Alumni Profile: Pooja Sandhu

 In Scholar Profiles, Stories

Pooja Sandhu head shotAfter graduating from college and moving into the workforce, Richmond Promise alumni are establishing themselves in businesses and creating careers across the country.

Today, we’re catching up with RP alum Pooja Sandhu, an El Cerrito High and San Jose State University graduate who now has a number of roles in her professional life. Check out what Pooja is up to!

Q: First, a little background info. Where did you go to school (high school and college) and what are you up to professionally these days?

A: I went to El Cerrito High, then transferred from Berkeley City College to San Jose State for a Bachelor’s in Business Administration: Marketing. I think I have a unique experience in that way, of different aspects of the Bay Area, and I’m exploring traveling to other places (TBD at this point!). Professionally, I am up to many things and am a busy, busy girl! My main thing is my job as a Digital Marketing Associate at the Texas Tribune, while I am also a Digital Marketing Captain at COOP. I also write articles for a nonprofit called BobaTalks and do social media management for a charity called Wells Bring Hope. I’ve also done a bunch of other projects, as you can see on my LinkedIn! Two major initiatives I am looking to launch soon are a career and personal growth newsletter and website! So do follow me on LinkedIn and stay tuned. 

Q: You recently gave back to Richmond Promise by leading a resume-building workshop for second-year Scholars. In presenting to RP Scholars, what were some of the main points you wanted them to take away?

A: I want Scholars to take away the importance of tailoring your bullets with keywords from specific roles you are applying for, and make sure your bullets don’t just state WHAT you did, but the IMPACT of what you did. I also shared this simple format I like to use:  Action verb -> Hard Skill(s) -> Soft Skills(s) -> Impact Statement -> Metric. 

Q: You’re a RP alum, so I’m curious to know how it felt for you to come back to present to current RP Scholars who might be in the same position you were once in?

A: It was so uncanny yet rewarding at the same time. I gave other stories and advice not just around resumes, but also on using their time wisely and getting real-world experience outside of their coursework because I wish someone would’ve emphasized that more earlier on. I felt like it was uncanny because I remembered who I was a few years ago and my mindset was totally different than who I am now; I saw my growth, and my weaknesses, and realized that I have a lot to celebrate, but also to stay humble, always give back and keep improving. 

Q: Thinking back to your experience in both high school and college…how did Richmond Promise provide support and how did that support make an impact for you?

A: RP helped me out phenomenally. I did the RP Summer Associates program and it was so beneficial to get that experience, working in a team and making connections and mistakes, and learning from all of it. That experience added so much to my resume and helped me get even more opportunities, so I will always be grateful to RP. I also received other support from the team, especially when I needed a laptop due to an emergency situation. And of course, the scholarship itself helped me work fewer hours during the semester so that I could put more hours into my coursework and extracurriculars and avoid debt as much as possible.

Q: If you could tell our Richmond Promise Scholars anything about what to expect once they graduate college and enter the workforce, what would it be?

A: It will be unlike anything you have ever experienced before, and no one is going to go out of their way to help you or coach you unless they are one of the few like me and the folks at RP who want to give back to their communities. You will have to work hard, prove yourself, and work smart all while exploring what exactly it is you want to do and your legacy. You will have so much freedom, but it’s up to you to use it well. There aren’t neat schedules or homework assignments telling you exactly what to do, it is the unknown, it’s literally up to you to create the rules of the game, or even play the game. Expect disappointment and disillusionment, but also don’t be afraid to dream and expect to be surprised by the kindness and collaboration of others. One thing is for sure: never stop learning and exploring and thinking critically, and you will never be stagnant. 

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