I would say I have had good experience with job searching in college. Since my sophomore summer I have worked 2 internships and have been comparing multiple full-time offers currently as a senior. However, while it externally appears as a result of confidence and “having it together”, there was a large chunk of college where I was very insecure about it.
As someone who sets very high expectations for themselves, I would look around my sophomore year and see people who already completed internships their freshman summers and wonder, why didn’t I do that? Now this is a rather uncommon occurrence but I still held myself to this standard. And I started applying like crazy, sending emails and applications into the void. Most of the time, I didn’t receive acceptances or rejections.
It was a very discouraging process and it felt like so much work was being put into nothing. However I kept at it, participating in clubs and competitions and constantly following-up with recruiters . Eventually my hard work paid off and I ended up interning at one of the general contractors in the country, Turner Construction Company! It was a great first experience and I was able to learn a lot from being on an actual construction site.
Finally experiencing an internship gave me a new fervor, and instilled much more confidence within my ability to sell myself and my skills. Coming into junior year, I know I wanted to try a different avenue than construction management, and instead try out a civil design firm. With a more experienced course load and past work experience, I was able to secure a summer internship by October! I worked at a commercial design firm known as Kimley-Horn & Associates and it was quite different from my last, as most of my time was spent at a desk. However the technical and engineering-specific skills I acquired were invaluable!
And with these internships I was able to really hone not just a skill set, but also what career path I really wanted to pursue. Ultimately, I didn’t return to either company and I ultimately learned what career paths were not for me, which made choosing one much simpler. As I applied and interviewed this semester, I was much more discerning with what I wanted out of it. And this blog came with very interesting timing, as I signed an offer for a full-time job mere hours ago! I am very excited for the opportunity to work at the engineering firm, Arup, on their BIM (Building Information Modeling) Team. And as I signed, I felt flashbacks to all of my career pursuits throughout college; including the acceptances, rejections, and the whole load of no responses.
So I think there are important takeaways from my experience. Finding the correct career path can be more of a winding road than a straight line. And recruiting can be a very demoralizing experience. For example, I got rejected twice from Arup both my sophomore and junior summer. But I kept at it and worked harder and I was able to get it in the end. As I look back, I’m glad I had those experiences because they pushed me to work harder and present the best version of myself. It also makes the acceptance that much sweeter!