Over the past three weeks, the USA Men’s Soccer Team ran and kicked their way into the hearts of millions as they competed in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Team USA was the underdog story with every game they played. Following a win, tie, and loss in the group stages, team USA advanced through “The Group of Death” and proved to the world that we could be a contender in the other “futball.”
As I watched the games, I found connections between Team USA’s quest and my internship search this summer. Reflecting on the World Cup, I couldn’t help but realize that I too had faced long odds and learned a few lessons from the team.
1. Positivity moves you forward.
Team USA ignored the media and predictions and determined their own fate. A positive attitude is essential to have during a job search, and it’s not easy. I too was at a disadvantage from the outset for I knew that roughly 40% of college students actually land an internship. I tried using my school’s Career Services office but the opportunities were all near my school, not my home. Last summer, I secured an internship within the first couple weeks of May. When June came around this summer and I still didn’t have an internship I have to admit I was a little worried, but I never let negativity bring me down. I kept my head up, utilized my resources and landed this internship at CareerFuel through my network. Team USA reached their goal of advancing past the group stages and I reached my goal of getting a summer internship because of a positive attitude and mindset.
2. Let go of mistakes, but learn from them as well.
In the game against Portugal, Team USA let up a goal in the first five minutes because of a defensive error by defender Geoff Cameron. A similar mistake happened in the last minute of extra time costing the USA a much-needed win. In the long run, these two mistakes could have sent the USA home early but they didn’t dwell on these mistakes, they learned from them. They tightened up their defense and allowed only two goals in their next two games, both coming late in the game. During my internship search I have admittedly made a few mistakes. The first mistake I made was underestimating how early I needed to start looking for internship. I began my search in April when I really should have started in January. A former employer of mine reached out to a contact she had at MTV in May, but they told her all their internship positions were filled in March. Other mistakes included included not networking enough and having grammar mistakes on my resume and cover letter.
As you can see, my internship search wasn’t perfect. I had to deal with the mistakes I made, but I didn’t let them dictate my path for me. I learned from them in the early stages and continued my search with my mistakes corrected. Not only did this help me land an internship for this summer, but now I will be better prepared next summer when I look for a full time job.
3. Effort, grit and determination lead to success.
Strained hamstrings, broken noses, cramps…you name it, it happened to the USA during this World Cup, but they kept playing and fighting and accomplished something most people didn’t think they could. They advanced to the round of 16 for only the fifth time in the history of the World Cup. Searching for a job or internship is an intimidating process that can cause a lot of stress and frustration, but difficult situations help determine our character and who we are as people. I contacted many companies during my internship search and only a few responded to me. At first, I was taken back by this because this was new to me, but gradually I started to understand how difficult finding an internship was going to be. After numerous rejections and dead ends, I reached out to past employers, researched job searching techniques, talked to family and friends, and checked job boards everyday to find possible internship opportunities that I could apply for. My efforts put me in a better position to succeed and led my current internship with CareerFuel.
Now, as manager of social media, I am gaining valuable experience in a field that interests me very much and builds on my college curriculum. That’s a win.
Photo courtesy of Z. Abraham and Flickr.