do cool things also praise interns

Posted on December 22, 2015

I had a student email me recently, concerned that they would not have a job after 4 years of university. He was wondering how one goes about making sure they get hired, so I figured I would talk more about what I actually did during university besides just getting my degree.

Networking (DUH)

If you hadn’t figured out that I was never going to stop telling you to network… well, Jesus, what is wrong with you. This is what I credit with actually getting me my job. I went to numerous events as I have said on this blog a lot. I eventually met my boss yadda yadda, but everything else in this article was the shit I talked about at those events!

Competitions

Competitions are a great way to show off the skills that you are building in class to professionals. In my first years in school I never really paid much attention to these. Honestly, I think this was my biggest mistake. I spent my last 2 years doing business plans and case competitions because I lucked out and had a few professors actually push me to show off my skills. I took part in the Apex business plan competition, Are you Smarter than a CEO, and What”s the Big Idea.

APEX showcased a business that I had written with other students and had us pitch the presentation to a crowd of 70+ people. A number of those people were local CEOs, founders and top level management as well as like minded students (some of which I still talk to).

Case competitions are a bit different and actually are a lot easier in my mind to jump into. You enter with a team and are given cases to work with and apply your skills to them rather than use your skills to create everything from square one. They are still fantastic ways to show off your skills and often times have corporate sponsors.

Challenging Classes

Professors have connections, not all, but some, and if you take on cool shit in class and impress them, then they may present you to people who may hire you. Also, cool shit gets you noticed and makes you excited about your field and that is a huge, huge deal. I ran a company off 10 bucks, I consulted for a local Web Development firm on HR related issues and I wrote a business plan that turned into a real company (yeah that”s underwear).

Entrepreneurship

I ran a few small companies from scrap metal (long story) to comedy shows and even an SEO firm which eventually lead to my hatred of SEO and my love of community management and social media (which is how I figured out what I wanted to do). While you don”t need to go as far as I did, you need to do something that makes you seem different, something that will make you stand out. It can be a blog, a project, a charity event, a hackathon, an open source project, anything! You get it. Well, hopefully you get it.

Co-op, Internships, REAL WORK

This is one of those things that I actually didn’t do and honestly I think I got lucky because doing real work in other peoples companies is probably the most direct path to employment. What you are doing is getting experience before you actually enter the real working world. The perfect example of someone who did this was my¬†former intern Hannah. Hannah had been working for us but wanted to take on a larger role. She worked in our office while in her second year and while doing that also went and did job shadowing of people at local marketing agencies. She then spent this summer doing intern work at one of the marketing firms. Now she will be finishing school soon and will not only be leaving with a degree, but she will also be leaving with over a years worth of experience AND contacts that can help her get a job. Also it should be noted that I can attest to this having happened as more than once has her work and ability been brought up to me while out at networking events!

TL:DR

I tell you to network again

I also tell you other things that can make you stand out

I praise the shit out of my old intern

So much praise!

That”s about it


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