportunity. He then researched and prepared to score well against an evaluation of his skills, drive and cultural fit.

Congratulations Sean!

Alex Groenendyk

I have been very fortunate to have the experience that I’ve had at UCF. I came in with the attitude of trying to utilize as many resources as possible so that when an opportunity came my way, I would be prepared for it. Using some of the techniques I learned from Alex Groenendyk in his presentations and his on line course ‘The Career Cycle’, I was able to align myself for some incredible opportunities.

As part of a networking strategy Alex recommends joining professional organizations, so in my first semester on campus I joined the American Marketing Association (AMA) at UCF. By attending every meeting, focusing on providing value first, and aligning to their core values, they offered me the position of Executive Vice President.

I was very exited to accept the offer and am now leading the organization towards some ambitious growth goals in the coming semesters. One of my responsibilities as the Executive Vice President is to be a liaison between the professional AMA-Orlando chapter and UCF’s chapter. Through a series of professional lunch and learns, discussion of co-op events via email, and meetings in her office at the agency where she works I feel privileged to have been able to build a great relationship with the President of AMA-Orlando.

When I learned that AMA Orlando was offering a position as a Marketing Intern I immediately let her know that I was extremely interested and as a result she forwarded my application and resume to their COO. It was not long before they invited me to an interview.

Knowing that I would be competing with 8 other applicants for the position, I referred to the Career Cycle lesson on how differentiate myself. Alex talks about how companies evaluate applicants on skills, cultural fit and drive. I felt I had already been able to demonstrate some of my skills and drive through my initiatives with AMA- Orlando. I was confident I would be able to talk about directly relevant examples of the value I could provide. However I decided I needed to work more on appearing to be aligned with the company culture.

I knew that one of their core values was “Show” and one of the founders wrote a book called “Same Is Lame” so I wore a blue suit with a wooden bowtie to subtlety “show” that! Of course you must have substance in terms of skills and drive for what you are applying for, but I had a strong feeling that my competitors had these too. So I attempted to differentiate myself from being ‘one of several good options’ to being ‘the best one’ by also focusing on the cultural fit – specifically how I would fit into their team with some recent examples of team work.

It worked – I got the position!

Sean Barkan

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