This article is part of our Legends Interview Program. An Alumni Association initiative to record the experiences of alumni and share with our community. This interview took place on April 6th, 2022. Schedule an interview or submit your own story to us by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hey incoming seniors! Congratulations on beginning your last year of high school. I want to share a few tips to help jumpstart your career after high school.
Use your East Tech resources
After high school, I felt fully prepared to enter the workforce, and one of the reasons was the resources at East Tech.
I spent a lot of time with Dr. Edler who helped me understand what to expect after high school, prep for job interviews, and how to prepare for the workforce. She helped us improve our resume and showed us how the skills we’ve learned at East Tech and projects we’ve done from all of our projects are valuable to add to a resume.
Never send a half page resume. The things you do at East Tech show both soft skills and hard skills that can be valuable to any employer, and can easily fill a page.
Stay Connected with your East Tech Classmates
You never know where anyone will be in the next 10 years. If you’re applying for a dream company, you might get lucky that one of your classmates already works there. It’s important to stay connected, and I suggest being connected via LinkedIn. Knowing someone at a company will help improve your chance of getting in, especially if there’s an employee referral program.
Dress for the job you want, not what you’re applying for.
No matter what position you’re applying for, I recommend overdressing because the job you’re applying for is a starting point in your career and first impressions matter. Just like those professional dress days, you already have the clothes to dress to impress. No matter what job you apply for, don’t go into an interview with a t-shirt and jeans.
Take as many internships as possible.
Your years after high school and your 20s is a perfect opportunity to grow and build as much experience as possible. As long as money is not an issue (i.e. you’re not paying for a lot of bills or rent), it is also a prime opportunity to take as many internships as possible. There are many benefits with internships such as:
- Building essential skills
- Making connections with your boss, colleagues, and building your network
- Opportunity to land a full-time job offer
- Updating your resume to show what kind of impact you’ve done at your internship and responsibilities you’ve had
I took my internship seriously and ended up getting a job offer, and I have been at that job ever since. It’s better to start making connections early, especially if you are in a position where you don’t need the money yet. Once you are in a spot where you do need the money, you will already be a few steps ahead in your career as work experience is very valuable.
Wait for the opportunity
Inevitably, all of us will start our career at the bottom and that’s okay! When you’re working at an entry-level position, don’t always consider jumping between different companies. Think about where you want to be and if this company you’re working at an entry-level is a place where you see yourself growing a career from. Most opportunities you’ll see moving up in a position will take time and proving yourself to others.
Fresh out of college, I ended up working at a variety of companies but got involved with the tradeshow industry. While I was working at an entry-level position, I was not only learning the processes but showed my value to the company. Then came an opportunity where someone above me quit and I was able to move up. The company that I was with saw value in investing and growing an employee to move up versus hiring an outsider that could possibly fill the role. As a result, When someone else quit, I was promoted again
Remember, opportunities will show itself to you if you stay in a company longer and prove yourself.