How to Start Initiating Your Own Opportunities

It's easy to get caught up in a storm of overthinking when it comes to making career moves in your life. What kind of job am I looking for? Is my LinkedIn page snazzy enough? Do I even have enough experience to create a LinkedIn account? How do I start doing anything in the field I want? Whew girl, calm down! If you're still an undergrad, you have nothing to worry about. Plenty of people get lost in the sauce when it comes to finding ways to explore their career paths. However, sitting around and waiting for options to fall into your lap is not going to help much! Let's figure out how to initiate our own opportunities and create our own experiences.

  1. 1. Do some investigation

    Chances are, your university has a career center. Make use of it! Poke around the website and be on the lookout for career fairs, alumni networks, job listings, and advising sessions. If you are feeling very lost, this is a fantastic place to start. Take note of when things are happening, where things are happening, and who these things are happening with. Show up to events for inspiration. Bookmark applications. You never know what kind of on-campus jobs there are or what sort of companies are visiting your school!

  2. 2. Don't be afraid of a cold email

    This is perhaps one of my favorite methods to get involved in something. Cold emailing is a technique where you send a polite email to someone with hiring or connection power. This method can be used to gain insight on school clubs or intern positions. Search around an organization's social media or website for contact deets. Of course there are no guarantees that you'll receive a position or even a response back, but if you market yourself well you might be surprised at the replies you get! Perhaps the club president you emailed isn't accepting new member applications right now... but you'll be the first to know when applications do open. Or perhaps the company you reached out to loves your skillset and is willing to take you on as an intern even though that position isn't officially listed on their website. Allow yourself to be surprised by people!

    laptop on desk with phone, pens and notepad
  3. 3. Overcome the fear of rejection

    Rejection can seem scary. It can hurt your self esteem and make you question your abilities. But you can't let the fear of rejection get in the way of trying things out! You truly never know unless you try. To me, the question of what if? is scarier than a rejection because there is no verdict. Don't get caught in a trap of regret and fantasy! Focus on the opportunities you do get and forget about the ones you don't. You may feel as though you wasted time and energy when you receive a rejection... but you didn't! You gained experience and you can use that to power your next prospect. And don't let salty feelings prevent you from reapplying to a company. Second (or third) time could be a charm!

  4. 4. Maintain a good work ethic

    People notice hard work and good work. A boss or professor that notices the consistency in your efforts may offer a promotion or a useful connection to an opportunity! Even if there is no direct offer, they might be more open to questions about available opportunities. They'll definitely serve as great recommenders during application processes as well. There is really nothing to lose from trying your best!

    Letterboard - "Be proud of how hard you are working"
  5. 5. Be open minded

    Having a positive and receptive mindset is key to allowing more opportunities to flow into your life. You may be tasked with something you aren't confident with, but a willingness to learn and improve will impress mentors and bosses alike. Trying a wide variety of things may lead you to unexpected, but fruitful paths. Having goals is amazing, but being deadset on one specific, hard-to-reach goal can be a mental roadblock. There is no singular path to happiness and success so don't stress if what you're doing isn't exactly like what your peers are doing!

Initiation is an important skill to have in many aspects of life. Starting something on your own is empowering and it makes you a stronger individual. Remember that there are so many kind people in the world that would love to help you grow. Don't be afraid of what's around you! If you want something, go get it!