Go Crush This Career Stuff

IMG_2404The following post was written by Lisa Samaraweera on LinkedIn Pulse.  Lisa joined us as a career counselor during the middle of the fall semester, while Maura Hume-Sweeney was on leave. Our students had the pleasure to meet with Lisa to discuss their career interests and goals, to critique their resumes and cover letters for jobs and internships, and to help them prepare for interviews.

I’ve spent the last month and a half covering a maternity leave at the College of the Holy Cross Center for Career Development in Worcester, MA. The experience has been truly enjoyable and engaging. The people (students, staff and faculty) who represent the community are just wonderful. Holy Cross is a special college, and there is an energy on campus that is both vibrant and serene at the same time.

Having worked at several different colleges over my career, I have to say that Holy Cross has really been my favorite – and almost entirely because the students are so unique. They are incredibly bright, articulate, service driven, determined and so polite! Day after day it is a joy to help them with their resumes, cover letters and interview prep.

Despite all of these wonderful attributes, I have noticed something interesting and unexpected – and that is despite their intellect and poise, they are also incredibly hesitant to trust in themselves. I see it each day – and each day I want to just reach out and give them a hug and say, “If you only knew how amazing you are! You’ve got this.”

I know this is true not just for Holy Cross students, but for students everywhere (and for adults…but that’s another post!) I’ve reflected on this, and while I write these parting words to the students of HC, I hope other students will read this too:

1) You Will Find No Answers

More specifically – you will find no answers if you continue to searchexternally. You are profoundly more resourceful and powerful than you know – and closer than you believe to harnessing this truth. Your career counselors, faculty, parents and friends will provide you with guidance – and you will seek it out (probably for the rest of your life) – but at the end of the day only you can make the choices that impact your future and career. You will ask for black and white answers from others, but you will always be left with shades of gray. You have to give into the gray. Trust yourself…no matter how scary it feels.

2) Trust Yourself – Trust the Journey

The more you trust yourself, the more you will begin to trust your journey. The choices you make now, unfortunately, will not wrap a tidy bow around your career and relieve you of future decisions, anxiety and uncertainty. You will continue to evolve, and grow, and seek out your destiny – it’s our human nature to do so. With this constant seeking, you will find yourself embarking down paths that are not clearly lit. Trust the journey. Everything you do now is setting you up for something in your future. You cannot move forward without the experiences you are living right in this moment. Trust that they all serve a purpose instead of judging them as “wrong” or “right”. If you do this, a weight will lift from your shoulders. I promise.

3) Everything You Need is Within You Now

Stop believing that the best you will appear AFTER you get that job, or AFTER you get into that grad school, or AFTER you get that interview. You. Right Now. In this moment. Hold POWER. You have everything you need inside of you to fill you to the brim with confidence and happiness and capability. You are limited only by the stories of doubt that you tell yourself. Tap into that feeling that fills the bottom of your belly when you feel passionate, and excited, and strong. That feeling is the energy within you that has been there since the moment you were born. You don’t need anyone’s permission to use that power. Give yourself permission to unleash it!

4) Continue to be Resourceful

It’s very possible that your first word was “Google.” You live in the information age. You are surrounded by incredible resources. Learn how to use them. While you won’t necessarily get those nice black and white answers from your online searches, you WILL learn and shed light on the possibilities in front of you. If you’re reading this you’ve made a profile on LinkedIn – awesome. Now go and do something useful with this incredible tool. I would have killed for LinkedIn when I was your age…you are CRAZY if you’re not using it for networking and research.

Thanks to all of the HC students who helped me remember that this career stuff is HARD. It feels crazy, and terrifying, and entirely out of control. I get it. I soooo get it. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up and I’m almost 40 years old….but you know what? I’m cool with that. I’ve realized that my job does not define me, and my career does not decide my worth.

So, here’s my “hug” to you – go out and CRUSH this career stuff.

You’ve got this.