#WhyIVolunteer with Megan Sweeney
Name: Megan Sweeney
Hometown: Santa Rosa, CA
Your first job: Youth Soccer Referee and Babysitter
Your current job: Senior Accountant, Policy Accounting, Gap Inc.
What do you love about your career?
Right now I really love my work-life balance, because I didn’t have it in public accounting. I really love all the people I work with. Everyone is always excited to come into work. It’s nice to work with happy, motivated people.
How did you hear about Enterprise? How long have you been a volunteer?
I’ve been a volunteer for a month now. I heard about it through Gap. The administrator for our group sent us information about volunteering, and I said, “Why not!?” Gap does encourage us to go out and volunteer. They’re always super encouraging for you to leave and help out. It was so great that I came back!
Why do you volunteer?
It’s important to give back to the community, especially when it’s something as easy as teaching people to write resumes. It’s not difficult and it improves other people’s lives, so why not!
What would you say to people who want to volunteer? Why would you recommend volunteering to someone?
I can’t think of a good reason not to. There’s so many different ways to volunteer – there’s always something that will fit into your skillset.
Can you tell me about a mentor who was important in your professional development?
One of the partners at the public accounting firm I was working with helped recruit me. I met him while I was still in college, and he really talked up the firm, and was super nice and welcoming. We worked together, and he was also in charge of BDO Counts – the volunteer group – so he encouraged me to get involved with that. He showed different ways you can take your career, that just because you’re an accountant, you don’t have to stay in the accountant box. There’s always more you can do.
What’s your favorite part of working with Enterprise for Youth?
I like meeting all the youth! It’s such a cool program, and it’s great to see these really motivated kids. It’s great to see them at the high school level taking control of their future.
What advice do you have for a student applying for their first job?
Just relax! Everyone is nervous during the interview process.
What was the best interview advice anyone’s ever given you?
Try to make a personal connection with the interviewer, rather than trying to have the “best” answers. Don’t be afraid to have a personality – be comfortable and be yourself! It definitely took me a long time to learn this, especially going through Accounting. I was always thinking, I should wear a black suit and a white shirt, and be very neutral. And then I realized after meeting the recruiter at [my first job] that you should have a personality. We met in line at Starbucks. She told me she liked my hair and then said she hoped to see me at the career fair. That went way better because we had a personal connection.
That speaks to something we talk a lot about, which is networking. A lot of young people are intimidated by networking, or think of it as something that’s a little bit unattainable. How has networking factored into your career?
It’s good to know people and reach out. When I first started interviewing for a new job, a girl I knew from grad school reached out and told me she was a recruiter, and sent me a job I might be interested in. Little things like that help. It’s good to get out and meet people. Networking events help your interview skills, because you get used to talking to people.
What’s one last pearl of wisdom to leave with the young people in our program?
Be yourself and have fun! You’re already on a great path because you’re getting involved with Enterprise for Youth.