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Humboldt State University
Letter from Humboldt

February 2015

Forever Humboldt teamed up with the Depot to bring treats to students before fall finals

Forever Humboldt teamed up with the Depot to bring treats to students before fall finals.

In this issue

Putting Your Best Foot Forward Parent Reception Recap Overheard on the Network Latest News from Campus Show You Care with a Gift Package Diploma Display Featured Photo Upcoming Events

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

College is the perfect time to explore your career options. Whether it’s applying for a summer internship, or crafting the perfect resume, there are plenty of opportunities to get your foot in the door. We sat down with Will Smiley (’97, Psychology)—Director of Talent Acquisition at Genentech, a San Francisco-based biotechnology company—for some tips on how students can maximize their career success.


"One of best things you can do is get experience," says Smiley. Which is why he encourages students to spend at least two out of their three summers interning—in a variety of industries. "If you're a scientist you might want to intern at a pharmaceutical or biotech company one summer and at a hospital or non-profit the next," Smiley says. "The important thing is to try both," he says. "That way you can find out what you really like."

Genentech also offers a competitive, paid summer internship program for undergraduate and graduate students in a variety of majors. Smiley encourages anyone interested to personal message him on LinkedIn at

Network, Network, Network

If you haven’t yet, Smiley recommends creating a profile on LinkedIn, the business-oriented social networking site. It’s quick, free and particularly useful for college students looking to enter the workforce, he says.

After signing up, Smiley suggests searching the site for HSU alums by industry and location of choice. Whether it’s graphic design in Portland or grassroots organizing in Washington, D.C., the goal is to make a connection. From there, Smiley says, send a personal message saying you’re interested in their field of work. Tell them you’re available to meet and interested in getting general career advice. Networking can lead to unexpected opportunities that you wouldn’t have uncovered otherwise.

Stand Out

The resume is your opportunity to shine, Smiley says. For certain positions—especially those that require a particular academic background—resumes begin to look the same to hiring managers, Smiley says. “If you’re applying to a job where 30 people have the same coursework, major and G.P.A. as you, including something at the end of your resume about your personal interests can make you stand out,” he says. In fact, a short line noting your marathon running obsession or community volunteer work could mean the difference between your resume being tossed aside and moved to the top of the pile, Smiley says.

A word of caution: he recommends exercising some discretion when it comes to which hobbies you list. If you’re an avid Halo gamer, for example, you might be better off leaving that out, he says, as many students have this interest in common. Focus on differentiating yourself and your personal brand.

Practice Interviewing

So you’ve caught the eye of a hiring manager and now it’s time for the interview. What to do? Practice, practice, practice, Smiley says.

Behavioral based interviewing—where job seekers are asked to describe situations in which they displayed certain skills and attributes—is becoming more and more common. And it can be difficult, Smiley says, because it requires interviewees to recall past experiences on the spot, which can be nerve-wracking during an already-stressful job interview.

To prepare, Smiley suggests doing a quick Google search of behavioral based interview questions, and answering each question one-by-one. “You may want to write out the answers, think them through or answer them verbally,” Smiley says. Practice for 3-4 hours, using whatever learning style is best for you. “You’ll be happy you did.”

Will Smiley

Will Smiley (’97, Psychology) is Director of Talent Acquisition at Genentech, a San Francisco-based biotechnology company with 13,800 employees. Smiley manages a team of 30 people responsible for finding and staffing 3,600 new hires—about 400 of them interns—a year. Find him online at Listen to him share interview advice during his Backpacks to Briefcases webinar, hosted by Humboldt State.

Parent Reception

Thanks to all the parents who attended our parent receptions this fall—and a special thanks to all of you who helped host them. We’re still looking for volunteers to organize parties this spring. Connect with other HSU parents and learn what to expect when your student comes home from college. If you’re interested, contact us at (707) 826-3132 or

Fall parent and family social Saturday, Dec. 6 in Newbury Park, Calif.

Overheard on the Network

“Hi all! I’m considering taking a different route from Orange County up to Arcata next time to visit my son. I was thinking of maybe flying to Redding then driving over the Hwy 299 from there to Arcata. Has anyone ever driven this rode?”

» Join the conversation
» Parents & Family network
» Parents & Family website

Latest News from Campus

HSU One of the Friendliest Colleges in the Nation

A Birdhouse Tribute

New Police Chief Starts at HSU

Giving to HSU Reaches Near-Record $7 million in 2013-14

Show You Care with A Gift Package

Make your student feel special with a gift package from Our Campus Market. HSU has teamed up with to deliver care packages directly to your student for final exams, holidays and when they simply need some extra motivation. Filled with all the goodies you know they’ll love, there’s a package for every student and every occasion.

» Order at

Diploma Display

Is your student graduating soon? Display their achievement with a customized diploma frame. Diploma Display offers handcrafted frames made from hardwood molding in a beautiful cherry color. Your student’s diploma frame is exclusively designed for HSU and comes with a 100 percent money-back guarantee. Visit Diploma Display for more information.

Introducing Forever Humboldt

We know that alumni are hardly alone as passionate supporters of the university, so we’ve created Forever Humboldt, a new incarnation of the Alumni Association. It’s free for all Humboldt alumni, students, parents & families, faculty, and staff. Join today to stay connected, show your pride, and support HSU.

Visit to register for free, receive email updates, get a membership card, and more.

Featured Photo

saying bye on move-in day
Fall 2014 Grad Reception.

» For more HSU photos, visit Flickr

Upcoming Events

Feb. 11-12
Peace Corps Information Session

Feb. 12
Career Expo & Volunteer Fair

Feb. 16
The Avett Brothers

Feb. 17
Outstanding Professor Lecture

Feb. 26
Women’s and Men’s Basketball: UC San Diego @ Humboldt State

March 27
Sustainability and Green Investments Social

May 16

» More events on the HSU Events Calendar

» Important campus phone numbers
» Send us your ideas and comments on the newsletter.

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