Student Success Story: Sarah Ali
Accounting and Finance Double Major
April 2016 couldn’t have been a worse month. I was in a car accident, got a speeding ticket the next day, and in the same week, lost my car keys and my newly purchased Fitbit. Final exams were near, so the stress levels were high. On top of that, I had been receiving countless rejections every day from every possible internship opportunity I had applied to in Cleveland area. In addition to that, I was working three jobs while struggling to keep up with 18 credit hours of school work. Everything seemed to be crashing down, and I knew I needed help to get my life back in order.
While everything else seemed somewhat in my control, the only thing I found difficult was why I was receiving a rejection letter from every company I had applied to. I could work hard to improve my grades, work less hours at some of my jobs to keep my sanity, be more careful at driving, but as far as I knew, I was doing the best I could when applying for internships. I decided to seek further help, and made an appointment with a career counselor in the College of Business’ Career Services Office.
My expectations from this visit was very low, since everything else at that point wasn’t going well in my life. It took me around two weeks to get my first appointment, primarily because there isn’t a lot of free time when you’re a full-time student who is working 3 jobs. However, I still waited out this time and went in for my first appointment. I took in a copy of my resume and I was prepared to get some constructive feedback since the rejections had pretty much indicated that my resume wasn’t up to par. What I didn’t realize at that point was that my resume didn’t just need some touch ups, but a complete overhaul.
Meeting with Kelly in the Career Services was probably the turning point of my semester. She instantly picked up on my elevated stress levels, and instead of giving me pointers of what I could do to make it better, she told me she was willing to work me until I had an internship. She nurtured confidence that I could get a job as long as I was committed to the task. Furthermore, she knew I had a terrible schedule, and instantly offered to work with me via emails so I didn’t have to wait another two weeks to get an appointment. She was not only extremely prompt with her email replies, but also open to meeting with me in person as long as she wasn’t committed elsewhere.
Over the course of the summer, Kelly helped with perfecting my resume. We planned for the career events in September where she walked me through what to do to prepare for the event, and what steps to take once the event was over. Her constant support and guidance throughout the process is what made the whole job search process smooth and less of a nightmare.
My experience had proven that applying on my own wasn’t the best strategy for a college student with no network or contacts in the industry. Kelly introduced me to Kent State University’s Meet the Accountants Night event. There were over 40 employers who were looking to hire college grads for internships and full time positions. We had prepared all summer long for this event, and I knew this was my best chance to get an offer. After getting through the preliminary stage of meeting with employers, Kent State further facilitates the process by keeping the first set of interviews on campus.
After months of preparation, and possibly a hundred rejections, I became the student who went for seven final interviews and came out with seven offers, and not for an internship, but for full time positions! This is seven times more than what I had initially hoped for. I attribute this entire success to Kelly, and the Career Services Office. They knew exactly where I was lacking, helped me shaped my resume with highlighting all of my strengths and instilled in me the confidence that I was seriously lacking.
Therefore, anyone of you who may be struggling the way I was a few months back, know that there are people who are willing to help, have the experience and the knowledge to guide you in the right direction, and will support you until you reach your final goal.