Real Life: College to Career – Meredith

Meredith WarrenPic
Name:
Meredith Warren
Age: 22
College: University of Texas at Austin, May 2014 graduate
Company: Idea Grove
Place of residence: Dallas, Texas
Hobbies and interests: hanging out with family and friends, going to the lake

Q: Did you start college with a clear idea of what you wanted your major to be? If so, what did that look like and how did that change during your time in college?

A: I went into college as a public relations major and stayed with it the whole time. I picked up a business minor sophomore year, and I thought about changing my major a couple times but never went through with it. I love being around people, so even though I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I graduated, I knew having a communication-based major was right for me.

Q: Can you walk me through the detailed step-by-step process that you went through to get your first job out of college?

A: I delayed the job search process as long as possible senior year, which I don’t recommend. I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do or where I wanted to live. Choosing where you’re going to live definitely makes it easier. Once I decided to move to Dallas, I focused on jobs in Dallas. I looked through the job postings via UT’s career center, but most were in Austin. I also looked through postings on other job sites, but my best leads were through connections. Even if I didn’t know anyone at a company, I would send a personal email to the hiring manager or person taking resumes. I reached out to my network to be put in touch with family friends and friends of friends. I ended up coming across a position in real estate through my sorority, and it sounded interesting and different. I accepted the position in April, and began work at the end of June. However, I ended up realizing I just wasn’t passionate about my work a month or so in, and began looking for PR jobs. It’s common in the communications industry to take a full time internship before being hired, so I accepted an internship in August that lasted until December. Luckily, I loved the company and they offered me a full time position.

Q: What aspect of that process was most challenging or stressful for you? Looking back, what advice would you give to college students to make this aspect less challenging?

A: The entire process of finding positions was incredibly tiring and overwhelming, because it’s a process I’d never done before. I would recommend starting to network at the beginning of senior year, so you have plenty of time to turn casual coffee meetings and phone calls into actual job interviews. Plus, it gives you time to travel if you are looking at jobs in other cities. For me, the challenge of choosing to leave my first job after realizing my heart wasn’t in the work was difficult. However, I’m so glad I chose to find a position where I felt happy.

Q: What was the biggest adjustment or adjustments for you going from college to full-time employment?

A: The 9 to 5 grind is rough at first. You no longer have time during the day to run errands, exercise, or just take a nap. Adjusting to working for eight or nine hours each day doesn’t leave much time to get other things done. Also, moving at a fast pace for those eight hours is an adjustment. If you start to crash around one or two, you still have half a day of work left. Waking up early every morning is really different from two or three early morning a week for class.

Q: Do you have any advice for coping with these adjustments?

A: I would say getting into a regular sleeping routine on weekdays is the best favor you can do yourself. Wanting to curl up and nap under you desk at work is not a great feeling. Getting enough sleep every night means you’ll have more energy to get stuff done before or after work, plus you’ll make it through the day.

Q: Is there anything else about your college and career experience that you would like to add?

A: College flies by, so just enjoy every moment you can. Put yourself out there and have fun. There’s no other time in your life where you’ll have so much available at your fingertips and so many opportunities to make friends.

Congrats to Kari Edick for winning our Career Onward LinkedIn Makeover Contest! Like us on Facebook and/or follow us on Instagram to keep updated on more contests to come. 

Real Life: My Internship Experience – Ashley

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Who: Ashley Liu

University: The University of Texas at Austin

Hometown: Coppell, TX

Major: Finance and Mathematics

Q: Where did you work?

A: Business valuation intern at Value Management Group (VMG Health)

Q: What was the environment like there?

A: The environment was very open and people were extremely willing to help you learn and grow. I learned about valuation and specifically how to do a DCF analysis. The only thing I wish I knew before taking the job was how to use Excel efficiently. 

Q: Do you have any tips for college students who are looking for internships/jobs?

A: To always be intellectually curious about any company that you are meeting with. Each company is unique and different in their own way and functions in society in a unique way. There is always something new to learn from anyone so be open to questions and ideas. 

Real Life: College to Career – Amy

 

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Amy Holland – Account ExecutiveName: Amy HollandName: Amy Holland

Name: Amy Holland
Age: 23
College: University of Texas at Austin, May 2014 graduate
Company: Uptown Diamond
Job Title: Account Executive
Place of residence: Houston, TX
Hobbies and interests: Certified Yoga Instructor, reading and traveling

Q: Did you start college with a clear idea of what you wanted your major to be? If so, what did that look like and how did that change during your time in college?

