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Lessons From A Mentor: Securing An Entry Level Position At An Elite Firm

Johnny Ayers is the NYC Director of EiAbroad and a guest editor on career advice for Generation-Y. In this week's post on career advice, Johnny Ayers provides the new entry-level employment model for Generation-Y, especially for those who are shooting for the stars. 

Last week we ended by referencing the new path to obtaining a full time job in today's job market. Far too many students draw lines in the sand based on the experiences of their parents or friends and don't want to accept the new rules, but you must embrace them!

So few of us allow ourselves the chance to fail, let alone court failure, as we try to achieve our goals. Courting failure, or ridding yourself of the fear of failing that often prevents you from giving something your true effort, is necessary in order to succeed at anything.

This is why the new model is so incredibly important. Throughout your internship experiences, you must court failure as you find the path and passion in which you plan to pursue.

Being talented at school is an adequate expertise if you plan to do school for the rest of your life. For everyone else, being great at school is a bit like being good at scrabble: it is nice and all, but it is not pertinent unless your professional career comprises of multiple choice tests, homework assignments and scanning textbooks for some answers that your teacher already knows.

Just as students naturally embrace and hold onto study habits because it makes their lives easier, you must begin to create professional habits. These habits, when shown year-over-year, can become great tools to convincing a prospective employer that you are the right person for the job.

With roughly 15 million college students in the US alone, you have some stiff competition. How are you going to set yourself apart? Consistent habits, that's how. “Oh it appears that you've had internships from a young age, passion for your field, relevant work experience and skillset, sure…we'd love to hire you!”

I offer you the new entry-level employment model for Generation-Y:

Your senior year and the summer before college:

Go on as many externships and professional shadowing opportunities as you possibly can. Use these opportunities to research particular career paths of interest.

Freshman summer:

Obtain an internship locally in a career field that you're passionate about pursuing. This internship can be found through family, friends, professors, job boards, alumni databases.

Network, network, network! Keep a spreadsheet or database of all professional contacts (we'll come back to this in later topics).

Meet with your career office or counselor to update and finalize your resume (I cannot stress enough the importance of having a flawless resume).

Sophomore summer:

Obtain an internship in a different city or country (through services such as EiAbroad).

Use this opportunity to master a foreign language, add geographic depth to your resume and grow personally and professionally in a new environment. Meet with your career office or counselor to update and finalize your resume.

Junior year fall:

Hit the fall recruiting circuit full speed & attend information sessions on every company you are interested in.

Email, follow up and create a relationship with as many HR representatives as you can. Reach out to alumni in your desired professional field that you have been networking with over the past year (sporting events, acapella concerts, etc.)

Prepare, practice and hone your interview skills.

Junior year summer:

Congratulations! You leveraged your relationships, previous two internships and international experience to land a position at the company you hoped would hire you full time. Be the best intern that they have ever had – be a leader.

This is an 8-10 week interview, treat it as such – so be Elite every day. Seek feedback and develop a great relationship with your supervisor and co-workers.

This is your best shot at heading back to campus with a full time job, be sure to impress.

The professional relationships that arise during your internship experience will be a part of the professional network of people that you have created who can attest to your knowledge and ability to do a great job. The relationships that you develop during these vitals years will be the vital professional lifeline you will use to ensure that you remain the BMOC, even after graduation.

If you apply this model to plan your job and internship seeking, as well as how you spend your summers, you will not fail. You can learn what you do not want to do, or what you are not good at, but none of it will be a waste of your time. Each experience will lead you to a better opportunity, and eventually you will be much closer to your dream career.

Johnny Ayers | Elite.
For more info, go to EiAbroad.comor call: +1(646) 827-1187

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