It’s Homecoming Week at my university, so I thought I would glean some career wisdom from this proud tradition. A tradition for many colleges and universities, homecoming is an event designed to welcome alumni back “home” to their alma mater. For current students, the festivities are all about school spirit.
Homecoming is built around connections, particularly the connection to a place. Alumni return to reconnect with friends and memories. Current students develop a deeper connection with their school as they celebrate the traditions and festivities special to the university.
When it comes to your career, connections are key. How often do you hear about the importance of networking? And don’t forget the old career adage: “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” Take advantage of the connections you can make through your university, particularly with alumni. Alumni are warm contacts. You already share something very important with them – your university. I think it’s highly appropriate that LinkedIn launched the new “Classmates” feature–a tool to help you network with alumni of your university–right in the midst of Homecoming season.
It’s about competition
Who can forget the centerpiece event of college homecoming: the football game. But beyond the game, the week leading up to it is often full of competition among student groups. On my campus, student organizations compete in a variety of activities, from games to “Yell Like Hell” and, of course, the parade. The competition is always friendly and is all about school pride.
Competition doesn’t go away once you hit the workplace. While it might not be competition around who built the best float, it could be competition for work assignments or even positions. As cutthroat as workplace competition can get, take a lesson from the goodness of homecoming and keep it friendly. Not only will it make you a respected professional, it will make you a better person.
It’s about celebration
The parade! The big football game! Homecoming is all about celebrating your university and showing off your school spirit. Homecoming is such a fun time on a college campus.
How does this translate to your career? Simple–celebrate the professional you are becoming. Celebrate your achievements. Celebrate the amazing experiences you get to have–studying abroad, scoring a great internship, being elected as an officer to your student organization. If you don’t celebrate you–your accomplishments and your aspirations–who will?
Happy Homecoming to one and all this fall!
Laura serves as Internship Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the office of Career & Leadership Development. In this role, Laura advises students who are pursuing internships, assists employers with intern recruitment, and supports university faculty who oversee academic internships. She also provides students with job search readiness assistance through presentations, individual counseling, and social media. Laura earned her bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she majored in French and Political Science, and she received her masters degree in Counseling from UW-Whitewater. To learn more about Laura, read her blog, follow her on Twitter, or connect on LinkedIn.