In the past 10 weeks, I have talked to many professionals at PayScale and other companies around the United States. I had a great time learning about each of their career paths and hearing their advice to people—such as myself—who are about to enter the job market for the first time. I also found it interesting to learn what day-to-day work looks like in these positions.
As I begin my search for a job in the coming months, I will certainly draw from the knowledge and experiences of these people—and it is my hope that other people will benefit from what I’ve passed along in these blog posts.
The people I met with come from all sorts of backgrounds and work in different industries and roles, but I noticed a lot of similarity in the advice they shared with me. In my final post of the summer—before heading back to Santa Clara for my senior year—I want to summarize some of my takeaways from these interviews and share some last thoughts about this project.
Take Ownership of Your Career
Everyone I talked to this summer had some sort of pivot in their career paths—and every pivot was self-initiated. Even when you have mentors and managers to steer you in the right direction, at the end of the day it is up to you to create your own opportunities and make the most of your career.
It was also clear from my conversations that everyone I talked to was enthusiastic about and genuinely interested in their work. I think that their passion for their work is a large contributor to their success.
Even when you have mentors to guide you, it's up to you to create your own opportunities.
Use Setbacks as Learning Opportunities
Most people will experience a setback in their careers at some point. Some of these setbacks will be due to mistakes you’ve made and others will be out of your control. All you can do is move on and learn from the experience.
Never Stop Learning
Perhaps my most important takeaway from these conversations is that education and learning do not stop after college graduation. Although what you study in college is important, you are never locked into a specific career path if you are willing to devote time to learning new skills.
After talking to all these people, I now have much more confidence headed into my senior year of college and graduation next spring. Although I still don’t have a concrete plan for what’s next, it is comforting to know that everyone I talked to managed to have successful careers despite making at least one major career change. I hope that by continuing to follow my passions, I will find a career that I enjoy and am engaged by—even if that career doesn’t align with my current interests.
Catch up on Intern Tuesdays:
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