The Power in Being Proactive

Happy summer, CWIB!

Now that the school year has officially wrapped up, it’s time to start those summer internships, externships, study abroad programs, volunteer programs, and part-time jobs! Before you embark on your first day of whatever you’re up to this summer, I have some advice for all of you CWIB members: be proactive!

This was the most valuable lesson I learned in my summer internship last year. This habit will serve you well not just during the summer, but during the school year and eventually, your full-time jobs also.

During the first week, I was only given small assignments, but nothing of substance. The 8-hour days felt so long. I eventually realized that I had 12 weeks to learn and make a name for myself at this company. I knew that if I wanted to feel fulfilled at the end of this program, I had to do something.

First, I emailed this entry-level employee whom I had met at orientation asking if she wanted to grab coffee together. She was a friendly, bubbly person who had also interned with this company, so I thought she would be a great person to get advice from. We hit it off right away and she quickly became my “work BFF!” Throughout the summer, she invited me to meetings that she was involved in. If I didn’t take the initiative to reach out to her, I wouldn’t have been able to see this company from different perspectives or meet any of those amazing people, including her!

Another example is more work-related. Like I said before, I wasn’t doing anything at the beginning of my internship. I worked up the courage to talk to my manager and express my desire to do more. She listened to me and shortly after, I was invited to more meetings and assigned to more projects. I was even invited to go to business process alignment meetings with our vendor in Maryland! All of these were opportunities that I know I would not have been given had I not spoken up.

I hope these two examples showcase the value that being proactive can have. All of you CWIB members are capable, intelligent, and talented young women. If something isn’t going the way you envisioned, say something! Doing so will show your peers/managers what your interests are and what you can bring to the table. Do not think that all of your hopes and dreams are going to be delivered to you on a silver platter. Work hard, be proactive, and you will come back to Blacksburg in the fall feeling fulfilled, I promise!

Double Majoring: Is It Worth It?

“Dear Rosie… I’m thinking of double majoring. Is it worth it or should I just stick to one major and really focus on it?”

 Hi CWIB Reader!

That’s a great question! This topic is something I’ve thought about a lot as well. When it comes to getting a double major, it really depends on what you want to do when you graduate. If you are thinking about taking on another major within Pamplin, women currently in the business world are going to say that double majoring isn’t worth it.

At the Fourth Annual Power Panel, Kerry Wekelo from Actualize Consulting said that getting a double major wasn’t worth the late nights, extra work, and stress; and that you can reach the same success with one degree.

However, if you want to extend the scope of your education with a business and a liberal arts degree, then you should go for it. Studies have found that a college graduate with both a business and liberal Arts degree may earn a higher income than a graduate with only a Business degree. If you decide to double major, make sure you are aware of the opportunity costs before jumping right in.

Double majoring comes with a larger time commitment to academics and may limit how involved you are with organizations on campus. Another thing to think about is that when the time comes to apply for jobs, employers want to see how you got involved and exemplified leadership in the community as well.

If you are still having a difficult time deciding, make an appointment with your Academic Advisor! They are a great resource for us students and will help you decide what is best for you.

How to Handle Rejection

There are some topics that we all deal with that are often ignored by people in our society. Rejection is one of them. Though it is common with every single one of us, we hesitate to discuss it. This may be because of embarrassment, shame, or refusal to admit failure. However, how natural is it to fail? Is success always guaranteed?

 At this time in our lives, rejection is something that has almost become an everyday occurrence. Many of us are currently applying to things, whether it’s summer jobs, internships, on-campus organizations, scholarships, etc. We also face rejection outside of our career lives in relationships with others, or even rejecting our own selves.

However, one thing is clear – rejection can’t be avoided. There’s no “5 Step Plan” to preventing rejection. Instead, you can improve your methods of dealing with it once you have to face it.

I’ve gathered testimonies from four different girls who have faced rejections in every aspect and have now secured internship positions at well-reputed companies. All of them have learned valuable lessons from their job searches and have used them to their advantage.

1. “Learn from your mistakes and keep on trying, no matter how hard it gets.” – Incoming Amazon intern

       I spoke with an incoming Amazon intern who told me about her struggles with interviewing. After four months of applying, interviewing, and getting rejected from just about everything, she was ready to give up. However, she was able to identify her weakness, which was her lack of preparation for technical interviews. She soon learned how exactly to study and prepare for these interviews in order to leave the best impression. She also stopped getting discouraged by watching people around her getting jobs. Eventually, she received an offer from Amazon as an engineering intern. Her key to success was to keep trying, no matter how bleak the situation seems.

2. “Don’t limit your options by sticking to ‘big’ companies.” – Incoming CNN intern

        This friend of mine I spoke with told me her tips for dealing with rejection, which includes telling herself it’s not the end of the world and there are so many other companies to apply to. When she gets rejected, she just starts filling out more applications without dwelling too much and losing momentum. Most importantly, she’s learned that it doesn’t matter where you work. Getting rejected by a large company is to be expected since they are very picky, and they have a large number of applicants from all over the world. The purpose of internships is to learn new skills, and you have just as much of a chance doing so at a smaller company or a startup, which is where she interned last summer. Her key to success is to not overlook small companies because you want a flashy, big-name internship that’ll look good on a resume – look for the value the position provides. It also doesn’t hurt that the smaller the company, the higher your chances tend to be.

3. “Don’t get overly attached to a position.” – Current Home Depot intern

        Emotions tend to get the better of us, no matter what situation we’re in. It’s important to remember to stay objective and focused during the application process. Whether it’s rejection emails, cold interviewers, or just no replies at all, none of it will affect you in the long run. Just accept the situation for what it is and keep going. Even if a position sounds perfect for you and you feel like a good fit for it, try to not get your hopes up and get attached since there’s always the slightest chance it won’t work out. While it’s good to have hope, you should stay grounded and practical at the same time to avoid excessive disappointment. Her key to success is to remember that you’ll end up where you need to be if you continue to pursue your goals without giving up because of one rejection.

4. “Think of rejection as a push in the right direction.” – Incoming KPMG intern

         It’s difficult to accept rejection because it feels like proof that you weren’t good enough. However, it’s important to understand that it’s not against you personally. When companies recruit, they have a very specific type of person in mind – someone who matches their corporate culture – and it’s often hard for them to find just the right match. If you didn’t get a job you applied to, chances are, you will definitely find something better. It also means that even if you did get that job, it might not have gone so well because you didn’t fit well with the company initially. Her key to success is understanding what leads to certain things happening and continuing to search for a company that is the perfect fit for you.

        This is a critical time in our lives, where it seems like securing jobs define our worth. However, we are still young and still have time left in school, so use it to your full advantage! Companies are always visiting Virginia Tech, whether they’re at a booth at a career fair, speaking at an organization’s meeting, or just hanging out in the Pamplin atrium waiting for you to swing by. Take every opportunity available to  build relationships instead of “connections.” Remember, you have time. Rejections don’t signify failure – they’re just a sign that you applied for the wrong place, and your dream job is still out there. All you have to do is keep searching!