A: I had no real vision going into college about what my major should be. However, I did know that I love being around people. I love communicating, understanding, empathizing and interacting with people. So that’s how I knew Communications would be the best fit for me. Since I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with my degree, I decided to stick with a broad major, Communication Studies, and also worked to get my Business Foundations and Real Estate Certificates. I felt this gave me a broad enough range to explore all options before I narrowed in on a specific career path.

Q: Can you walk me through the detailed step-by-step process that you went through to get your first job out of college?

A: Around September of my senior year I began looking for jobs. I decided that I should focus my search on Commercial Real Estate jobs because my father and uncle have a strong presence in the CRE community. I was successful with my job search because of networking. I started calling every connection I had ever made in regards to the industry: my parent’s friends, local businesses, older Chi Omega’s, you name it. What started as informal coffee chats or meet-and-greets turned into showing up for actual interviews. Because of my activeness, I had about 3 or 4 solid job offers by November and started in June right after I graduated. Since then, I have actually left the Real Estate Industry. Although I learned a ton and was surrounded by amazing people, I felt that I was not passionate about my work, and did not want to continue to stay in a job where I was not excited and ready to work hard every day. I started using my network again, and was put in touch with a man who has been in the diamond industry for over 20 years who was ready to hire an Account Executive. So now, I work for a diamond and colored stone cutting house called Uptown Diamond. We design custom pieces and manufacture the jewelry in house. I absolutely love it, and I am thankful that I was brave enough to leave my first job, and search for something that made me happy.

Q: What aspect of that process was most challenging or stressful for you? Looking back, what advice would you give to college students to make this aspect less challenging?

A: The most challenging part of the job hunt is the unknown. The added stress and fear can be a challenge. I wish I would’ve told myself to chill more, enjoy senior year, and have faith that as long as you work hard, everything will fall into place as it should.

Q: What was the biggest adjustment or adjustments for you going from college to full-time employment?

A: Time is not your own anymore. You can’t spend two hours a day on Netflix or decide to go run Town Lake in the middle of the day. Time is limited. So you learn to pick the things you enjoy and make those things a priority. You also learn to appreciate the weekends much more!!

Q: Do you have any advice for coping with these adjustments?

A: I would say to go into it knowing that it’s going to be tough. It is an adjustment, but once you find an occupation where you are fulfilled, it all becomes worth it.

Q: What are some of your current short-term goals?

A: I’d like to sell my first diamond engagement ring.

Q: Is there anything else about your college and career experience that you would like to add?

A: Time goes by way too fast. Cherish it. Go out on a Tuesday, stay up late chatting with your roommate, and have fun.

What are some questions you would like to see answered on future Real Life: College to Career posts? Comment below!

Real Life: My Internship Experience – Sana

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Who: Sana Noorani
Hometown: Houston, TX
Major: Management Information Systems
Q: Where did you work?
Q: What was the environment like there?
A: Research based. A lot of team work, friendly faces, and science experiments
Q: What is something you learned?
A: That research takes a long time to do, and that we need to appreciate the science behind things because it takes a long time to come up with accurate results. Additionally, it is important to be patient while working. The experiments such as gel electrophoresis can mess up if not tended with care.
Q: Is there anything you wish you had known before taking the job?
A: I would have liked to know how the internship would be laid out. It would have been easier for me to plan the experiments that were assigned to me with self-employed experiments I was also interested in doing. However, the assigned experiments took too much of my time, and I didn’t manage time wisely.
Q: Do you have any tips for college students who are looking for internships/jobs?
A: Many times, you do not know what you want to go into. That’s what internships are for. It helps you figure out whether or not you like a particular field of work. Even if you decide later that you do not want to go into that particular field anymore, you have not wasted your time because you are one step closer to figuring out what you want to do.
Don’t forget to follow @careeronward on Instagram! College students who follow us are entered for a chance to win a LinkedIn Makeover.

 

Real Life: College to Career – Sam

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Sam Demaree – Business Consultant

 

Name: Sam Demaree
Age: 23
College: Texas Christian University, May 2014 graduate
Company: Nextep – Professional Employer Organization
Job Title: Business Consultant
Place of residence: Fort Worth, Texas
Hobbies and interests: Business, Psychology, Wakeboarding

Q: Did you start college with a clear idea of what you wanted your major to be? If so, what did that look like and how did that change during your time in college?

A: Before entering my freshman year, I met with Brad Hancock, the head of the Entrepreneurial Management Department. Under his leadership, the program was ranked #6 in the country and was continually getting better. My father and grandfather are both business owners and starting a business is something I have wanted to do since I was a kid. I knew it would be a perfect fit. 

