A small fish in a big pond: Entering the World of Work

 

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It seems as though we all devote the first 22 years of our lives in preparation to dive into our careers. We set our goals and expectations for ourselves as students and work relentlessly to achieve them, making them the focus.

At some point in my college career I actually processed the fact that in a few short years I would be working and pursuing the field that I have studied and worked towards for so long. Another key realization I had about this transition came with my visit to this year’s Career Carnival in October.

I consider myself a diligent student, but I don’t think it was until this fall that I recognized the bigger picture. School and good grades are not the end goal, but simply the beginning and the starting point on a journey into a very big world.

While the resources across the University of Central Arkansas are remarkable helpful in preparing students for a successful future, including career services, I was completely overwhelmed by this experience. This rush of so many emotions had nothing to do with the work of career services, but everything to do with my recognition of the vast amount of opportunities that surrounded me.

I recognized so many important qualities that potential employers look for. I like to pride myself on someone who not only values relationships, but quality ones. After having brief conversations with various companies at their booths, I recognized just how vital it is to make those brief encounters and first impressions meaningful.

A lot like walking in to a public relations scenario, you must be prepared with key messages and communicate them thoroughly and intentionally. While a PR professional will prepare these messages for countless scenarios, it is completely different to have to do it about yourself.

Because of my experience at this career fair, I realized how important it was to sharpen my networking skills and led me to a networking workshop held through another campus department.

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I am merely one face in a crowd of people. Pinpointing how to stand out and how to be remembered is a skill that will take a lifetime to perfect, but through the opportunities granted to me by this university I feel a little bit more prepared to dive right in and find my fit.