Moving Up and Around Harvard
Are you an HSPH Staff member interested in ways to move up and around at Harvard? Then this is the right place to start! Please use the menu below to quickly navigate to certain sections of the page. For a quick guide on internal mobility, click here.
This Month’s Success Story: Alex Garcia-Rangel
Student Information Systems Manager
Department of Information Technology
In 1998, Alex Garcia-Rangel joined the Harvard School of Public Health as a temporary employee answering telephones at the help desk for the Department of Information Technology (IT). After one week into his position, Alex was approached by his manager and was asked if he would consider coming onboard as a permanent employee. Alex took advantage of this opportunity and spent a lot of his own time reading, researching and asking questions to his fellow colleagues in an effort to learn more and develop his skill set as a new HSPH staff member.
After a couple years in this role, Alex was promoted to PC Support. Shortly after, he was then promoted to Senior PC Support. Alex’s goal was to eventually work on the Server team, so he stayed late for monthly maintenance and troubleshooting and assisted with two email migrations. He continued to ask questions to those in his department that had been successful. With research and hard work, Alex achieved his goal and was eventually promoted to the Server team. He was in this role for about 5 and 1/2 years and was just recently promoted again to Student Information Systems (SIS) Manager. He knew going into this position that there would be a learning curve but was ready to take on a new challenge.
Attributes for Success
When asked what attributes led to Alex’s success over the years, he responded with “great role models, a supportive environment and the desire to learn and be challenged.” He continued to explain that he invested much of his own time doing his own research and developing his skills. He also took advantage of many courses provided by the Center for Workplace Development (CWD) including training for new managers and MAC support training. Since the technology world is always changing, Alex took advantage of trainings whenever possible.
When asked who inspired Alex, he responded with, “The people I work with.” He continued to say that they not only inspired him, but have always been extremely supportive throughout his career and have taught him so much. He described his working environment as both supportive and fun. His team knows how to work hard and get the job done but have fun at the same time.
When asked about what advice he would give to others within his community, Alex told me that patience, dedication and hard work are the keys to success. There are a lot of opportunities out there to develop and gain new skills, so it is important to take advantage of the trainings available. He also went on to state that it is also important to always challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone.
Most Enjoyable Part of Working at the Harvard School of Public Health
What does Alex enjoy most about working at Harvard? His response, “The people I have the opportunity to work with, a great IT team and the interaction with staff and faculty within the Harvard community. It is also great to work with Harvard University Information Technology (HUIT) and other departments and learn how they do things. I am in an environment where I am constantly learning and challenging myself.”
When asked what risks he took, Alex answered by saying that every time he took on a new position he was taking a risk. When you challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone it can be risky but rewarding at the same time. If he did not challenge himself throughout his career, he would not be where he is today.
Resource to You
Interested in learning more about Information Technology or getting one on one advice from Alex himself? Contact him directly via email!
How About You?
Interested in telling us your success story? Let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Archived Success Stories
Edward Martinez – Associate Director of Finance
Introduction to Career Movement
To start off there is one thing you should know: Career movement/progression is different for everyone. There is no right answer, no shortcut and no guaranteed road map to your next role at Harvard. Each job, department, field, and culture has it own set of written and unwritten rules to reaching the next level. Harvard is a very large and de-centralized organization, with over 30,000 employees and 100′s of departments varying in discipline, objectives and cultures. Knowing where to go and how to get there requires hard work, research, networking, and most of all, patience. While it may not be easy, there are some tools and resources to help you.
This page will address common issues and topics and will speak only in generalities. For specific guidance, we hope you will reach out to one of our contacts listed at the end of the page.
In any career path you choose, it is critical that you ask yourself the following questions:
1. What motivates you in your current role?
2. Do you feel your role, what it provides you, and the lifestyle you live, is sustainable?
3. Does your current role and the path it is taking you, provide you with the work/life balance you need?
4. Does your work have meaning to you? Do you feel that have impact in positive way?
5. Does this field/position challenge you?
6. Does this position utilize your skills and strengths?
The answers to your questions will not point you in any specific direction but they will be key factors in your decision to moving up and around at Harvard. Remember, you spend much of your time at work. Click Here for More Questions to Consider.
Taking Your Existing Job to the Next Level
Feel like you are in the right job but looking to take on more or do more complicated tasks? Here are some ideas for you:
- Open up the lines of communication with your supervisor. Set up a time to meet and discuss your future. See if there are any projects or new tasks that you can take on that will expand your current responsibilities. Make sure these tasks are challenging and are more complex in nature.
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Make sure that you have the capacity to do more. If you decide to take on new responsibilities, you will need to prove yourself and complete the tasks at the highest quality possible. This will build credibility and confidence with your supervisor.
- Find a mentor. Someone whose career path or current role is of interest to you. Find out what professional development opportunities they took advantage of. Ask them what worked and what did not work.
Have You Seen What is Available at HSPH and Harvard?
View current openings on the Harvard Employment website at www.employment.harvard.edu
Apply directly through the website for any roles that you have an interest in and are qualified for. Make sure to submit a complete resume and cover letter. In order to formally be considered an applicant, you do need to apply online!
Trainings and Seminars Related to Professional Development
Harvard provides many workshops/seminars specifically geared towards career and professional development. For more information click here. Here are some examples of courses that CWD provides:
- Rock Bottom Basics of LinkedIn
- Networking for Success
- Informational Interviews 101
- The Role of References
- Career Roadmaps
- Interviewing Skills
- Your Strengths at Work
- Creating Your Best Resume
- Navigating Your Harvard Career
Other Resources Provided By Harvard
Job Function Guide - This guide is intended to provide you with an overview of the professions and sub-specialties that exist within the University. You can also find information regarding the number of employees in a given area.
Web Resources Training for Career Development at Harvard – Click here to go to the Captivate training that will walk you through all the resources can provide you regarding career planning and career transitions
Read or view previous career-related discussions.
Considering a Career Change: What You Should Know (WebEx, December 7, 2011): Devin Ryder, career management consultant, CWD, and Laurie Stickels, career and case management program manager, CWD.
Transferable Skills (WebEx, September 27, 2011): Devin Ryder, career management consultant, CWD, and Laurie Stickels, career and case management program manager, CWD.(***There is a 1.5 minute audio break in the middle of the webinar***)
Informational Interviewing: The Other Kind of Interview (WebEx, April 21, 2011). Devin Ryder, career management consultant, CWD, and Laurie Stickels, career and case management program manager, CWD.
Transferable Skills: Devin Ryder, career management consultant, CWD, and Laurie Stickels, career and case management program manager, CWD. (HARVie Chat, June 29, 2011)
Cultivating Effective References (WebEx, April 4, 2011). Note: If you encounter a problem viewing this recorded session, please refer to the system requirement and Bit9 notes on the WebEx Instructions page.
Your Career Questions; Concerns for 2011: Devin Ryder, career management consultant, CWD, and Laurie Stickels, career and case management program manager, CWD. (HARVie Chat, March 1, 2011)
Workplace Etiquette: Robin Abrahams, Boston Globe’s Miss Conduct and a research associate at HBS. (HARVie Chat, January 18, 2011)
Social Media in the Workplace: Nick Lamphere, multimedia developer, CWD. (HARVie chat, Jan. 11, 2011)
For Questions, Guidance or One on One Coaching? Contact an HR Partner or Recruiter. Click Here to Find Your Designated HR Partner/Recruiter
The Employee Assistance Program
Need more help? The Employee Assistance Program offers resources and tests for you to help you regarding a career transition. Click here to get there!