By Anjani Patel, BS in Public Health GWU 2016
At the end of my junior year, I watched my senior friends graduate and it dawned on me that in 365 days I would be in their place. Fear instantly filled my mind. When you’re in school you believe you have time to figure out your career, but you never realize when that time is up until it hits you. For me, watching my friends graduate was the stimulus I needed to confront what I had been avoiding for my three years at GWU. What was I working towards? What am I passionate about? How can I make a career out of it?
Tip #1: Meet with your Career Coach
Unable to answer these questions alone, I turned to the GW Career Center in hope for guidance and answers. I had not realized how lost I was until my very first meeting. My career coach asked what she could help me with and incoherent words began to spill out of my mouth. All I could say was, “I don’t know what to do after I graduate.” My career coach listened intently and was able to understand that I first needed to discover what I was passionate about before jumping to a career path.
Tip #2: Get to know your strengths & interests
We spent the next few weeks outlining my interests, taking surveys and researching fields to get a sense of where I could see myself working. My career coach recommended I take a Strong Interest Inventory Assessment to help establish a baseline understanding of my interests and skills, and how those could correlate to occupations. I was skeptical that one assessment could be the answers to all my questions, but I was willing to try.
“Human resources, management consulting, health related services” highlighted the findings of my assessment. It also described my inherent values of efficiency, leadership, and innovation, all of which I identified with. The occupations they suggested, such as management, seemed like a good fit for me as I started to reflect on my past work experience. Excited that I found a field I was interested in, I grew confident in finding a job that was right for me.
Tip#3: Get your application materials recruiter-ready
In the weeks to follow I was filled with energy and a drive to make up for lost time. I visited the GW Career Center almost twice a week with different drafts of my resume and cover letter. Once the summer had come to an end, I had a recruiter-ready resume and cover letter, a list of 15 firms to reach out to, and a goal in mind.
Tip#4 Take Advantage of On-Campus Recruiting
Once classes had started this fall, I quickly learned how difficult it was to take part in fall recruitment, apply to non OCR positions, and attend classes. Looking to get organized, I utilized OCR as a means of researching and networking with firms I wanted to apply to. Eventually, my iCalendar was filled with 3-4 information sessions a week, my friends got used to me wearing business casual all the time, and the barista at Bourbon Coffee knew me by name after spending long Saturday afternoons working on job applications. In just three weeks I had applied to over 15 positions, attended more networking events than I can remember, and even bought a new suit.
Tip #5: Aim high
Enter Deloitte. Deloitte seemed out of my reach- it is a top management consulting firm, and also more “business” then I had originally hoped for. Their two-year Human Capital analyst program intrigued me because it embodied the values that I was looking for in a job- efficiency, growth, innovation. Also, the ability to gain premiere management consulting skills in two years? For a 21 year old Public Health student, this was a golden opportunity and I took it.
In about a week, I got an e-mail that I had been requested for a first round interview. I immediately started stressing out. I told my friend, “this would have been less stressful if I didn’t get the first interview, because now I have a small chance.” I spent the next week eating, breathing, studying Deloitte. I had prepared so much that on the morning of I wasn’t stressed, but confident that I worked hard for months to get to this moment. A week later I got an e-mail that I had been invited to the second round. My small chance had just gotten bigger, and this time I spent the week trying to relax. Recruitment day or Blitz is similar to a marathon; it is really about getting through the day. The week following Blitz was antagonizing. Every free moment I contemplated my chances of receiving an offer. Every time my phone rang or I got a new e-mail, my heart would race in anticipation for an answer. About a week later, I got an offer to join Deloitte’s two-year analyst program.
In 5 months, I went from a lost girl who lacked passion and motivation, to a confident and employed senior. I learned a lot about myself in the past few months and I am thankful for the guidance I received at the GW Career Center. I look forward to graduation as I’m ready to begin this new chapter in my life.