In January of 2016, Creighton University School of Law welcomed home one of its own–Mandy Whiddon, who got her JD from Creighton in 2009–as the new assistant dean for career development.
“I loved going to school, I loved being in law school, even though it was stressful, and I kind of had visions of wanting to be back in the academic environment in some way,” says Whiddon. As assistant dean for career development, Whiddon’s primary role is to help students find jobs and determine what steps they should take to get there, including through professional development, networking and social media strategy.
“Ultimately, I want to make sure that every student every year, once they graduate from law school, has employment,” she says. “Some people will say that’s a lofty goal, but that’s always my goal: to make sure that every student is employed, either in their dream job or working towards achieving that dream job, whatever that may be.”
Whiddon’s other goal for the Career Development Office is to keep up with changing technologies and provide resources in a manner that is easily accessible to students.
“I want students to know that our office is there for them and wants to help them achieve their goal,” she says. “I want our office to be something that each and every student wants to come and use, and I want the office to be something that all of the students feel like they can gain the most knowledge from.”
Resources that prove especially helpful include externships, employment during law school and other experience-based opportunities that make students more in demand. Essentially, Whiddon says, it’s important that students get real-world experience before moving into the job market.
“Practical experience on your resume makes you more marketable in the long run to finding employment after you graduate,” she says.
Regardless of whether students are pursuing a career on the traditional legal path or on a nontraditional career path, such as in finance or government, Whiddon wants her office to be a resource.
“The strengths of the office are that we understand that each student has unique needs and unique dreams, and paying attention to what those are, and being willing to work with each student so that they can achieve those dreams. I think that makes it a very positive office,” Whiddon says.
Both her background as a Creighton School of Law graduate and as a former practicing attorney will prove helpful in her new position, Whiddon believes.
“I know how hard it is to juggle studying with working or trying to get some activities on your resume and making sure that you’re still building what you need to become employed afterwards,” she says. “I’m able to relate to students in that sense, being in the legal community. I was able to make a lot of connections with attorneys and judges, and so I feel like that real-world practical experience makes me provide more opportunities to students professionally, as well as in an educational sense.”
Assistant Dean for Career Development
mandywhiddon1 [at] creighton [dot] edu