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In The Spotlight: The Job Hunt
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MPACE Member Spotlight – June 2015
Q&A Session Featuring Margaret Paulin, Northrop Grumman Corporation




You’ve been a member of MPACE for some time now, what do you think is the greatest benefit that MPACE has been able to provide for an employer, such as Northrop Grumman?

The greatest benefit is the access to employers and college members and the opportunities to learn about trends and best practices in the University Relations and Recruiting (UR&R) field.

In your role as a recruiter at Northrop Grumman, what are two pieces of job-seeking advice you would give to an about-to-graduate student?


I would tell new graduates and interns not to sell themselves short; include relevant project work or leadership experiences on their resumes. Students have to understand that the employer expects them to be able to articulate and transfer what they are doing in school into the work arena.  

For an organization like Northrop Grumman, how important is it that colleges and universities utilize associations such as MPACE to better connect their students with prospective employers?

I feel it is very important to not only join, but get actively involved in professional organizations like MPACE. This is a way to stay current in the field and make new connections that you can leverage, as appropriate.

What is the best or most surprising thing that you have learned from your time and work with MPACE?

As a volunteer organization, I would have to say that MPACE provides the opportunity for “hands-on training” for emerging leaders in the career services and UR&R fields.  I have seen members blossom into leadership roles.

In your opinion, what are a couple of the typical barriers that recent college graduates face as they step out of college and into the professional realm?

Those entering the world of work have to understand that performance and image are keys to being successful and will ultimately lead to exposure and advancement. Additionally, don’t be afraid to take on opportunities that you may not feel qualified for. If you meet the basic requirements, you are qualified. Most organizations will invest in your growth and provide the leadership and guidance that you’ll need to succeed.

How do you think MPACE can help better prepare colleges and universities for the workplace expectations their students will face upon graduation?

Continue to sponsor roundtables and employer site tours for college members so they can see first-hand what employers have to offer their students.

If there were one thing that you wished every college graduate knew before they started work at Northrop Grumman, what would it be?

Be open to change, be ready to be an innovator and test the boundaries of advanced technology, and embrace stretch assignments that may include relocating to another part of the country.

One of the best things about an organization like MPACE is the ability for colleges and universities to network and connect with employers; how do you think MPACE could better fulfill this opportunity on the employer’s side?

This is a tough question; attracting more employers is important and is easier said than done; perhaps MPACE hosts an employer only session and/or bring in a speaker or panel from the university side to better understand the unique challenges college members face. Or hosts a session of employers vs. career services professionals to express each other’s views on topics of mutual interest and generate good honest dialogue.

In your experience, what have you found to be the most challenging thing about working in the University Relations and Recruiting field? 

For many years, Northrop Grumman has been a leader in global security and advanced technology, and because of that we have been able to attract highly skilled talent, particularly in the technical fields. In recent years our competition for those highly skilled technical candidates has shifted. It used to be only aerospace and defense companies we were competing with, but now our industry competes with everyone especially in the software, cyber and computer science fields. We are still offering very fulfilling and challenging opportunities, but now candidates, especially the top ones, have more options.

In your work with Northrop Grumman, what do you think is the one thing a newly recruited employee could do to better prepare himself or herself for work on the first day?

I would advise him or her to be very professional; come dressed for success, don’t show up late on your first day, be well rested, and be open to listening and learning.

If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of professional advice, what would it be?  

I would identify and connect with mentors and sponsors regularly; they are important to one’s growth and development.

Margaret Paulin is a University Relations Specialist at Northrop Grumman Corporation.  She can be reached at margaret.paulin@ngc.com.  You can also find her at www.linkedin.com/pub/margaret-paulin/2/361/299


This Spotlight article was compiled by Josh Netzer of the MPACE Communications Committee.  Josh is a faculty member and Portland Experience Program Manager at University 

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