Q: Can you walk me through the detailed step-by-step process that you went through to get your first job out of college?

A: It was an extensive process for sure, but Lori MacNeill, founder of Career Onward, helped me every step of the way. We completely remodeled my resume and LinkedIn profile. She also educated me on the importance of LinkedIn and how to use the site, which is ultimately how I found my dream job. After my profile and resume were in great shape, I began applying to outside sales jobs in Fort Worth only since I wanted to live in this area. I knew I wanted to sell a product I was passionate about to executives in a wide range of industries. I also wanted to sell a product or service that I could apply to my own business five or ten years down the road. Without Lori’s weekly advice and her patience with my ever-changing vision of my future, there is no way I would be where I am today.

At Nextep, I sell PEO services to every industry imaginable in the Fort Worth area. I have presented the service to many executives and have established business relationships with people in over 200 companies. The knowledge I have gained plus my daily learning about human resources will be very applicable to owning a business of my own one day.

Q: What aspect of that process was most challenging or stressful for you? Looking back, what advice would you give to college students to make this aspect less challenging?

A: The most stressful times were around graduation when I had not found a job. My roommates and many friends all knew what they were doing after college and how much money they would be making, but I was still searching for my dream job. I went back to Arizona for a month to be with my family while I continued my search. In July, I drove back to Texas, but there were still limited outside sales jobs for college grads with companies I wanted to do work for in Fort Worth and I didn’t want to settle for inside sales. I was encouraged to stay positive and not settle. For college students searching for the dream job, I would recommend writing out exactly what you are looking for in a job and then re-writing what this looks like every day. I do this with every goal I have and it pays off tenfold. The key is having an action plan with specific steps so you know how to execute to get what you want.

Q: What was the biggest adjustment or adjustments for you going from college to full-time employment?

A: I am extremely lucky because the majority of my friends stayed in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. However, I would say the biggest adjustment is the consistent work. In college you can get away with missing a class every now and then, but in the real world you will be working more than 40 hours a week if you want to be successful. In fact, the number of hours over 40 that you work each week is the degree to which you will be successful, especially in the beginning.

Q: Do you have any advice for coping with these adjustments?

A: Find a company that not only provides a service or product that you are passionate about, but that also has great management and culture. While in college, I wrote a description of my ideal workplace and ideal manager, and with Lori’s help both of these became a reality. My manager, Breanna Honeycutt, invests ample time and energy into not only educating me on how to become the best salesman I can be, but also on how to progress in the business world. If you can find a mentor who highly values your future like she does, work will not feel like work and you will stay motivated during those long days.

Q: What are some of your current short-term goals?

A: Brian Tracy is a genius in the area of goal setting and I follow his method regularly. Here is a link to a PDF that shows exactly how to set goals that has changed my life.

http://media.briantracy.com/downloads/pdf/12stepgoalsettingprocess.pdf

Currently, my main goal is to become the first rookie to be the number one sales producer at Nextep. I am also in the process of finding a lake house with two close friends, along with a Wakeboard boat. Life on the lake has been my dream since high school, and less than a year out of college, I will be living it.

Q: Is there anything else about your college and career experience that you would like to add?

A: For students who are dealing with so many unknowns, I would say have faith and try to enjoy the process. Implement the habit of writing goals down every morning and take the time to figure out what your dream job looks like/feels like. Then, trust Lori’s process and have fun with it.

Also, be appreciative to all those who got you where you are today. College isn’t cheap and if my parents didn’t pave my academic road, I would not be living the dream life that I am today. I recommend sending a message of appreciation every now and then to those people who helped make your life possible.

Don’t forget to follow our Instagram @careeronward for a chance to win a free LinkedIn makeover!

Real Life: My Internship Experience – Leigh

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Who: Leigh Collyer
Hometown: Midland
Major: Public Relations
Internship: Social Media Marketing Intern at Social Factor
Q: What was the environment like there? 
A: The environment is very friendly, laid-back and collaborative. We all work in the same area and are constantly working together, bouncing off ideas and laughing.
Q: What is something you learned?
A: I have learned so much! Google Analytics, Spredfast, and Brandwatch just to name a few things. I also have become a better writer and learned how to take on a brand voice for each different client I am doing content for.
Q: Is there anything you wish you had known before taking the internship?
A: Not really. My classes at UT have done a great job at preparing me for my internships, and there is a ton of overlap between what I’m learning at school and what I am learning at my internship. My writing class and research class taught me many things that I use at Social Factor.
Q: Do you have any tips for college students who are looking for internships/jobs?
A: Keep applying! It can sometimes be frustrating when you don’t get a call back from a company you really liked, but internships are usually beneficial wherever you work. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new because you might end up liking it more! This is the time to explore and learn!

