To the Youth,
This letter is dedicated to those of you who lost your offer, are still looking for an offer, or both.
Our society has put far too much emphasis on the junior summer internship.
- Yes, it leads to a full-time offer.
- Yes, it’s a gold star on your resume that will set you up for any career in the future.
- Yes, I know you probably sacrificed so much to land that position.
But the idea that somehow your worth as a professional is tied to securing a coveted internship or full-time offer coming out of college is absurd. The “prestige” that you’ve been chasing is a product of employer branding. All the companies you’ve “heard of” before, you’ve heard of for a reason. They spend millions on branding, event sponsorship, and overinflated compensation to attract the best talent. But none of these things answers the most important question that every candidate has: Is this the right company for me?
Here’s some advice:
You’ve actually already learned quite a bit.
In the process of sending cold emails, reaching out to alumni, and going to career networking events, you’ve already developed an important skillset. You learned to take yourself out of your comfort zone and to adapt quickly to new situations. The interview process itself is an important piece of your career. Learning what they don’t teach you in school, pounding on doors, and not taking “No” for an answer are parts of the journey that mold you. Learn to love the process.
It’s ok if you don’t know what you want to do.
I started off as a summer analyst on the equities trading floor at Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong. Of the 80 people in my summer analyst class, only a handful still work at the bank. Everyone else went off to hedge funds, other banks, Big Tech, startups, and I believe one is currently managing a hostel in Tahoe. Careers used to be a ladder that you had to climb. Nowadays, you can learn to do anything and do anything.
The cards have been reshuffled and this is your opportunity.
Once we defeat Covid-19, businesses will re-open and the economy will recover. Companies will start hiring again, but a talent gap will appear as boomers exit the workforce and millennials graduate into higher ranks. Instead of joining a traditional analyst class, you’ll be part of a new generation, entering a new workforce that desperately needs innovative talent that can truly add value. Do everything you can in the next year to become that talent. This as an opportunity and make the best of it.
You’ve now got a time window to figure things out. Take a step back and re-evaluate. What problem do you want to solve? Where do you want to make an impact? What company is doing that? Is there a person at that company you really want to learn from? How can you get a job there?
My team at Homi is working tirelessly to bring you a platform that will help you answer these questions. Be in touch.