Thursday, April 2, 2009

Getting Unstuck: How MBA Students Can Overcome Internship/Job Search Inertia

Yesterday I shared ways some students sabotage their search for internships/jobs. Here's the positive side of the story, as I present some principles that might help you address those challenges and overcome the inertia (and even boredom) that's seemingly unavoidable in any search effort.

* Act as if you know what you want. Find a way to connect to a prospective opportunity in a way that excites and inspires you. It could be the function, company, industry, or geographic location. Your desire will permeate every component of your effort to obtain that position -- and will motivate you to do the research and reflection you'll need to make contacts, develop materials, and apply for available internships/jobs.

* Consider every internship/job as an opportunity to learn -- if not about what you're doing, then about the organization, industry, or even how people relate to one another. Perhaps you'll even learn something about yourself! Your ongoing challenge is to clarify what you like and don't like in your work -- a process that based on my experience takes some time. Moreover, you never know when or where an experience may come in handy in the future. (I speak from extensive personal experience on this last point).

* Recognize that an internship/job is just that -- it's not your life, it won't last forever, and you don't have to get it right the first time (or even the second or third times, for that matter). Three months in an internship may seem like an eternity, but (in most circumstances) won't kill you -- nor will a year or two in a job.

* Develop a plan A, plan B, and even a plan C for your internship/job search. In other words, always have a backup plan should your first (or second) choice not work out. Who knows, your plan B job may evolve into a plan A job -- or may even become what you truly want to do!

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