(Jas’ note: I’m thrilled to have Alex Crispino guest post on the blog today. She’s a fellow Temple Owl and someone I’m proud to call a colleague. She never backed down during her job search challenges and her story is something everyone can learn from.)
As a senior in college, I started my job search early, thinking I would find my dream job right after graduation. Most of my friends did the same. We worked hard during college and felt prepared to enter the real world. But, honestly, nothing prepares you for that.
Both graduating college and job searching bring a wave of emotions. You feel excited to start your life, but you’re also terrified that you will fail. My job search started in March 2012 and did not end until November 2012 when I landed my first job. Here are the three major lessons I learned, thanks to that process.
- Know Yourself: When I started job searching, I was so desperate for any job, that anywhere I applied, I either wasn’t qualified for or I didn’t like. You must know yourself, what you are passionate about, and the general direction you’d like your life to go in.
- Be Flexible: Yes, you can be somewhat picky. But, you must have an open mind, apply to jobs that utilize your skillset and are interesting. I thought I would only have a job in PR. However, my current position has little to do with PR. That doesn’t mean I don’t find it interesting and I use tools from my PR toolkit daily.
- See the Bigger Picture: Landing your first job out of college is very important. Of course, your goal should be to find a job you love that supports what you studied in school. But, your life, your existence, should not be defined by this first job. Your career will be filled with jobs, successes, failures and constant changes. Stay grounded and remember work is just a part of your life.
My job search taught me so much about who I am and what I want out of my life. I learned that you never truly know what you want and that’s okay. Each day with each job, you must work to better yourself. If you don’t continue to challenge yourself and set higher goals, you will become stagnant.
My job search became a soul searching mission. It helped me to align my professional goals with my personal ones as well as showed me my true strengths and weaknesses. Despite unemployment, I am grateful for my post-graduate journey and learned so much during the process.
Alex Crispino graduated from Temple University in 2012 and currently works at Pricewaterhouse Coopers as a Learning and Development Consultant. While at Temple, Alex was Director of PR for PRSSA, an Account Executive for PRowl Public Relations and a Resident Assistant. She currently lives in New Jersey, but enjoys working in New York City. You can follow Alex on Twitter, @AlexCharli and her blog, Rockstar in Training.
On Monday night, Feb. 18, various PR pros gathered for the HAPPO chat on Twitter. The HAPPO community are PR folks from around the country who help new and current pros with career guidance and information on the job market. HAPPO was co-founded by Arik Hanson and Valerie Simon in 2010 and, since then, has helped many a pro. I’m lucky to be part of HAPPO as Buffalo, N.Y.’s champion.
Monday night’s Twitter chat focused on how to build and sustain a mentor in public relations. I couldn’t have been more excited about this because I enjoy being a mentor to future and current pros. Whether it is a simple phone chat or reviewing a resume, your advice and guidance can be invaluable. What makes a good mentor? Here are my five things that I believe do.
1.) Trust- There’s no doubt that trust is the first one here. If you don’t trust your mentee or they don’t trust you, there’s no relationship. Understand that your actions (on both sides) will help shape the future. If you show a potential mentee that trust doesn’t matter, you’ve failed.
2.) Honesty- It doesn’t help you or your mentee if you just sugar coat everything. Be honest in your assessment of their resume, cover letter, approach to interviews, etc. Your mentee should want that honesty because it’s going to help them in the future.
3.) Make the time- If you agree to mentor someone, stick to it. Don’t say you’ll talk and then blow them off. It shows that not only are you disingenuous, but may also hurt your relationships with others.
4.) Touch base often- If I haven’t heard from a mentee or chatted in a few weeks, I’ll reach out with a short email, direct message or tweet. I never want a mentee to feel I’ve forgotten about them. It’s also a great way to see if your mentee may be struggling with anything.
5.) Think about the future- Your chats and resume reviews may end up being a great asset. As you continue the relationship, you’ll be able to (possibly) assist a colleague in filling a position or even a position in your own business.
Keep in mind you can not force a mentor/mentee relationship. It has to work on both sides!
Maybe you are a recent graduate and entered the workplace just months ago. Or, maybe you have been in your job for five years. Regardless, you should always be thinking of this phrase: How do I take the next step?
Complacency is never a good thing, so you should always be driving yourself to be a success. By settling, we lose the drive and the ambition to take that next step.
I’ve had a number of jobs and switched careers. All those experiences helped me launch my own business. Here are five tips that I believe can help you take your next step.
1. Keep Your Eyes Open- You never know when a great opportunity may come upon you. Never just dismiss it; think about the pros and cons. I always do a personal SWOT analysis at every opportunity.
2. Be Smart- I never would tell someone to jump to another job just for the sake of jumping. Do your research. Look at what you can offer them as much as why they can offer you.
3. Spread Your Wings- As much as you may not want to, considering a job in another city or state could be the perfect move. It offers the challenge of learning a new area and making a name for yourself. Plus, meeting new people always helps to challenge us.
4. Listen to a mentor- A trusted colleague can sometimes be the best sounding board. They can also often give terrific career and life guidance. They’ll also be blunt in their opinions, which you should listen carefully to.
5. Don’t Doubt Yourself- This sounds easy, but it isn’t always the case. You are the one that knows your skills best; believe in yourself and know that even though you may not know it all, you can still be a success.
Do you have some tips that have helped you take the next step? Let me know in the comments.