An admiration post for my classmates…
Earlier this year, I began my MBA journey at Northern Illinois University. A one-year cohort program. I’m working full-time, managing classes/group projects/homework, a long-distance relationship; and, somehow, including ‘me time’. But my classmates do not escape my mind. In a class of about 22-23 individuals, as least a third have young families (one with about a 6 month old son). People comment on how I’m able to manage all this…little do they know, I feel insufficient.
During my undergrad, I thought handling a 12 – 15 hour class schedule, a part-time internship, a part-time job, 4 student groups, and a life beyond all that was easy; I thought adulthood would be no problem…boy, was I wrong. I have no idea how my friends found time to have a full-time job while studying for our bachelor’s.
And today? Watching my classmates raise their families, continues to raise those questions. Hearing a child’s coo during an online presentation or listening to my classmates shuffle to mute themselves due to cries, shows what extraordinary individuals they are. Cheers to my classmates, graduation is only 3 classes away.
Have you guessed it? Internships is the topic. Why?
- Internships provide real job experience and skills to be used in your first entry level position
- Let’s be real: every entry level job (at least in the business/marketing world) require:
- at least 2 years of experience (internships included, of course)
- excellent writing and grammar skills
- for marketers…a solid understanding of HTML, coding, etc…
- experience in Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office and/or Google Analytics
- a ‘can do’ attitude
- willing to go above and beyond
- willing to lose an arm and a leg
- …and maybe a liver
You get the point. Post undergrad is a fight. Unless you are one of the lucky ones, where your internship has a full-time position waiting for you immediately after graduation, quality opportunity is sparse. There may be more job openings than working folks but
These days, a Bachelor’s degree is no longer enough. I, myself, have chosen to pursue a MBA. Why? I know I’ll need it in the future and rather complete it now than later.
As I approach my 7th month as the Marketing Coordinator for Egret Consulting Group, I look back at the path that brought me to this position. Over 6 months of searching, countless interviews and multiple staffing agencies – I received 5 offers and rejected 4 positions. But, I was, also, rejected from companies I adored and hoped to work for. It so happens, all the no’s I gave and received led me to an even better opportunity.
A job search takes patience. Don’t be afraid to reject an offer that doesn’t meet your financial, personal and future career goals. If a company tells you ‘no’, don’t let that deter you from pursuing other options. Thank the company for their time and pursue the next opportunity.
When searching for a new job, create a list of priorities. Research the companies you’ve applied to, accept the first interview invitation, review the interview’s conversation and decide whether to move forward with or move on from the position. Don’t waste your time and provide them the courtesy of saving theirs. During my search, this was my list of priorities (in order of importance):
- Job responsibilities/expectations/tasks and company expectations/goals
- Distance/commute from home
- Distance/commute from my grad school choices
- Benefits (health, vacation, etc.)
Most believe pay is the most important aspect to a job offer but the experience itself is just as, if not, more important (compensation package, of course, has to be reasonable). When an organization signs your offer letter, they’re investing in their future and are continuing to work toward their mission. When you, the candidate, signs the offer letter, you’re investing in your future. Your new employer will help you develop new skills and you will personally/professionally grow. Experience and pay work hand-in-hand. The more experience you gain, the more other opportunities with higher pay (and possibly responsibility) will present itself.
Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ but be open to new opportunities. If you’re on a search, best wishes!
Picky. The word to describe my job search: picky.
After much contemplation and numerous agreements from people I trust, I gave my 2 weeks and booked a quick, head clearing vacation to Colorado.
What came of it? I found a part-time opportunity much closer to home I thoroughly enjoy and hope to continue even when I accept a full-time offer. The owner appreciates and listens to what I have to say. And I’m learning more than I’ve ever.
With the little experience I have, I still have much to offer and I now know what I need from my next occupation and employer. I apply only to places I can see myself and the company succeeding. If the interview doesn’t work out the way I planned or the job description is not what I’m looking for – then onto the next!
It’s a competitive field, but I’m ready to play.
What my first job has taught me about myself and my career:
- My first job is just that, my first job. I’ll have a second, third, fourth, etc.
- Did I enter the right field for me? ABSOLUTELY! I found a new love for marketing/advertising that I did not already have .
- Work-life Balance: Keep my work at my job and personal life at home; I am less stressed and much happier! (My first month, I used to answer emails and take calls at home — never again!)
- Balancing classes, RSOs, a social life and an internship/part-time job DO NOT equate to balancing a full-time job and a social/private life; I am dead and tired by 8 PM.
- Keep my good friends close and drop the toxic ones, only keep those who add value to your life.
- Language barriers are DIFFICULT TO OVERCOME BUT ARE MANAGEABLE
- I am not a fan of interviewing and training but will train someone when a task needs to be done right.
- I do not need social media or a television. Now I spend an hour or less on each!
- $AVE, $AVE, $AVE THE GREEN STUFF
- Being an adult is expensive — not that I did not already know this but woof!
- It is possible to befriend colleagues. We mean business during work hours and are friends after hours.
Only a small list of what I have learned and believe I have so much more to explore. I cannot wait to see where my career takes me!