When it comes to getting an internship or a job, don’t rely on others to get you there. I hear it on campus all the time: “The career center isn’t helpful at all.” “Nobody’s really interested in helping me.” “The right support systems aren’t in place.”
Often, it seems as though paying college tuition and getting the diploma are legitimate reasons to have a job or an internship handed to you on a silver platter. In reality, opportunity presents itself when you’ve put in the work. Here’s a starter guide to getting what you want when it comes to finding professional opportunities that are right for you.
Many of us don’t know what the next step is that will ensure that we get where we want to be professionally. I find that the best way to ensure success is to work backwards. Find something that interests you. Find a career that incorporates your interests, and work backwards from there. Law school or Master’s degree? Start getting experience and build your resume. You can never start too soon.
Buy some business cards and make use of them. If you are in college or grad school, your career center should print business cards for you with the school logo on them. If not, Vista Print does incredibly inexpensive sets of business cards. Take them to events are start talking to people. Don’t be afraid to talk to people in unconventional places. Once, a conversation in a grocery store led to an opportunity for me. If someone is interesting to you (even if they are not in your target career field), give them your card. You never know where a connection will lead you. If someone gives you a business card, get in touch with them – they gave it to you for a reason. Handwritten notes, in addition to emailing, aren’t overdoing it – and they make a big impression on the person with whom you’ve networked.
Dress for the part
Buy at least one classic, good quality professional outfit. Nothing too noticeable – you’re going to have to wear it to multiple events. You don’t want an obvious outfit repeat but you want to look professional every time you will be seen by people who can help you go places.
Related content: Check out our professional career attire board on Pinterest
Don’t rely on others for your own success
The college career services office will only get you so far. After you’ve revised your resume and have learned how to write a cover letter, it’s the face- to-face encounters that will take where you want to be. Always present yourself as polite, enthusiastic, and professional. This can be tough when you feel discouraged, but employers want to hire people that are pleasant to be around. Ask your friends to introduce you to their connections. Get off campus or out of your own apartment.
So put on a smile, get out there, and make a difference for yourself!
About the Blogger: Maddy Marshall
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