How My College is Preparing Me for My Career

student talking with professional at internship expo

This blog was written by Abigail Crooks, ’20.

When starting your college search, naturally the first thing that comes to mind is the quality of education. While the education you receive in college will prepare you for the workplace, you also need the tools to get to the actual workplace – because choosing the right school with the right resources will set you up for success not only while you’re in college, but also after you graduate.

Bottom line: Your future is closer than you think, so these resources should be part of what you consider when weighing your college choice.

Read on to learn about some of the ways Meredith has set me up for career success.

The First Step

Taking that life-changing step to go to college is exciting (and sometimes scary). But once you get settled at your new home-away-from-home, it is never too soon to start looking into internships – often the first step toward finding a job. Many colleges, including Meredith, host internship fairs, usually in the fall and the spring. The best way to start looking for internships is through these connections!

To help Meredith students like me succeed, we have a campus resource called the Office of Career Planning (OCP). From a student’s perspective, there is nothing they cannot do in the realm of getting you ready for internships, jobs, or even setting up your professional profile. From reviewing your resume to helping you explore possible careers, the professionals at OCP are my go-to resource. And the best part is students and alumnae are able to use these services for as long as they see fit. Even after you graduate, you can always go back to Meredith for help. With resources like these, our students and alums head out to the job search with full confidence knowing they are prepared.

Practice Makes Perfect

In my experience, you need to treat the internship search like a college class. Apply the same techniques to searching for an internship as you do studying for a test. Doing your background research on the company and position you are applying for is vital. And, just like studying for a test, you need to go over all of your resources and do practice tests, or interviews in this case. With the help of OCP, I was able to hone my interview skills through mock interviews with alumnae and actual employers. Meredith’s OCP also offers individual interview coaching by their career counselors, as well as an online course on interview strategies.

The most important thing to remember when applying to internships is that you will not be accepted to each one. Rejection can be hard – no matter who you are. Your grades might be stellar, as well as your extracurriculars, but there are no guarantees. That’s why making sure you are prepared to handle rejection is one of the most important skills to practice.

When I was doing my internship search, I applied to a LOT of internships, many of which I found using Handshake, the platform OCP uses to post jobs and internships. I knew at the time I wasn’t going to get offers from all 28 of them, but I wanted to be rejected from a few just to practice. You wouldn’t think you’d need to practice a thing like being rejected, but weirdly it builds confidence and self-assurance when applying to larger internships and jobs. As someone who was terrified of rejection, this tactic helped build my self-confidence and self-assurance, which eventually helped me land my internship at a Fortune 100 Tech Company.

The Beauty of Networking

To many students, “networking” can be a word that makes them think about standing in a stuffy room with older professionals and making small talk. However, at Meredith, the students pride themselves on knowing how and when to network thanks, in large part, to our faculty and OCP. Not only does OCP encourage and facilitate networking through platforms like LinkedIn and Handshake, they provide students with numerous in-person events for networking practice and career opportunities. In addition, OCP and Alumnae Relations often collaborate to develop various alumnae networking events throughout each year.

You can also connect virtually with alumnae via the LinkedIn Alumni Search tool. The same way you can connect with your peers, you can connect with the companies you might be interested in. And Meredith has a new platform called Meredith Mentors that connects members of the Meredith College community to develop personal and professional networking opportunities. You can find a mentor, seek professional advice, connect with alumnae in your field, and more!

An additional networking tool specific to Meredith women is our class ring, the Onyx, also known as “the ring that binds us.” As a current student, I’ve already heard countless stories of both current and former students bumping into each other randomly throughout the world only to notice each other’s Onyx and immediately strike up a conversation. Doing interviews for internships in the fall, I always made sure I wore my ring – you never know who you might meet!

While there are many things to consider when you are looking for the right college, your professional future is one of the most important to consider. It is not as far away as you might think! Attending a college that provides you with a multitude of opportunities to not only advance within the institution, but advance and thrive once you leave it is priceless. Meredith College offers internship search guidance, career planning support, and networking events inside and out of the college. These tools will help build the confidence you need to succeed in the professional world, so be sure to ask about them when you’re visiting colleges.

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in April 2019 and was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Since the original post, Abigail was hired for a position with Cisco – months before her graduation. Read more about her Meredith experience, including her internship and career path, in her Strong Story.

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