College of Architecture + The Arts

Florida International University
College of Architecture + The Arts

Modesto A. Maidique Campus
Paul L. Cejas School of Architecture Building
11200 SW 8th Street Miami, Florida 33199

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My First Job with Leadership Connect in Washington, D.C.

Name: Madalyn Medrano

Hometown: Homestead, FL

Degree/Major: Double Major in Communication Arts: Organizational Communication and Political Science. Certificate in National Security Studies.

Where are you working? Title?
I’m working in Washington, DC at Leadership Connect as an Associate Content Manager for the Federal Team. Leadership Connect is a government technology information system that has the most up-to-date information on decision-makers ranging from the federal, state, and local government to law firms, non-profits, courts, etc..

How did you get your job?
I interned in DC during my last semester of college – so I was able to network with a ton of people in the city. From then, I learned valuable lessons from the kind of work I want to be doing in certain fields, to the work that I didn’t like – which is also a valuable lesson. By networking and meeting with my mentors, I learned about useful tools and websites that posted jobs and internships. I applied to my current position on Indeed, however, I believe that the preparation I had from the team at the FIU in DC office really taught me patience as it took me a couple of months to land my first job after graduating.

What was your greatest fear going into your first job and how did you face it or overcome it?
I was interviewing for many jobs for months before landing my current job. One of the biggest things I wanted from my first job was a great work environment that promoted professional and personal growth. I didn’t want to settle for a company that didn’t want to invest in their employees. I made sure to ask about work culture and challenges in the workplace to really get a sense of how the company was like, which was insightful.

What surprised you the most about your first job?
My first job’s work culture surprised me the most. My company has a good range of ages, I was surprised to find a handful of recent college grads, which makes socializing after work events that much better. The work environment is a good balance between professional and laid back, which I love.

What advice do you have for those beginning the job search process?
For those that are soon to be graduates, it’s quite difficult to get the “perfect job” right after college. If you’re not completely sure about what you want to pursue, be open-minded when searching for job postings. I went on coffee dates with professionals in my field that gave me insightful advice regarding the job market in D.C., which was so helpful when deciding what kind of companies to apply to. Also, as tedious as cover letters are, it’s really what sets you apart from the rest of the applicants who did not submit one. It’s easier for a recruiter to imagine how your skills/experience are applicable to the position through it.

What does a day on the job look like?
Since I’m still in my training, most of my responsibilities deal with reading a ton of current news on federal agencies that I’ve been assigned to. This means scanning through hundreds of press releases to catch any information that might need to be updated in our database. I have daily training meetings to learn more about the complexity of my company’s database. Once I’m done with training, there’s more routine established with expectations so I’m enjoying this learning opportunity now.

How does your job connect back to your coursework?
I work on the federal team collecting data on the federal government that follows federal CIOs, departments and agency heads. My degree in political science gave me a strong foundation of American politics, yet I do believe I lacked application in the sense that I studied theories in class more than current events. Regarding my second major in communication, I’m grateful to have taken courses in business communication with great professors (shout out to Cindy Carrico!) for the interpersonal skills I use when networking in the nation’s capital.

How has your transition from school to work? How do you balance your time?
I was super involved on campus and usually took five classes any given semester so I’m really enjoying the free time I have now. I used to time block in college when I had many assignments to complete so I’ve started that habit again as I delved into new projects. It is quite peculiar being out of the student mentality though!

What’s been the coolest thing about your job so far?
It’s really cool to have my office be in downtown D.C. where I can walk to historical buildings (including the White House that’s two blocks away) and eat my lunch. Most of my colleagues are recent college graduates like me so it’s been great going to the rooftop after work for a nice happy hour. Also, employee benefits are great! We love health insurance and 401k plans!

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