Jenkins’ MBA Student Veteran Talks about the Importance of Having a Plan

January 25, 2019 |  Brian Pezzulo

Having a Plan.

Two quotes we have all probably heard, “A goal without a plan is just a wish” and “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Both address the importance of having a plan. Preparing for success post-graduation can take months of networking, researching, interviewing, and analyzing. Therefore, by the summer before your junior year it is crucial to narrow down a list of potential post-graduation employers. Junior year, it is imperative to build relationships with the end goal of a summer internship prior to your senior year. Building a successful plan must be a priority. The sooner you start your plan the better.

Networking: Networking should be done before, during and after your job search. It is a continuous step and is woven in all the other steps. It is important to remember, networking is NOT “asking for a job.” Networking is developing lasting relationships with people that are mutually beneficial. Start with people you know from the military or your college. Look for alumni at companies you are interested in. Also, remember networking is beneficial to both parties so don’t just look for people who can help you but look for people who you can help.

Researching: It is important to conduct extensive research on the industry and companies you are interested in. Attend corporate presentations to learn about the companies’ culture and what makes them different. Research job descriptions and tailor your resume to match keywords and qualifications (if applicable). Every resume should be accompanied with a cover letter. This is the perfect space to introduce your brand and let the company know why they should choose you over someone else.

Interviewing: When people think interviews, they normally think of stressful interrogation-like environments. There are two types of interviews; information interviews and job interviews. An information interview provides an opportunity to expand your network and learn first-hand from someone who works at a particular company. Information gathered here can provide insight into a company that can separate you in a job interview. If you have networked, researched, and prepared properly the job interview should be a conversation to determine if you are a good fit for the company and if they’re a good fit for you. It should not be an interrogation.

Analyzing: You need to analyze the market, offers, benefits, and other key criteria. The extensive research you have conducted and interviews should have provided answers to most of your questions along the way. Once you have all the data and pieces it’s time to put them together to make that important job decision that may change the course of your life.

It is important to set a timeline for yourself with goals and metrics to ensure you are keeping on track with your plan. Success post-graduation can be overwhelming and difficult to achieve or can be a smooth transition. The key to a smooth transition is proper planning and execution. You need to utilize time, an invaluable but limited asset, to develop and execute an effective plan. Best of luck in your future endeavors!

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