Career Resources

Monday, April 15, 2013

Perseverance is key in reaching your job search finish line!

Today is the 117th running of the Boston Marathon, and it got me to thinking about the similarities between running a marathon and looking for an internship or job.

I have been working for several months now with a junior who is trying to find a summer internship. Every week, he comes into my office to provide an update about his internship search activities. He proudly opens up his laptop to display the neatly organized Excel spreadsheet depicting all the details of the internships he has applied for.

Some weeks he has exciting news about an alum agreeing to do an informational interview or the fact that he got a phone screen for an internship at a really cool company. Other weeks he shares the discouraging news of losing out on his dream internship to someone who had more experience. Most weeks I can offer him another idea: a new internship posting that just came in or the name of another alum that he can reach out to. Admittedly, there are some weeks when I am out of ideas and have to say something like, "Just keep on doing what you're doing, and I know something will break for you." Often I feel that these words ring hollow to students, but I know they are true because I've seen it happen so many times before. However, this student quickly reassures me, "Oh, I'm fine with it." I admire that about him and his constant ability to quickly get back in the saddle again.

Just a few weeks ago, a senior I've been working with a quite a bit was in my office and feeling really down because she had been doing everything right and nothing had yet materialized for her. Having already perfected her resume, cover letters and LinkedIn profile, as well as honing her interviewing technique, there was nothing more I could offer this student than to say, "I know this is difficult for you, but something will happen soon," as she dejectedly walked out of my office. And something did break for her - actually multiple things! Just a week later, she had three interviews lined up.

I have no doubt that many marathoners are going to feel like giving up today, especially when they reach the infamous Heartbreak Hill, but most of them will persevere past that point to victoriously cross the finish line in Copley Square. Currently, I am training for my own marathon of sorts - a 45 mile pilgrimage over three days. While on the road yesterday, I had this thought, "Just when you think you can't go any farther, you can." It amazed me that my feet kept walking even when my head was saying, "No, I can't do this."

The junior I mentioned above came in last week to tell me that he now had two internship offers and one was at his dream company! I was thrilled to see that all of his hard work and perseverance had finally paid off, and I can assure you that the same thing will happen for you as long as you keep steady on the path.

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