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New Tempe Campus
Professional Development
Career Event
Alumni Spotlight
The Power of Appearances

Volume 3  |  Issue 2

March 2013



The new, consolidated campus for West will be open soon and ready for learning! Students, faculty, and administrators alike are excited about the sleek, state-of-the-art facility, located at 1601 West Fountainhead Parkway in Tempe, Arizona. And who would be better to lead the construction effort than two West alumni? Octavio Mendoza (Director of Design) and Brent Fuller (Director of Construction) both work for the Apollo Group’s Real Estate and Facilities division.


According to design director Octavio Mendoza, the new Tempe campus was built to foster student success in all areas and to create a community of learners. Features of the campus include:
• Cutting edge Learning Resource Center (LRC) with enhanced technology and more areas for academic assistance, collaboration and individual study
• Classrooms all in one building, conveniently located on the first three floors
• State-of-the-art classroom technology
• Coffee bar and cafe with a variety of offerings, including healthy meal options
• Free covered parking

"The new campus is a flexible, functional, collaborative environment created to enhance the West experience for both students and administrators," said Mendoza. "From the layout of the space to the technology configuration, everything is designed to maximize learning, social interaction and collaboration."

Tempe Campus
Tempe Campus


As you venture down your career path, you have a choice. You can go it alone, or you can get help along the way. At West, we believe in the value of getting help with your professional development, and that’s why we offer Fast Track Career Tools on our alumni website. From online resume resources, to one-on-one career coaching, to nationwide job search opportunities, West has tools to help you succeed in today’s competitive job market.


A good place to start: Career Coaching

Whether you’re looking to make a career change or land your first job, a career coach can help with interview tips, skills assessment, networking ideas and more. With West One-on-One Career Coaching, you can get a career planning and guidance session via phone with a professional coach who will help you identify specific resources and strategies for your current job search or long-term career plan and provide feedback on your resume.

A high-tech advantage: Online Career Tools

Online is the new way to your dream job. New online technology allows you to quickly and professionally put together resumes, letters and eFolios and then post them online on your own personal web page. West partners with OptimalResume.com™, which provides these and other highly effective high-tech tools to help give you maximum exposure and expand your professional development capabilities.

A major connection: Online Job Search

Look to the Internet to provide you with a broad view of the job market. The largest career website, Careerbuilder.com™, is a West partner and offers you 24-hour access to customized, nationwide job search opportunities. You can use the site to search and apply for jobs and also post your resume for employers to search. You can even access tips and advice for your professional development, such as how to ask for a referral and what to avoid in a phone interview.

A critical component: Networking

Making connections and building relationships with people are the keys to a successful career. If you don’t have a LinkedIn or other professional networking presence, get one started. You can link up with West on LinkedIn. West also hosts networking and career events like the one in this newsletter (see below). You can also join professional associations and other business groups that offer opportunities for networking.

An ongoing need: Career Education

Job strategies, career paths, industry trends and other factors are constantly changing. It’s important to keep up with these changes, so your own personal plan and strategy stay current. Read articles, take classes and attend career seminars. You’ll find educational opportunities listed on the Fast Track Career Tools page of our alumni site.

career path


When it comes to networking and job interviews, it really helps to have a well-rehearsed pitch about yourself—a short but compelling “elevator pitch” that briefly tells others who you are. Come to the April career event and work with other alumni and West students on crafting your own pitch. This will be a very hands-on, interactive event where you will have the opportunity to use the OptimalResume™ Video Resume Tool and get immediate feedback.

Date: Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Time: 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. (MST)
Western International University
1601 W. Fountainhead Parkway
Room 103
Tempe, Arizona
Bring: Laptop with web cam and headset (if you have them) Presenter: Laura Lee, West Career/Alumni Services Manager Register: laura.lee@west.edu


West Career/Alumni Services Manager Laura Lee will be leading the April 17 event. Below are her answers to questions about the “elevator pitch” topic and the event itself:

How would you define an “elevator pitch?”

It’s a short, persuasive speech that is succinct and compelling to a particular target—just long enough to tell someone you might meet on an elevator. It opens a window for opportunity and reflects one’s personality. Before it’s delivered, it should be carefully planned and well-practiced.

What are the key elements of a successful elevator pitch?

One of the most important things to remember is that your pitch is not just about you—it’s also for the benefit of the person with whom you are speaking. The listener doesn’t just want to hear about how great you are, but also what’s in it for them. When crafting a pitch, you should think about the following:

• What do I want the listener to remember most about me?
• What is my focus?
• Who is my target audience?
• What are the needs of my target audience?
• How can I add value or solve those needs?

Elevator pitches are only successful when used appropriately. They’re perfect for networking, job fairs and for questions such as “Tell me about yourself,” “What do you do?” or “Why should I hire you?” Crafting your pitch requires practice, practice, and more practice. You’ll need to write and rewrite it until you are comfortable with it. Make sure your pitch projects your passion for what you do, and come up with a hook for the beginning to draw your target in.

What should a person avoid in a pitch?

Avoid making it sound dry or canned. You should know your pitch well enough to express your key points. It should sound effortless and conversational. Also avoid jargon and rambling, focusing too much on you, exaggerating, talking too fast, not practicing, not smiling or making eye contact, and not following the lead of the listener. Also, there may be times when you may have to cut your pitch short if the listener is not engaged, so be prepared.

