How Shall I Spend My Summers?
For a lot of college students, this is both a challenging as well as exciting time. While the semester tends to be a very hectic time with lots of deadlines and personal needs to be prioritized, school can be a buffer because we have professors, extracurricular expectations, social outings, etc. that can help us shape our schedules and lives. While these things seem like they are within an easy grasp, the job search process is less definite.
One of my friends who is a former consultant and investment banking analyst intern told me that job applications are mostly a numbers game. You reach out to over 100+ places in order to have an opportunity to apply to 50 places. Then you might get 10 interviews for 1 or 2 jobs, which is all you need. That is a lot of customized cover letters to write, without accounting for resume revisions based on relevancy.
Nevertheless, I think the process so far has been really rewarding. I think I have learned a lot, and I feel much more connected to the job world than before, considering that I attend a school with very few major firm recruiters. Plus, I think I have a better idea of what I want in my life and the stage that I am at.
5 Life Lessons I Learned From My Job Search:
1. Seek Satisfaction and Joy in the Life and Friends You Have Now.
I go to a Bible college, so it is probably easier for me to say that than for other people. I am grateful for the countless people who have been good listeners and encouraged me during this process. You never know what trials you may face in the next stage of life, or the things you take for granted. I want to thank all the friends at CCU who have gone out of their way to see how I am doing when I am engrossed in school work and everything else. Your unconditional love means a lot. I have had at least one friend tell me that they or their friends had jobs at prestigious firms but were miserable at them.
1 Timothy 6:6-7: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.”
2. Be self-confident and reach out. You never know.
I have reconnected with some former acquaintances that for the longest time, I was not confident in connecting with. However, I realize that all of them have been more than happy to help give job referrals or answer application questions. A lot of them are busy, so you may not hear back for a few days, but when they do, it’s very insightful and targeted. Also, it doesn’t hurt to follow up sometimes. People often refrain from answering an email if they need time to think something over. If you persevere, they may have an answer the second time around.
3. Figure out what you want to get out of your classes.
If you want to simply do the minimum to ace classes and fly by with a high GPA, your life in the meantime will be pretty miserable. Plus, you will more likely have trouble answering job interview questions related to your academic and extracurricular work. Then, there are those self-doubts over whether the academics really translates to professional expertise. Instead, if you think about why you signed up for a class and go beyond your class to get skills beyond that 4.0, you will most likely be more proactive in developing great relationships and expertise that you may end up of using.
That is the thinking I have applied to some of my music classes even though the internships I consider are usually more business-related. However, the most important thing about maximizing your classes is that you will end up enjoying them more, finding passion, and building memories. College should not be a survival laundry list.
4. Recognize the things that you won’t get from your career, but you can get now.
Many of you probably already know about this statement. Your career isn’t everything. One thing the job search has made me realize is that my spiritual life needs to be strengthened and how important it is that I have a solid network of friends and mentors for spiritual accountability and fellowship. I also realize that the real professional world may not teach me the truths that are taught in Chapel, so I need to keep my ears open.
5. God will use everything…the good and the bad.
Probably one of the most alarming things that a prospective intern can hear after months of specific industry preparation is that they are not qualified enough for the company. However, realize that God will use these experiences for His future glory.
For more information about partnering with God on career decisions, check out this article from Christian Career Center.
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