It is January 26th, and it is absolutely NOT too late to find an internship for this upcoming summer! It goes without saying that anyone who was able to secure a summer internship this past fall is happy and relaxed where the job search is concerned, but those of you still seeking are not considered members of the unemployable club by any stretch of the imagination.
Considering our current economy, most companies are just now finalizing their budgets which includes dollar allotment for interns. Some companies will not know whether interns are possible for their organization until even March or April. It is not time to panic. What it is time for, however, is action. The very last thing you should do is wait for internship opportunities to fall in your lap. You have to chase potential internship opportunities and make sure you are positioned to market yourself as the best candidate.
I challenge everyone reading this blog to energize and engage. Attend every possible event which allows you face to face time with employers. Engage with professionals on LinkedIn and Twitter and be sure to network with mentors and professional experts in your chosen career field. Do not let yourself think much less say that you are too busy to balance a heavy academic course load and effectively execute an active job search. You can do both, but you have to plan your work and work your plan.
Connecting with business professionals can take time and turning those connections to possible job leads can take even more time and more energy. I always say that you can conduct an effective job search part time, but you can not do it in your spare time. The spring semester will be over before you know it. Start networking, research new connections, attend career related events and much more.
When you find yourself getting discouraged, reach out to your career services advisor. It is not too late to find an internship for this summer. Use the time you carve out for your job search on strategizing and executing your plan of action.
Everyone begins an MBA program for the same basic reason: to take their careers to a new level whether that is field, industry, or level of positions. At Texas A&M University, we meet with every one of our new students individually to talk about their future careers short and long term. One area of the job search that many students do not expect to be a challenge is the ability to find the time to perform an effective job search in conjunction with a comprehensive academic program. I have listed a few tips to overcome the timing issue for MBA job seekers.
You can work on your job search part time but not in your spare time: It is important that you carve time out of your schedule each week and treat it like a class or meeting you cannot cancel or reschedule. Do not be flexible with this schedule. It’s the same as being flexible with a workout—once you start making excuses; you will find the commitment falling by the way side.
Plan your work and work your plan: Know what you are going to do during your job search “class time” each week. Just like your academic class or business presentation, you have to prepare. Know what you are going to do. Set an agenda, and keep to that agenda. And do not forget to end every session with a plan of what to do next. If you sit down to work on your job search without an organized plan you have created beforehand, you will spend your time planning as opposed to executing.
Create an accountability group and give these people the right to hold your feet to the fire concerning your job search. You need people who will not only encourage and mentor you through your job search but also tell you when you need to pick yourself up by the bootstraps and get to work. I highly recommend you read Keith Ferrazzi’s Who’s Got Your Back to learn how to effectively create accountability partners.
If your ultimate goal after graduation is to be employed, then you have to succeed both in your academics and job search. You cannot afford wasted time on either side of that fence, thus working smarter not harder is imperative to achieve both your MBA degree as well as successful employment.
Yes, I am mocking Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. I wonder how many readers will have this movie line in their minds for the rest of the day. I know I will.
Let’s face it when we are looking for employment, we want a job now – right now as a matter of fact. The thought of the lengthy process of networking, writing resumes, writing cover letters, interviewing, and everything else involved is daunting.
The most important thing to realize about the job search and career management is that it is a process not a task. It’s a marathon; not a sprint. Starting a new job is a major life change. Major life changes and the decisions leading up to the change do and should take time.
Be prepared for a job search that could last months. Prepare for those times that your energy and patience will be low. Create a “cheerleading” squad if you will to pull you out of that valley and keep you focused through this marathon. You want to avoid being exhausted in your job search and seeming desperate. Create a support system to keep you fresh and energetic.
Don’t let yourself be a Veruca Salt in your job search. You know what happened to Veruca right?
How many times did your mother tell you to put your shoes on (and tie them) before you went to school? We still do the same thing everyday before leaving our homes. It is what we do as part of getting ready each day.
When it comes to networking, too many of us we will do that during our free time during each week. I don’t know about you, but that time never comes for me. So, what are we doing wrong? We aren’t putting on our shoes to get the work done. We are lounging on that comfy sofa in our minds and truly putting off the most important part of successful career management.
My challenge to you today is to put on your shoes and get networking. Whether we are in the job search or the workforce, networking is imperative to our career success. But, you have to be ready to be effective.
Right now, and I mean right now, grab a sheet of paper and jot down five of your current colleagues or potential leads you have meant to contact and frankly haven’t.
Write down next to each person what you need to do to make this connection. Do you already have their contact information handy and just need to pick up the phone or open a new email? Do you need to research this person’s background and mutual connections to be ready to talk about employment opportunities?
Open your calendar and make five calendar blocks next week. During each of those time blocks, schedule yourself a time to do what you wrote down in step #2. Do you need to draft an email text, make phone calls, prepare and research? Do not reschedule these appointments. Treat them as meetings you cannot change.
Every day next week put your shoes on complete each meeting time’s assigned task. I challenge you to treat this project as something you would present to your boss. The purpose is to reap benefits and results.
At the end of next week, write down the results of your efforts and start making plans for the next week on what to do next. You may have received a call back or response to an email from the other party or maybe you didn’t. Whatever the result, plan for what you need to do the next week. If unsure, ask for advice.
The idea is to get in the habit of managing your time and making good on your promise to be a better networker.
Networking is not something you can do in your spare time. Networking is not something you do only when you need something right now. Networking is a lifestyle.
Just as when we were kids, we have to put our shoes on and be ready to network.