Student Spotlight: A Professional Journey with Education at Work

Three years ago, I began my journey working at Education at Work (EAW).

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Three years ago, I began my journey working at Education at Work (EAW). EAW is non-profit customer service outsourcer that has a goal of hiring college students like me and helping them graduate with increased professional skills and less student debt. As a high school senior, I was excited although nervous to begin my new job as a part-time customer service rep taking calls for a national retailer. However, my reservations soon passed and I became confident with any work situation that could arise. After three months in my position, I was promoted to senior associate, which meant I handled call escalations and assisted other agents with questions and issues. After another four months, I became a PRT (program ready trainer), meaning that in addition to my normal responsibilities I assisted in the training and nesting of new student employees. From these experiences I not only learned how to work with many different types of people, but also learned about myself and what I’m passionate about. A year later, I was promoted to my current position of client development representative on EAW’s internal team within the business development department.

Being at an organization like EAW has allowed me to vastly expand my skills and future employability before I graduate. My original responsibility in my current role was to call potential clients and set up introductory calls between them and my team, hopefully leading to a business partnership. While calling has remained at the core of my job function, I have also been involved in other areas, such as networking events, marketing, email campaigns, event planning, social media, software implementation, and university partner development. Within this role I have been given opportunities that many young professionals my age are not able to experience until after they graduate and enter the full-time workforce.

To recognize my efforts at EAW and help develop additional skills, my team manager continues to present me with opportunities to grow and hone my abilities. Most recently, she asked me to develop a comprehensive roadmap for my future at EAW as well as my long-term career.

I am very goal-oriented and not someone who likes to accept mediocrity from myself. So, when I was presented with this assignment, I jumped at the opportunity. Since I already knew where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do, laying out a roadmap came naturally. Some of my bigger asks for my future experience at EAW included attending conferences, being involved in the pricing and proposals to clients, as well as attending site visits at both EAW company locations and potential client offices.

I also outlined, if given the opportunity, I would like to pursue full-time employment at EAW after graduation, and plan to be quickly be accepted into a well-known MBA program to help jump-start my executive career. In particular, I aspire to become a Chief Customer Officer or CEO of a large corporation. I have no doubt that big goals will lead to big achievements, and it all started with my first work experience at EAW.


Ben Self

EAW student-employee for 4-years, started as a customer service agent on a retail program. He has earned $6,000 in tuition assistance through EAW.

Student Spotlight: Creating a Post-Graduation Career Roadmap

Planning for the future and setting professional and personal goals can set you up for success and set you apart from your peers.

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Planning for the future and setting professional and personal goals can set you up for success and set you apart from your peers. Even more so, confidence in strengths, talents, and short and long-term goals are appealing attributes to any employer in today’s competitive professional arena. However, becoming successful at developing professional and personal goals can be challenging and overwhelming. This is often especially true for students or recent graduates who have little experience in the professional world. That’s where roadmapping comes into play. With roadmapping, you can outline ideas and showcase your ability to set realistic and challenging goals – in any aspect of life.

Roadmapping your goals are important - and helpful - because it holds you accountable to planning aspirations and creating a clear representation of how those aspirations will be accomplished. I was first introduced to the idea of roadmapping when I took on the client development representative role at Education at Work, a non-profit in the customer service outsourcing industry that aims to help college students graduate with increased professional skills and less student debt. Shortly after being hired into the department, I was asked to create a roadmap of the goals I held for my time with the company, as well as how would I like to achieve them. When I began roadmapping my future I decided I would highlight four key areas: experiences, accomplishments, career plans, and personal goals. Using this outline, I critically thought about each area, detailing attributes I either possess or want to cultivate.

When I began adding items to each of the four sections, I considered both my current responsibilities and the responsibilities of those above me in my department. I believe this is an excellent strategy because as you develop in a career, new experiences are essential for growth and advancements to occur. For instance, in my current role I am responsible for conducting outbound prospecting calls and securing appointments with potential clients. To achieve this, I reach out to relevant contacts at companies and pitch them our value proposition in attempts to schedule a meeting, which will hopefully lead to them becoming a new client. Oftentimes, the contacts I reach out to are hearing about Education at Work for the first time, so I must establish a relationship and cultivate their interest.


By reflecting on this, I realized that in order to better understand prospective clients, I needed to gain networking skills. So, I included “networking with potential clients and attending conferences” in my roadmap’s “experience” section. Even though this experience is outside of my current immediate responsibilities, gaining it would help me be better at my current role within new client prospecting.

To identify other items for my roadmap, I asked for advice from colleagues. This, as well as shadowing a supervisor on a task of interest, and offering to takeover a supervisor’s menial or simpler tasks, are all ways to gain work experience and help figure out what to add to your roadmap.

When I brought my roadmap to my supervisor, she was excited for the goals I had set and the new experiences I wanted to learn. From my experience, when you tell your supervisor that you are interested in gaining more skills in a particular area, the response is extremely positive! We worked together to formulate an action plan that would implement all of my goals in a timeline best fit for my position. By striving for a goal and setting small tasks to achieve it, I created a perfect strategy for success and growth in my future development. It is never too early to begin the discussion of understanding, shadowing, and learning new responsibilities! This shows immense drive to an employer and displays confidence and drive. Roadmapping has helped me immensely by clarifying and objectifying my goals, and encourages me to strive for future success through directional tasks and plans of action. I’m excited for my future career and grateful to begin my work experience with EAW.


Caitlin Bechtold:

EAW student-employee for 2.5-years, started as a customer service agent on a retail program. She has earned $3,000 in tuition assistance through EAW.