By: Mallory Glenn '19
Before I went to the OFIC CareerFest last year, people told me “Career fairs lead to internships!” And I was a bit skeptical, thinking That would be awesome, but I don’t think that’ll happen to me — and then it did! I attended the 2018 OFIC CareerFest in Columbus and found an amazing summer internship at Lakeside Chautauqua in Lakeside, Ohio.
Well, then people told me “Internships can lead to full-time employment at the organization!” And I was a bit skeptical, thinking That would be awesome, but I don’t think that’ll happened to me. And now, it did.
After some deliberation, I have confidently accepted a position as the Advancement and Communications Assistant at Lakeside Chautauqua. And, incidentally, the 2019 OFIC CareerFest also influenced my decision to accept the position.
There’s a lot to think about before accepting a job, and I hadn’t been expecting to have to make the choice until much later into the semester, presumably after feverish searching on Indeed.com, numerous tweaks on my LinkedIn profile, and various organizations and companies had received my resume, cover letter, and writing samples. In fact, after seeing two of my closest friends work incessantly to get a job and into graduate school during the 2018 spring semester, I specifically designed my senior spring schedule with a grueling job search in mind.
However, after only a few searches on Indeed, a couple tweaks to my LinkedIn profile, and only one organization having received my resume and cover letter, I found myself with an amazing job offer. I originally pictured myself working at a sustainability/environmental organization and moving to a bigger city, so the job wasn’t initially something I saw myself doing.
Yet, upon learning more about the flexibility of the position and carefully considering the benefits, positive work environment, and overall skillset the job would allow me to develop, I began to lean toward the decision of accepting the position. I discussed the opportunity with various friends, family, and trusted mentors. This feeling was cemented after I attended the 2019 OFIC CareerFest in Columbus.
“When I graduated, I was open to trying new things and finding out what my strengths really were as an employee,” said Alana (Wolonsky ’08) Tarry, the director of development at Lakeside. “I looked for a position that taught me responsibility, a place that listened to my ideas, and somewhere that encouraged me to continue my education.”
For me, this is Lakeside. This experience in accepting the job also taught me that, as new graduate first entering the work force, it’s important to be flexible.
“As a new graduate you should focus on a position where you have the opportunity to try a lot of new things and grow as a person,” said Tarry. “Look for a position where you will have the opportunity to learn from the people in the organization and that there is a good leader and a strong team atmosphere.”
I also believe that when weighing job opportunities and offers, it’s crucial to seek the advice and listening ear of trusted mentors. I am lucky to have developed strong relationships with Mount Union faculty and discussed the Lakeside opportunity at length with them before deciding to accept the offer. Dr. Gwen Gray Schwartz talked with me about budgeting, negotiations, and provided me with some questions I should ask before accepting the offer. We talked in her office, over the phone, and through email. Dr. Danielle Cordaro talked at length with me about questions to ask about before signing my contract and offered to read the contract over with me before I sign it.
While family and friends’ opinions and advice are important, a trusted mentor such as a professor can offer you more thorough, informed input.
When beginning your career, it’s also important to think about how your new network will support you.
“When you’re considering a position, it’s important to consider whether people in the organization will be helpful in mentoring you along the way in your early career,” said Tarry. “Most importantly, look for an organization where the people want to see you succeed and advance in your career.”
It’s important to think critically about a variety of factors before accepting your first job. As a graduate entering the workforce for the first time, the best you can do is make the best choice given the information you have at the time.
“There’s no such thing as too much experience,” said Tarry. “Learn as much as you can from your current employer, and don’t be afraid to ask your supervisor to try something you might be interested in, or to shadow someone who is currently in that position.”
As you decide upon your first job, rationally follow your heart. And ultimately know that this decision will not make or break your career, but instead will act as your gateway into the professional world.
For more information about career development, visit the Center for Student Success at mountunion.edu/career-development.