We are three weeks away from Thanksgiving, which for most of all means turkey and football, but for a MBA student it means internship application time. I don’t want to bore you with my tales of online applications and waiting impatiently to hear back from companies. Rather, I wanted to touch on the notion of serendipity, or as Susan would call it “guided-drift,” in the career search.
If it’s one thing that I continue to learn about discovering what you want to do, is, that if you put your want or desire out to the world, chances are, that the world will answer your call in one way or another. I’m not saying that a career will be delivered to you in a nice little UPS box tied with a bow, but you will be met by someone at some point who will help to link what you have done to what you want to do.
I’ve attended a number of corporate information sessions and career planning series since starting school . The people who have found the most success and who continue to grow in their careers are the ones who constantly keep their eyes and ears open to the world around them.
I feel like I keep hearing the same story over and over again from dozens of these successful people. They go to college, they come out of school without an idea of what they want to do, they get their first job and from there they meet and talk to as many people as they can and find their next job, then their next job and so one.
This may sound like these individuals are just the most extroverted people you could meet, but I don’t think this is the case. I think they possess the ability to lead a conversation, explain clearly whom they are, what they do and where they want to go and most importantly, they ask the right questions.
I’ve taken this approach in my own networking to help figure out where I want to go. I would like to offer some thoughts on how to make the ideas serendipity and guided-drift work for you.
First, know your story. Practice that elevator pitch and know how to deliver it with confidence.
Second, know how to ask questions that start good conversations. ‘Yes’ and ‘no’ questions don’t cut it here. Be a conversation starter not a conversation killer.
Third (and finally), have no fear when putting yourself out there. This may sound hokey and cliché but it’s true.
My father always told me “what’s the worst thing that someone can tell you? ‘No.’” If you think about it, it is true. Someone tells you “no” or doesn’t respond – move on and don’t take it personally. There are plenty of other people out there the world wants to offer you.
Until next time, have a great Thanksgiving!