Want to learn more about the younger generation and prepare for future employees? Leading EDGE presents The Student Perspective blog series! In this installment, hear from TNPA marketing intern, Patricia Aniagba, on her takeaways from Pamela Taylor’s Career Day keynote speech, specifically on career planning.
“Give yourself some grace, give yourself some space…”
Pamela Taylor, SVP/Chief Brand Strategy & Communications Officer, Share Our Strength
The college experience is meant to provide you with the knowledge and opportunities to embark on a career path shaped by your learning. However, what really happens after you graduate?
In her keynote speech during last year’s Leading EDGE Career Day Event, Pamela Taylor spoke on the topic of career planning, where she relayed common misconceptions of the post-undergraduate years and how she transitioned her plans for herself. A common misconception about your life after college is that you must stay within the space that your major allows. That is simply not true. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science and the desire to attend law school, Taylor traveled to Washington, D.C., to pursue her planned career in law. However, she soon realized she did not love and enjoy the work she was exposed to.
Unfortunately, this is the reality for most individuals post-graduation. However, it is a natural part of the process to find a career that fulfills both your career goals and passions. For Taylor, her recognition of a needed transition permitted her openness to new spaces that veered away from the major on her Hampton University degree. Networking outside her once-intended field paved her path from working in a D.C. law firm to discovering public relations, communications, and marketing, which later landed her position as a Vice President at Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm. Her desire to find her passion pushed her willingness to learn something new and propelled her toward those willing to advocate on her behalf: her network.
Networking continues throughout your life. From when you have a mere idea of professional goals to when you are in the exact position you have dreamed about, your network will continue to grow and become your greatest asset. An important member of that network is your mentor. Seeking mentorship through networking allows you to learn from people who pique your interest. Mentors do not have to be coworkers or colleagues. They can simply be individuals you want to talk to and learn from. Taylor sought out individuals in her network that were well-connected in their respective spaces and were willing to connect her with others.
My experiences with networking has changed as I grew more confident in my professional development and myself overall. Even as an outgoing and personable person, I struggled with connecting in professional spaces as it is an entirely different form of communication. It almost felt like speaking in email form, that slightly robotic tone that I never really used outside of interviews. Looking back from my first year in college to now, I am so thankful for the struggle. Wanting to be a better business communicator motivated me to hone in on and sharpen my skills at the time. I gave myself the grace to fail in uncomfortable circumstances and the space to use each moment of failure as an applicable lesson for the future. Although I do not have a personal mentor yet, through my network, I have individuals who are open to aiding me during these times of development and supplying me with wise words to keep me moving forward.
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For Students: Writers needed! Contact Shelby Truxon, Director of Internship Experience, at firstname.lastname@example.org to write for the “Student Perspective” blog series. Read more about Leading EDGE internships and other programming.