This past weekend, I made a trip to our Nation’s capital with my fellow MPA student, Annie White, for an OU Alumni Networking Event. When Annie first approached me about attending this event I was not really sure what to expect from it. To be honest, I really only agreed to go because who doesn’t like a little vacation? This event would end up being extremely resourceful and help me narrow in on my job hunt. As a participant of the event, I was able to visit various agencies and organizations and meet with other Bobcats who were in my exact shoes not too long ago. I thought I would share some of the advice they gave me:
• Working backwards: When I met with the alumni from the National Governor’s Association (NGA), he told me the first thing with any job search is to figure out what your end goal is. It goes along with that long time interview question “What is your five year plan?” Figure out where you want to be in five years and then work your way backwards. How will you get to that position and what kind of jobs will be useful learning experiences and stepping stones along the way? You cannot plan everything out, but at least this will get you started in the right direction.
• Have people to go to bat for you: From my observation, networking is extremely important as you search for jobs. I heard numerous stories from the alumni about how their bosses and their connections were the ones who got them interviews, not their resume. As Voinovich School students, we already have a good foundation for these backers. Our professors are also practitioners. our supervisors work with various partners around the state and nation. And don’t forget the people in your cohort who will be in the field very soon. Network, network, network.
• Be humble: The experience overall was one that really humbled me and made me relook at jobs I thought I was above. At times we lose track of the fact we are young professionals with very little experience. Most of us are about to complete a master’s program that has taught us so much and has given us an opportunity to work in our field, but we have to remember we still have a lot to learn. Remember, be open to any opportunities that come your way and absorb as much information as you can in your academic career.
Recently, it was announced that the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs will be starting an Alumni Association. This, in my opinion, will be a valuable resource for current and future students associated with our school. It will allow students to gather advice and insight on how to start their young professional careers while also providing valuable opportunities. To end this post on a positive note; I am very thankful that I went to Ohio University because the people who also went here seem to stick together and always support a fellow bobcat. OU-OHYEAH!