Reflecting on career lessons from the Futures Forum

CATEGORIES: Student Perspective
group at Iowa Capitol
Anna Curtis (third from right) attended Volunteer Iowa’s Day at the Iowa Capitol during her internship.

By Anna Curtis, senior in public relations

After virtually attending the Futures Forum, I had a lot to go over before I could put it to paper. So, I went for a run.

Runs are my “me time” to let things process. In my lovely meditative state – while my feet were pounding the pavement and my Spotify playlist blaring in my headphones –Drew Harden’s speech (watch it here) just kept playing through my head. Especially his second point: Don’t be afraid to ask.

In high school, my choir teacher always told us the worst thing that can happen at an audition is not getting the part we want. If we did our best, we still got something out of the experience.

I never really thought to apply the same idea to a job interview.

But, after a mile or so into my run, it started to make sense. You are auditioning for a part in the company.

The director is having a casting call for new actors, and you come to the cattle call auditions. Slowly, the director weeds people out until the best actors remain. These actors will read different parts, and the director will select the best people for the play’s roles.

A hiring manager does the same thing. They put out a notice that the company is hiring, and they get hundreds of applicants. The most qualified ones will get interviews with the hiring manager. The manager will slowly weed out people until the most suitable candidate is left. This person will get a job at the company.

Like an audition for a play, if you come prepared, you will do better and feel more confident about your “audition.”

You are also more at ease if you have met the hiring manager or another person connected you with them. LinkedIn or Twitter are just two possible platforms that students can connect with employers.

Connections bring opportunities to your door; you never know when that past internship, babysitting job or career fair connection may turn into an opportunity.

Personally, connections helped me get my last internship at Volunteer Iowa.

I found my last internship by connecting with potential employers at the Greenlee Jump-Start Internship and Networking Fair. When I picked up the job description from Volunteer Iowa’s booth, I didn’t realize I just met people I would be working with for the spring semester.

My boss encouraged me to go to Volunteer Iowa’s Day at the Iowa Capitol. I made connections with other nonprofits, and I’ll never know when one of those connections may lead to another internship or a full-time job.

Editor’s note: This post was written for Public Relations 321 and was published with permission.