Without question, these are difficult times for students and graduates. But the truly creative and enterprising student or grad, will produce opportunities for themselves despite the sluggish economy. Here is what three people—one student and two graduates—are doing to get the experience they need for future work.
Angela graduated from a top liberal arts college with a degree in Biology. Currently, she is a research assistant for a major university. She likes her job, but she dreams of being an editor someday. Her one dilemma is that she doesn’t want to live in a large city like New York, Boston, or San Francisco, where most major publishers are located. So, Angela is collaborating with a team of authors represented by a variety of publishers. She is working as a graduate editor on one book, which allows her to learn the process of publishing from beginning to end, while maintaining her day job. This extra job tacks on an additional ten to fifteen hours to her workweek, but by June, Angela
will have compiled a portfolio of her work, including letters from the authors and a book crediting her for her contributions. With that in hand, she confidently can contact major publishers in biology to be a freelance developmental editor from her location of choice.
Kim graduated from a state school in New Mexico. She now works for a major airline in customer service, but it is not her job of choice. Her ultimate desire is to enter the marketing field. With this goal in mind, she is working to build her sales, public relations and marketing skills. Kim joined forces after hours with a company to prepare marketing presentations and promotional materials, opportunities not afforded to her by her current job. Within a few months, she will have helped produce several presentations, brochures, and other printed materials. She may be able to get a marketing job with her current employer, or she may opt to join another company’s marketing department.
AJ is a senior in college. She is considering a master’s degree in counseling or social work, but is not yet sure which to pursue. In the meantime, AJ works for a company that provides scholarship opportunities to low income and disadvantaged students. She is learning first-hand about agencies for which she might work someday. More importantly, she is able to look within herself and compare what it takes to succeed in her dream field with the qualities she already has and the skills she needs to acquire. She is also in the process of interviewing several people with degrees in counseling and social work. This will give her more information about her career interests on which to base her decision. Eventually, she will know which field she is called to pursue—and why. In the above examples, you see three pictures of what career success looks like. To keep your career moving forward you’ll need a dream, a strong work ethic, and a passion to succeed.