Student: Laurel Harnett, MPP, Class of 2019

Position: Auditor Evaluator 

Location: Sacramento, CA

Congratulations on your new role! Tell us about the position and what you’ll be doing.

I will be working as an Auditor Evaluator at the California State Auditor in Sacramento, CA. In this role, I will work with a team of auditors to investigate allegations of corruption and mismanagement and report findings to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee. The CA State Auditor has conducted audits and investigations that range from evaluating the risky funding situation of the High-Speed Rail Authority to reviewing the affordability of college textbooks, for example.

Laurel Harnett, Class of 2019.

What Career Development resources did you utilize in your job search?

During my search, I used HarrisLink (an online job search portal) almost every week to check on employers that were hosting info sessions at Harris. I made appointments with my career coaches, Nick Fahnders and Leslie Anderson, to revise my resume, and I reached out to alumni via the Harris Alumni Connect website to get a sense of their post-Harris roles.

What was the process like?

I started by meeting with Leslie to ensure my resume was presentable and asked for some alumni connections that I could speak with that had similar interests. Early on, I also met with Nick to talk about what salary ranges were appropriate given my degree and previous experience. I never thought it was too early to look for full-time job opportunities, so I wanted to be prepared with my salary preferences and questions for whoever I was speaking with.  From there, I walked into many info sessions or alumni coffee chats with a strong resume, an idea of my salary range, and a list of questions about the employer.

What skills and experiences from your MPP degree will you be bringing to the position?

This role requires strong teamwork, analytical thinking, and the ability to make clear recommendations based on the data collected. The core curriculum, my experience in Policy Labs, and my role as a research assistant at the Behavioral Insights and Parenting Lab all afforded me experience in analytical thinking, statistical analysis, and the ability to work with real-world clients to help address policy issues. I plan to bring these skills and experiences to California in the hopes of adding a different perspective to my audit teams in order to produce the soundest recommendations.

How did your time at Harris guide you to the California State Auditor’s Office?

In my first year, I attended many info sessions because I wanted to be open-minded and narrow down my interests. There’s something to take away from every employer info session, whether that employer aligns with your interests or not. The Career Development Office did a great job of advertising which employers would be at Harris and ensured I was prepared to market myself when my job search started. Had I not come to Harris, I don’t think the possibility of working for this office would have crossed my mind. I actually attended the CA State Auditor’s info session out of curiosity! Harris has broadened my understanding of all the roles and ways one can make an impact and I am happy I was as open-minded as I was in my first year.

What tips do you have for incoming students who are thinking about internships and careers?

This goes off of my last point - be open minded! Even if you come in knowing exactly where you want to intern or work, attend the workshops and employer info sessions anyways. An opportunity may align with your interests early on and you are able to maintain that relationship with an employer until it’s time to actually apply. These connections are more valuable than you think and the earlier you start fostering them, the better! Best of luck!