How will the April 17 career event help craft a pitch?

The purpose of this event is to help you become more confident in networking, interviewing and selling your skills by engaging in interactive activities with peers. You should bring your laptop (with a web cam, if possible) and microphone headset. If you are not able to bring these items, don’t worry. Simply bring a pen and paper. Also, be sure to register for and visit the Fast Track Career Tools page on the alumni website to gain access to West OptimalResume prior to the event.

On April 17, you will have an opportunity to practice your pitch by recording it with the West OptimalResume Video Resume Tool. This tool allows you to record your pitch and share it with contacts, prospects and across social networks. West OptimalResume is a complimentary service for all West alumni and students.

crafting your pitch

Accounting Manager
Xerox Business Services
Phoenix, AZ

Yvonne Cockrill was attracted to Western International University for many reasons, particularly the fact that she could start and finish a class in just eight weeks. What she didn’t realize is that West would also provide her with a global perspective that would prove useful in her career.


Why did you decide to go back to school?

I already had my bachelor degree, but I wanted to get my MBA in Management.* I felt like this would give me an edge in any field I wanted.

What did you find most valuable about your West experience?

I really benefited from learning about other cultures. I travel internationally for my job, so I appreciated interacting with students from other countries and hearing about their experiences and perspectives.

Since you travel a lot, was it hard to keep up with your West classes?

Not at all. I could be anywhere in the world and attend a class online. I was leery about online classes at first, but not for long. It was not at all what I expected. It was a virtual classroom with people from everywhere. There were so many people and so much interaction.

What else did you like about West?

There is a real focus on communication and interpersonal skills at West. As a manager, I found this really helpful. I also appreciated that no matter who the instructor was, I always got helpful feedback on my presentations.

Where has your West education taken you, and where do you want to go from here?

I was working in the accounting department at Safeway and went on to be hired as the Internal Controls Manager for Xerox Business Services. I was then promoted to the position of Accounting Manager at Xerox. My goal is to become a Certified Internal Auditor. West emphasizes continuous learning, and after my West experience I have a greater sense of why this is important. I plan on continuing to take classes, because there is always something to learn!

Yvonne Cockrill


We’d all like to believe that we can get ahead in our careers based on our skills, accomplishments and experience. But the reality is, appearances also matter in the workplace. How you dress, groom and carry yourself influences what other people think about you and plays a role in their decisions about whether they are going to hire you, promote you or do business with you. The good news is that you can take simple steps to improve your appearance and project a more professional, confident image that can help you get ahead.


Dress for success

What does your wardrobe say about you? As the saying goes, you should dress for the job you want, not the job you’ve got. Take note of what superiors in your company or successful individuals in your field are wearing, and then look at your own wardrobe. You still want to retain your own style, but think about what you could change or add to better convey your ambitions and work ethic. Consider personal items other than your clothing, like shoes, bags, hair style and accessories. If you’re headed to a job interview, try to get a sense of the company’s culture and dress before you walk through the door. You want to look nice, but you also want to look like you’ll fit in.

Watch your body language

How you carry and conduct yourself has a major impact on how you appear to others. Do you slouch when you walk? People could think you lack confidence. Do you slip down in your chair during meetings? People could interpret this as a lack of interest or motivation. Think about ways you could convey a different, more ambitious image. Walk with more purpose. Lean forward and engage more energetically in meetings. Make better eye contact. Use a firmer handshake.

Monitor your workspace

The appearance of your workspace says a lot about you, too, so keep it neat and professional. If there are messy piles of papers or remnants of this morning’s breakfast, people could think you don’t have the neatness, organization skills or attention to detail needed for that upcoming project or managerial position.

Be judged fairly

Appearances can help you in the workplace, but they can also hurt you. Unfortunately, some employers unfairly and sometimes illegally discriminate against employees because of issues the employee can’t (or shouldn’t) change, like age, physical appearance or ethnic background. Try to find work situations where you are accepted for who you are, and don’t be afraid to report those who unfairly discriminate against you.




school store

Have you visited the online West Store lately? It features new West merchandise, including a Blackhawk backpack, Freemont ballpoint pen, neoprene tablet stand and more. Go to shopweststore.com to check out all of the West items, and while you’re there, sign up for special offers. You can also purchase eCertificates for your favorite West students or alumni, in increments of $10, $25, $50 and $100. Happy shopping!

You’re invited to get more involved in the West alumni community. It will give you more opportunities to network and meet new people. One way to get connected is to volunteer to help with one of our future events. If you would like to get involved, we'd love to have your help! Just email us and let us know!


Looking for new job leads or networking opportunities? Link up with us on LinkedIn. You’ll be instantly connected with over 600 West community members. Log on, and you’ll be able to share your profile, find valuable resources, learn about jobs and internships, and more.
Connect with us now on LinkedIn.

Through the West Mentor program, you can volunteer as a mentor to both fellow alumni and active West students. It’s a great way to share your knowledge and experience, while helping others achieve their educational and professional goals. Give back, so others can move forward.
Join the West Mentor program.

Laura Lee
Alumni/Career Resources Manager
602-429-1110 or laura.lee@west.edu

Chanel Tran
Alumni Reenrollment Counselor
602-429-1121 or chanel.tran@west.edu

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For complete program information, please visit our website at http://www.west.edu/your-education/degree-programs

Western International University is a registered service mark of Apollo Group, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

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