Career Spotlight - Fallon Thomas

Thursday, May 31, 2018

How did you end up entering your position and career at Yale?

I came to Yale through Yale Temporary Staffing Services (YTSS), and I floated for a year and a half. Through YTSS, you do not have a permanent position; you float from department to department based on the need (e.g. if someone is out on leave, creation of a new position, or assisting on projects like Workday). You may hold a position for up to 6 months. Upon my employment at Yale, I wanted to be a Registrar. Prior to coming to Yale, I had worked for New Haven Job Corps, a vocational program funded by the Department of Labor, where I was the Records and Data Integrity Manager. Prior to that, I had worked in a university system. After my probationary period, I started looking for registrar positions, interviewed for a couple that I did not get, which was fine, the experience was enough. I decided to take C&T Summer training courses, and went to every registrar related course that they offered. After doing that, I would apply, and reference all the knowledge I gathered from the courses during my interview. While I didn’t have direct experience within Yale University as a Registrar, between my past experience and what I’d learned in the courses, I was able to be knowledgeable enough to get far in the interview process, and in December of 2016, I landed a position in the central Registrar’s office. A previous manager from my YTSS experience contacted me in 2017 regarding a M&P position at the Med School which would fit my skill set. I applied, interviewed, and was offered a supervisory role in of Aug 2017.

You’ve found a way, it sounds, to utilize the skills and abilities from past jobs and make it really stand out when interviewed for your current job, and what do you think helped you the most from your previous job in attaining the one you have now?

I think it was both my competencies and the fact that I had supervisory experience prior to coming to Yale. Yale has its own culture, so I think I had to take a step back, learn the Yale way, and merge my new set of skills with my current skill set. What I learned from floating helped in the application process.

Do you find throughout your time doing that, that there were certain skills (soft or technical) that you found are most transferrable or necessary during your time here?

I think being technology savvy helped a lot. With every position I have held in the past, I had to learn the technology quickly, and often became the point person for that software or program. When I came to Yale, part of being in YTSS required you to adapt quickly, because literally you’re being placed in a department, trained for a day, and you had to hit the ground running. Because I could do that, it was easy for me to adapt from department to department. My first placement was in the Employee Services Center when Workday was introduced. I was trained on the day to day administrative processes one might face prior to the rollout. It was my job to provide customer support for people in individual departments who needed help on different day to day processes, so once I left that department, it made me more marketable and it stood out once I entered different departments. As I entered new assignments, I would hear people ask a question about how to do something in Workday and I would say “Oh, I know how to do that!” and then people would often come to me because of my previous experience in Workday.

You were able to absorb all this info pretty quickly. Are there any other skills that have helped you either in the way you interact with people or the work itself?

I think that I’m very personable, and that helps as an attribute. I always love talking to people, hearing their experiences, and that has helped me here at Yale, whether it’s with networking, my affinity group, or a committee. Also, taking advantage of the resources Yale offers for C&Ts, going to different courses and trainings, speaking to different people about their positions here at Yale, finding out what they do and what’s needed for their jobs, raising my hand and wanting to get involved in learning things that may not have anything to do with my current responsibilities, but being eager to learn and being open enough where people want to teach you different things all help widen my experience.

As someone who’s always looking for different ways to learn, do you use any resources that you personally use that are either tangible or online that would help with one’s professional development?

I always encourage people to take advantage of the online Lynda courses. Say, if you’re applying to a position that requires you to have proficiency in X, Y, and Z, and it’s something you’re not particularly strong in, the courses in Lynda helped me learn basically teach myself. Also, the professional development offerings from the Yale affinity groups.

You’ve been at this quite a bit and advance quicker than others. Is there something that you know now that might’ve helped you, maybe in the very beginning of your career, to help arrive to where you are now?

Being persistent, learning from my experiences, receiving constructive criticism and finally not being afraid to ask questions. You have to really market yourself and be your own champion.

It sounds like you’re very content where you are now. If you had the option, is there any other path you would choose if you had the option of redoing it all?

I am thankful for my journey, I am thankful for becoming involved with New Haven Works. This experience has taught me patience, it’s been very humbling, and I have been refined as a professional. If I had to do it that way again, I would!

Do you have any advice on how to navigate careers at Yale in general?

I would say networking, not counting yourself out, researching positions you’re applying for, understanding the departments ahead of time. Take advantage of everything that the career development office offers as far as resume reviews, critiquing cover letters, and even the affinity groups and their professional development initiatives are all are worth going to. It has all helped me grow as a candidate. Setting goals and planning your career here is very important, setting yourself up for the next step in your journey.

Ending statements or overview of your groups and how it’s affected your role in the university:

I’m a New Haven resident, and I have taken advantage of NH Works and that’s how I landed my first position at Yale after trying for almost 2 years. At orientation, they had someone speak about the affinity groups and I was immediately interested. I have friends who worked corporate jobs outside of the university setting that always spoke of affinity groups and how it helped enhance their careers and community involvement. Once I heard about YAAA, I wanted to become involved. I started out with the first social, meeting different people, learning about their longevity here at Yale, I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of. It has helped me to make connections within the university and the surrounding community. If it were not for YAAA, I would not be as outgoing as I am today.