I hardly ever play the lottery, but the jackpot for the Mass Mega Millions game last Friday night was beckoning me at $144,000,000, not because of the sheer number of millions I could potentially win but because 4's and 1's are "my numbers," and I felt it was a sign that I should play. The next day I eagerly went to the Mass State Lottery website and discovered I hadn't matched any numbers out of five quick picks. That wasn't the worst of it. Right below the winning numbers I saw that the probability of winning the jackpot was 1 in 175,711,536! Wow! But you know the saying, "If you don't play, you can't win."
So, you're probably wondering...what does playing the lottery have to do with career counseling? Well, if you win the Mega Millions, you won't ever need to look for a job again! Just kidding! Some students I meet with seem to believe that the odds of getting a job are as slim as winning the Mega Millions jackpot and make a decision to not even apply to some positions based on their pre-conceived suppositions. They say things like, "that job is so competitive," or "so many people are going to be applying for that job," or "I bet the other candidates have better GPA's than me." It's amazing to me how many students create myths in their minds about why they won't get the job. I always say to them, "Why are YOU taking yourself out of the running without even applying? Let the company make the decision as to whether or not you're a good candidate." Just like you can't win the lottery if you don't play, you can't get the job if you don't apply! But unlike playing the lottery, the odds are much, much greater that you'll get an interview and land the job, and you don't even have to pay any money!
Also, the odds of landing a job greatly increase the more jobs you apply to so don't just sit back after applying for 10, or 15 or 20 jobs and think you're done. And please don't give up if you haven't heard anything from those first companies you applied to. Keep on applying! What have you got to lose? The odds are in your favor.