Career Moves: SPDC helps a student unlock the door to a five-star career with Hilton

Kelly Valerio’20 used the support she found at the Student Professional Development Center staff to build her professional network and understand the value of using keywords to land a job related to her passion for travel and her experience with the hospitality industry.

Kelly Valerio ’20, a marketing and strategic communications double major from Long Island, New York, is the latest person to be featured in a series of profiles on the experiences of students and alumni who use the Student Professional Development Center not only to find job and internship opportunities but to prepare for interviews, graduate school placements and improve applications with guidance from the SPDC staff.

She answered questions recently from the Student Professional Development Center about her experience.

What were you trying to accomplish when you met with the staff in the SPDC and what help did you receive?

I wanted help tailoring my cover letter for the internship at Hilton. I worked closely with Amber Moser in the School of Communications who helped me prepare my application and highlight the excitement I had for the company.

What have you learned from the experience?

I followed the SPDC’s advice and used targeted words and offered solid examples of how my skills, experiences, and achievements related to the job in my cover letter. I am confident that my cover letter is what got me in the door.

What recommendations would you share with other students about the Student Professional Development Center?

It is important to foster relationships with the staff at the SPDC. They are willing to help you as you search for those dream internship and job opportunities. I worked closely with Amber Moser in the School of Communications who helped me prepare my application. But, throughout my time at Elon, I have also fostered great relationships with Rachel Rysz and Danielle Golinski who have also been a part of my internship and job hunt!

Tell me about your experience landing this opportunity at Hilton.

Elon’s communications mentors program connected me with an Elon alumna who offered support and guidance as I was preparing my applications for internship programs.

I applied for the intern position on the company website in December of my junior year.  I participated in a HireVue interview and two phone interviews before receiving the internship offer. After interning over the summer, I was offered and accepted the full-time job at Hilton in McLean, Virginia.

At first, it was certainly a challenge to move to a new city, but I am so glad I did. It allowed me to grow personally and professionally and meet new friends.

How did your interest in the hotel industry develop?

I grew up spending my summers traveling and staying at different hotels and from there I knew I wanted to enter the hospitality industry.

Kelly’s determination to pursue the job of her dreams is a lesson for all of us to do what we are passionate about. The SPDC is here to guide students down the right path and offer support.