Guest Blogger Angela Brown, Ohio State
Nobody will hand you a job, internship or externship. This is a hard truth that we have to face in this economy; you need to actively seek the experience you want. Many colleges offer internships or co-ops through career services, but often those opportunities are for course credit and unpaid. If you have the chance to intern with the university, I think it’s an incredible opportunity. However, if you are like me and have recently finished school, you may not be able to take advantage of the career services. I’ve found that the next best way to seek these internships and jobs is to network with people in the field.
Networking has netted me every job that I’ve enjoyed. Sure, I’ve spent time interviewing for jobs and I’ve had some valuable job experiences with positions from traditional interviewing, but networking allowed me to work with the people whom I wanted to work with, doing something I loved to do. Here’s a secret that’s not so secret: people like working with people they know, especially those who will do a good job.
Kappa Kappa Gamma prepares us for the challenge of networking. Does anyone remember Recruitment? Members learn valuable tools for life during recruitment workshops, and are given many rounds to practice their skills. Recruitment teaches us to ask questions, connect with people and find common interests. Recruitment also teaches us to share information in a way that furthers the discussion. Your ability to gracefully interact with others is a valuable job skill, and one that will make future employers take note.
Additionally, one of the best things you can do as a new graduate, someone seeking a job change or someone reentering the workforce years after college is to join a Kappa Kappa Gamma alumnae association in your area. You already have a built-in network of Kappa women who want to support their sisters. Every year, scores of women join in our special bond of sisterhood, but few of them realize the potential network available to them once they graduate. Kappa works diligently to keep updated membership information, and many women have included their profession in their Kappa profiles.
Utilize your networks. Ask around and find a mentor. Research the career path you want and speak to men and women who have followed a similar path. Get involved in the local activities. People want to work with people willing to take calculated risks. Networking is a risk, but it also shows that you are willing to step out there and make an effort.
Again, nobody will hand you a job or internship. You must actively seek the role you want. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start talking to people. Ask someone to coffee, and pick his or her brain for more information. The worst thing they could say is no, but it’s always a no until you ask!