InterWorks Career Advice: What We Wish We’d Known


InterWorks Career Advice: What We Wish We’d Known

Most of my time with students these days is filled with sharing about why InterWorks is a great company to work for and how they can become a part of the InterWorks culture. But every now and then, I get the opportunity to go back to my previous role of career coaching and guiding at Oklahoma State University! In the virtual world we’re all operating in, I was able to speak to a lot of students this fall semester. In light of the global pandemic, I thought it would be wise if I changed it up a few times and talked about some real-world lessons that every graduate needs to know.

Above: Recruiting goes virtual (with a little help from my assistant, Opal)

A Blast from My Career-Coaching Past

Here are the go-tos I once shared with each student that came into my office at OSU:

  • Learn from everything – It doesn’t matter if things go well or if they don’t (but especially learn something here), every opportunity you have is a chance to learn something. It might be about a new person you’ve met or a new tech trick, but take time to reflect and learn from the situations you’re in.
  • Be patient – Statistics show that you are not going to be in your first job for the rest of your life. Your career is a marathon and not a sprint. It’s okay to not know what you want to do with the rest of your life, just like it’s okay to mess up. Give yourself some grace and move on.
  • Uncertainty doesn’t have to be scary – Don’t be risk averse. Be sure to gather as much information as you can and then take calculated risks.

Above: A group of students from the OSU Spears School of Business visiting our office headquarters

Since I really do work with some of the best people, I also thought it would be fun to ask some of my coworkers what they would share with recent graduates about to enter the workforce in the wake of the wild ride that’s been 2020. They did not disappoint with their insights:

  • Find friends or mentors, formally and informally. Having designated buddies and informal work friends to bounce things off of helps immensely when you’re starting something new. – Beth Kairys
  • Evaluate any recurring expense as an annual cost instead of monthly. This helps to curb overspending a ton. The education around taxes and such is near zero in schools—both high school and university—heck, half the adults I meet still don’t understand them (but they think they do). – Eli Sprague
  • Diversify your experience! In school, I was told how much “relevant” experience mattered, but all experience is relevant. Get out of your major-centric bubble and go experiment. – Garrett Sauls
  • When assigned an unfamiliar task, try to solve it yourself before asking for help. Once you know what you’re struggling with, then ask for help. – Tyler Palesano
  • Understand from day one that every coworker may at some point be your boss or vice versa. Reputations in the workplace are incredibly difficult to change. – Andrew Wooten
  • Look for an organization that can teach you what you want to learn at a high level. Whether it’s a small or big company does not matter. – Justus Niemzok
  • Live your first year (or perhaps a bit longer) fiscally like you never graduated. Most poor spending/savings habits are built your first year working, are very hard to break and lead to decades of work to undo. – Eric Shiarla
  • When coming out of uni, I think we all look for certainty and something that guides us. That might be a certain “career path” we’ve chosen for ourselves or a big corporation that has a career ladder you can climb. That “certainty” or security is worth almost nothing if you don’t love your job. So go out and find one that you love. – Raphael Teufel

Above: Attending the OSU Career Fair with Amy and Holt in the Before times

Looking to a Bright Future

This year has been unconventional in every way, and the world of recruiting and hiring is no different. For prospective college graduates, the future feels uncertain and the job market unstable. As working professionals, we’ve had to adapt and change plans in ways we never anticipated. But at InterWorks, I’m grateful to work with people who are determined, creative and always in pursuit of excellence. If you’re looking for coworkers like these at a place that will push you to grow and support you along the way, explore our available roles or contact our team. We look forward to seeing what 2021 will bring!

More About the Author

Kelsey Lee

Global Employee Experience Lead
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