This weekend has been one of many thoughts and preparation for the future. The most important was “Internships: The Path to Your Future.” This was an event hosted for juniors by career services and sponsored by Michael Brown. Mr. Brown is a Wofford alumnus and a major donor to the school. He believes that it is the alumni’s duty to give back to Wofford so that the upcoming students may be successful as well.
During the event we met with young alumni who shared their stories of rejection and success that they have experienced since graduating. These are some of my favorite tips that I picked up from listening to the stories:
- It’s important to make relationships with career services, your professors, and the administration. They will be the ones writing recommendation letters and you never know who they may know.
- Start looking for jobs now! This means jobs for 2014, after graduation. This will give you time to explore options, get rejected, and be ahead of the game. Just because Wofford starts school later doesn’t mean that businesses ask for applications later. Most applications will be due by the beginning of September.
- With that in mind, it’s also important to make sure that you stop on top of people when applying for jobs. Call, email, write letters. Do whatever it takes to get that job, even if it feels uncomfortable for you.
- Keep relationships with people you meet at Wofford, other internships, business meetings, anywhere you are. You never know who these people might know, which could help for applying for jobs.
- You should treat the job search like a class. It requires that much time, at least an hour a day. This could be making phone calls or sending emails to keep in touch with connections or actually applying for jobs.
- After you meet with someone, write them a thank you note. This should be handwritten and should go out as soon as possible after the meeting. This goes for writing recommendations too. Everyone may not appreciate it in the same way, but you never know who it may mean the world to.
- You should always carry yourself professionally, even around friends. They may know someone hiring, but if you are not professional they may not recommend you because they don’t want it to reflect badly of them.
- Have high expectations for your life. If your expectations aren’t high then you won’t get the better jobs.
During the meetings we also wrote down the three things that are most important to us in our future career. My three were:
- Giving back to the community-I want to feel like my work means something. I want to be able to help others in the same way that other people have been able to help me.
- Being able to share my store-I believe that I’ve had a lot of setbacks in my life, but I’ve been able to rise above those and use them to help others and I want to continue doing that.
- NO regrets! Be happy!-This is probably the most important thing. This is how I make my major life decisions. If I don’t do this/If I do this, am I going to regret it later in life? It may make me uncomfortable and seem difficult now, but in the long run I want to do what’s best for me.
Some of the other ideas that people shared were: working at a place that values their employees, being able to continue to learn, wanting a constant challenge-not the same routine every day, and being able to have family time.
When we came back together, Mr. Brown emphasized that we are the only person that can decide if we’re successful or not. He told us to write down our three requirements and the date and keep them in our wallet. We are the only ones that can make sure these three things are part of our career. He told us that if we got nothing else out of the evening then we needed to know 3 things:
- You have to learn to hustle. The people hiring us are getting older and looking for someone who is young and can do the job that they used to do.
- You need to always want to better yourself. This could be reading, meeting people, placing yourself in uncomfortable situations, or any number of others, but it is important to continually become a greater person.
- When told no, because it will happen, you need to figure out another way to approach the situation and go at it again. It’s all about how you react to that no.
We were also able to hear from Danny Morrison, the President of the Carolina Panthers, who is also a Wofford alumnus. He shared both his story and the story of Jerry Richardson, the owner of the Carolina Panthers and also a Wofford alumnus. Mr. Morrison shared with us the 5 core values of Mr. Richardson.
- Hard Work
Mr. Morrison also shared with us his biggest pet peeve: Too many people look for the next job. He says to do the job you have and the rest will take care of itself. This goes in hand with your career. If you are enjoying what you’re doing then you should not need to look for the next job. Mr. Morrison stressed that there is no roadmap to your career, you need to be able to connect the dots and see the relationship among things and you will figure out where you’re supposed to be.
I’m now following up the very motivational evening with my thank you notes and my piece of paper for my wallet. I’m still not sure whether this overwhelmed me more about my future or just made me more motivated. Either way I’m excited for what the future holds and know that I”m the only one responsible for how it turns out.
Until next time,