Real Life: College to Career – Emma

Emma Pence

Emma Pence, Staffing Manager

Name: Emma Pence
Age: 23
College: DePauw University, May 2014 graduate
Company: Elwood Staffing
Job Title: Staffing Manager
Place of residence: Denver, CO
Hobbies and interests: horseback riding, snowboarding, hiking, yoga.

Q: Did you start college with a clear idea of what you wanted your major to be? If so, what did that look like and how did that change during your time in college?

A: I had absolutely no idea what I wanted my major to be when I entered into college. I was never very interested in subjects like math or science, but knew I liked working with and being around people. I ended up choosing a major in Sociology and fell in love. Now, I work at a job where I can utilize my major on a daily basis. Sociology taught me how to better understand and communicate with all different types of people.

Q: Can you walk me through the detailed step-by-step process that you went through to get your first job out of college?

A: I applied to different types of jobs and a lot of them! Most I found through networking, LinkedIn, and researching businesses that I liked in the Denver area and then checking out the careers tab on their websites. I probably had about five interviews before I interviewed with Elwood Staffing. Once I found Elwood, it was roughly a four-week process before I actually got the offer. All in all, my job search took about 3 or 4 months. I was never in a hurry to find a position before I graduated college. I knew that I wanted to be in Denver, Colorado by August 2014 so I worked towards finding a job that would help me achieve that goal.

Q: What aspect of that process was most challenging or stressful for you? Looking back, what advice would you give to college students to make this aspect less challenging? 

A: One of the most stressful things about my job hunt was not hearing back from places I had applied to and the uncertainty of whether my application was even reviewed. The best advice I could give a recent grad to counteract this feeling is to know that everything is going to work out. The job hunt process is filled with lots of uncertainty and rejection, which can be very discouraging. It is easy to start feeling like your skills are not good enough and that you might not have what it takes to land a great job. Don’t give in to those feelings. For me especially, I didn’t have a specialized degree that I could use to land a specific job. I had to rely mainly on my interpersonal skills and personality. In the end, it all worked out and I got a job that fulfilled my end goals.

Q: What was the biggest adjustment or adjustments for you going from college to full-time employment?

A: Without question, the 8:00 am-5:00 pm Monday through Friday work schedule has been the biggest adjustment for me. In college, having 3 classes in one day was a struggle. Little did I know, that was probably the easiest schedule I will ever have! Even though working an 8:00 am-5:00 pm schedule is tiring, knowing that most of my friends are on the same schedule is reassuring.

Q: Do you have any advice for coping with these adjustments?

A: My advice would be to make sure you are managing your time well. I am usually very tired on the weekdays when I get home from work. It is important that I utilize my time well to make sure I can get everything done that needs to be done during a week’s time.

Q: Is there anything else about your college and career experience that you would like to add? 

A: I just want to reiterate how beneficial networking can be. Whether it is with college alumni, friends of your parents, relatives of distant friends, or whoever, networking is an awesome way to make progress in the job search process. That is originally how I got introduced to Elwood Staffing. Finding a job is affected greatly by who you know and networking is a great way to expand your contact base.

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Real Life: College to Career – Jenna

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Jenna Green, Account Executive

Name: Jenna Green
Age: 23
College: Auburn University, May 2014 graduate
Company: Levenson Group
Job Title: Account Executive
Place of residence: Dallas, TX
Hobbies and Interests: Exercising, cooking & baking, shopping, being with friends and family, traveling

Q: Did you start college with a clear idea of what you wanted your major to be? If so, what did that look like and how did that change during your time in college?

A: I started college as a Public Relations major. After one semester, I decided to switch to communication. My advisor told me that people who majored in Public Relations had to take more hours than communication majors and I would not have the time to fit in a minor. Auburn provided a minor within the English department called “technical and professional communication” which changed to “professional and public writing” by the time I graduated. I was very interested in adding that minor to my curriculum, so I switched my major to communication which ended up being a great decision.

Q: Can you walk me through the detailed step-by-step process that you went through to get your first job out of college? 

