As a junior in college, I have had almost three years to contemplate what I want to do with my life, and I have just now come to a conclusion. Through all the job interviews, internships, and company presentations, I have learned a thing or two about determining what truly makes you happy. And, with 2020 teaching me plenty about how short life is, I can assure you that the best career choice for your future is the one that makes you the most fulfilled. Here are a few things that I have learned on my journey:
The job recruiting process can be very intimidating. As a freshman, I got my first taste of the rigorous process of trying to impress companies and I was terrified. However, no one told me just how hard it would be to even get my foot in the door. With so many career fairs on my campus, I did not know where to start. My best advice would be to experience as much as you can and reach for as much exposure as they will allow. Research the fairs that are hosting companies that you are interested in, and if you are not sure which ones you like, pick career fairs geared towards your major. This will ensure the companies in attendance will be within your industry and looking to hire people like you. Internships at my university really start to become normal at sophomore year, but if you are a freshman still reach out and network. Even if they turn you away from the table, the chances of them taking your name or resume are very high. This could even lead to a potential email the next year when you are of the age and experience, they are looking to hire.
In the meantime, I would suggest volunteering and getting involved with as much on your campus as you can. I worked my first internship the summer after sophomore year, so freshman year I focused on building my resume. I found organizations inside and outside of my major to get involved with. This gave me a lot of unique opportunities to share to interviewers when I was trying the land that job. Companies love to hear about your interests and what you like to do outside of academics. Lucky for you, we are in college, so now is the perfect time to try something new.
Once you get to the point where you want to start looking for that perfect company for you, my best tip would be to talk to everyone! I received my next internship by simply being at the right place at the right time. After talking to a company at a campus career fair who wasn’t actively looking for someone of my major, they told me that I would be a perfect fit for a different program of theirs that they weren’t hiring for that day. I stayed in contact with them, and after going through numerous interviews, I got the job! So, my point is to remain optimistic and network! Send those emails and LinkedIn connects! They will pay off, I promise.
My last piece of advice would be to trust your gut. I am an Actuarial Science and Applied Statistics major. Most students of my major go on to pursue the Actuary career, typically working in the Insurance industry. However, after an internship at a large Healthcare company, I decided I want to explore other industries and career paths that might be a better fit for me. This led me to find the company that I am working for next year. They offered me a Human Resources internship, working in the Alcohol and Spirits Industry, which could not be any more different from insurance. The point is that you must be willing to take a risk. I am so happy with the decision I made, and I encourage everyone to seek the opportunities and experiences that bring you the most joy.
I hope you have learned something from my story and incorporate some of my tips into your own job-hunting. Remember to remain optimistic and don’t get discouraged. You can do this!