Monday, October 19, 2015

Alumni Guest Blogger: Benjamin Howe-Maintaining Your Professional Network

GSPIA Career Services is proud to present a NEW feature to our blog: alumni guest posts! 

Our first featured blogger is Benjamin Howe (MPIA '98).

Mr. Howe has worked as a Senior Management Analyst in the Bedford (MA) Audit Operations Division of the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) since January 2009. Since joining the VA OIG, he has worked on several audits and reviews of VA programs and operations. Prior to joining the VA OIG, he spent five years working at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in the agency’s Boston Field Office. While at GAO, he focused on issues related to natural resources and the environment, including reviews of EPA’s lead in drinking water regulations and Federal efforts to address the health effects of exposure to indoor mold. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Spanish from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, and a Master’s Degree in Public and International Affairs from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at University of Pittsburgh. Benjamin is a native of Manchester, NH.

Maintain Your Professional Network
By Benjamin Howe

When I was offered the opportunity to write a blog for GSPIA Career Services, the first topic that came to mind was networking and its value to my career development.  I graduated from GSPIA in 1998.  Since then, I have been able to identify opportunities mostly because of my contacts.  Friends from previous jobs, graduate school, college, and even high school have provided me with invaluable advice and support that have helped me to successfully advance my career.  This support has included insights into a position I was applying for, or feedback on a resume I prepared for a particular job opening.

How can you successfully maintain your professional network?  It takes work, but there are a number of ways you can keep in contact with people that were not available when I graduated from GSPIA.  Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms offer easy ways to keep in contact with your former classmates or coworkers.  Visiting somewhere?  See if any of your former classmates or coworkers are in town and schedule some time for a coffee or a meal to catch up with them.

Do what it takes to maintain your professional network.  You will not regret it.  You never know which of your contacts will be able to help you make that next step in your career. 

Best of luck in your pursuits!