A: My major required a three hour credited internship. I came back home to Dallas in Summer 2014 to intern in the entertainment department at Levenson Group, where I am currently employed. Throughout my three month internship, I was crossing my fingers that there would be a position available for me by the time the internship ended. However, nothing was certain, so I applied for several jobs throughout my internship experience. I started by using several job search websites, but I also reached out to family and friends in Dallas. I interviewed for one job which was sales related, but realized after the interview that the position was not for me. In mid-July, just as my internship was coming to a close, my supervisor offered me a position at Levenson and I accepted the next day.

Q: What aspect of that process was most challenging or stressful for you? Looking back, what advice would you give to college students to make this aspect less challenging?

A: One of the most challenging parts of the job search was having patience. I would apply for several jobs at a time and would worry or become frustrated when I would not hear back right away. Now that I am employed, I understand that everyone is busy with his or her own work and getting back to people takes time. Another part of the process that was stressful was not knowing exactly what a company was looking for. On some websites, the companies would describe what the position available was about, but not all of the requirements. Because I had just graduated college and had very little experience, it was important to me to see specific requirements, because many jobs wanted applicants to have several years of experience. I would advise college students to be patient and start early. The earlier you start looking for a job, the more time you give yourself to understand the whole process and research what jobs would best suit you.

Q: What was the biggest adjustment or adjustments for you going from college to full-time employment?

A: The biggest adjustment for me is the hours. In college, I had classes at all different times and had lots of down time to study or do things with friends. Learning to get up early each morning and look presentable and professional for work is a big adjustment. Also, knowing that you might not get to leave after an 8 to 9 hour workday or at an exact time has been an adjustment. I work many long hours in my job, so having to plan my schedule to fit in errands, exercise, etc. has ben difficult and one of the biggest changes to my lifestyle. Another adjustment is learning how to complete tasks quickly. In college, if I got a text message or email from a friend, I would take my time responding. However, in the working world I am learning the importance of getting back to the client or my colleagues right away because it shows that you are value their time and are prioritizing their request.

Q: Do you have any advice for coping with these adjustments?

A: I would advise college students to start setting their alarms earlier their last semester of college to begin preparing both your body and your mind for early mornings and long days. It would also be beneficial to start dressing nicely for class, if you don’t already, so you get used to making yourself look presentable and professional each day.

Q: What are some of your current short-term goals?

A: One of my goals is to keep networking in this field to meet as many people as possible. I want to constantly develop new relationships, build deeper ones, and learn from people in my industry. I think that the more people you know, the better chances you have for great opportunities down the road.

Q: Is there anything else about your college and career experience that you would like to add?

A: For me, finding the perfect major and minor helped me really enjoy my classes at Auburn because I was so interested in what I was learning. I think it is very important to love what you are studying, because if you end up in a career that involves your studies, you will be very happy after college.

What questions would you want to see answered on our Real Life: College to Career series? Leave your comments below!

How Long Does it Take to Get a Job?

One of the most frequently asked questions I get from a college senior is, “How long does it take to get a job?”

The answer:  74.9 days

Within the college hiring process, there are 3 distinct cycle times:

  • Job posting to interview cycle:  38.7 days
  • Interview to offer cycle:  22.9 days
  • Offer to acceptance cycle:  13.3 days

As you can see from these results, patience REALLY is a virtue.

* Data from the 2014 National Association of Colleges and Employers Recruiting Survey

Hiring From the Employer’s Perspective Part 2: The Selection (how you get picked as the ONE to hire)

As we discussed in Part 1, we want to walk you through the hiring process.

We covered the Job Search first, now we want to discuss The Selection.

A recent survey was done by Inc. magazine and the results published in their article, Where Money Meets Morale, where they asked America’s fastest growing companies how they hire and retain their best employees.

Selection Results:

  • Not surprisingly, the interview is the #1 factor that determines who gets hired – 42%
  • A close second is the subjective assessment for cultural fit – 30%
  • Recommendation from a peer/co-worker – 13%
  • Experience on resume – 5%
  • References – 2%

What does this mean for college students and recent grads?

Interviewing does not come naturally for most people (like public speaking) so practice, practice, and more practice is critical to increase confidence.

Regarding “cultural fit,” this is new for most students and can be heartbreaking if it’s not understood.  Up to this point, students have achieved “success” based on GPA, volunteer and work experience, and willingness to “go for it” in terms of traveling abroad, running for office, or trying something new.

For employers, many students have equivalent academic and extra curricular experience, so they need to assess and differentiate students based on how effectively the student will perform in their work environment.  If a student does not get the job, it is not a referendum on the student’s credentials.  It’s important that parents remind their kids on this often misunderstood but key point.