Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Your Career and You: "Jobs Don't Wait for YOU"

As we hobble toward the end of the fall semester at Curry College, where I ride herd over the Public Relations concentration and teach most of the PR courses, I seem to be having more frequent conversations with students who are desperately trying to secure an internship for the spring.

It’s not like this is a new thing…I’ve been bugging them since September to get their stuff together and start planning for the future.

“Go online and look at what’s listed in Career Services”… “What are you interested in?” … “Stop by my office for a chat.”

Wishful thinking, Kirk. For the most part, this advice fell on stone-deaf ears…

…until spring course selection time rolled around.

Suddenly the air was filled with the panic-tinged wails of would-be interns who had nada.

Nothing. Zero. Zipperoonie.

Yet, when asked if they had looked online at possibilities, the response was “Oh, no. I haven’t gotten around to that yet.”

When asked if they had given any thought to areas of interest, the response was “Oh, I really don’t know…anything, I guess.”

Comes the killer question: “How’s your resume? Do you have that ready to go?”

And the response, “We’ve been working on that in our [internship prep] class.”

In other words, we’re sitting here now talking about something that should have been done yesterday, and you’re saying you’ll probably get it done tomorrow!

Here we go again…Where’s the disconnect?

I’ve been doing a lot of online commentary about the immediacy of communication today. Things are moving at warp speed, especially in the public relations area.

(Sidebar: I actually had a student last week who was planning to mail her resume and cover letter to potential internship sites! How quaintly Emily Dickinson-ish!)

So back to the “triggering event.”

One of my troops…with whom, by the way, I’ve been having pretty regular chats about applying for internships…informed me that the internship that she really wanted (or so she said nearly a month ago) was “already filled.”

When did she send in her application??

Two days before this revelation!

Not a month ago, when we first chatted. Not two weeks ago, when we chatted yet again.

Nope…two days ago!!

So now she’s scrambling once again since she has set up her spring course schedule to leave room for this crucial step in her preparation for a future career in public relations.

Don’t know what else I can do. Nagging doesn’t seem to have much effect. I’m not into out-and-out yelling, although I probably should start training.

We’ll sort this quandary somehow. But we shouldn’t be in this position to begin with.

The solution is a two-sided remedy.

First, I’m going to morph from the nice guy who gently urges you to take those actions that I know from personal experience will benefit your search to the fire-breathing pain in the tuchus who will haunt your every waking moment.

Second, you’re going to start reporting weekly (at a minimum) on your outreach activities starting the second week of the new semester.

Comes the plaintive whimper, “Why?”

Because life…and good opportunities…don’t sit around waiting for you to act.

Tomorrow isn’t 24 hours away anymore.

The future, whether you want it to be or not, is now.

“Often do the spirits
Of great events stride on before the events,
And in today already walks tomorrow.”
Schiller, “Wallenstein” [1799-1800], pt. II, act V, sc. 1


  1. Don't make professor Hazlett mad kids. The world has enough fire-breathing pains in the tuchus. Besides, he's absolutely right. Create your own opportunities.

  2. You got it, Larry! Better they hear it from you than from me! Happy Thanksgiving!! ~ Kirk

  3. Unfortunately, the struggle to find a job or internship is not confined to students. Many people of all ages are not comfortable with what it takes to secure a job: a plan, networking, resume and LinkedIn profile, follow up, and persistence. Why is this difficult? Careers are not easy and they require selling oneself and connecting with strangers. And, too few people are willing to help seekers find an opportunity.

  4. You're very right, and I can identify totally with the discomfort in "selling" myself as a viable candidate for a job. I had to force myself to "get out there" in the beginning, but I found that it became easier...almost pleasant...the more I did it.

    You're right, too, about the unwillingness of some people to help others who are looking for an opportunity. That's why I recommend as often as possible affiliation with professional organizations (for me, in the Boston area, it's the Boston Chapter, PRSA, and the Publicity Club of New England, for starters) so that there's a common link that you can leverage.

    Thanks for the tip on LinkedIn...I'm finding that more and more of my students (and others) are learning the value of that online professional connection.

    I really appreciate your feedback and very helpful suggestions...I hope others take advantage of your advice!

  5. If you are about to complete your studies and will look for job in few months then you must read resume writing service reviews now as you have to be quick in applying on jobs. IF you will get late in applying then your chances of selection will be too low as compared to the candidates who went timely.