Garrett Miller, author of “Hired ‘Right’ Out of College”, gave a colloquium that advised students on job placements.
Miller made the audience take a good, hard look at their current major. “Many of you know the kid who isn’t ‘engaged’ in class,” noted Miller, showing a picture of a disinterested looking student on the projector screen. “Maybe you know what that feels like… maybe that student is you.” That person is so disinterested because there is a major disconnect between what they study and the overall “end goal”. For instance, a disengaged student often won’t associate a class like calculus with the job in engineering that he or she wants to get.
The best way to cure this affliction? Miller told the story of one of his friends, who “was completely disinterested in his classes in college.” His friend’s GPA suffered incredibly. However, after taking an engineering internship at a company that he loved, his outlook completely changed. “He mentally connected the classes he was taking with the internship he took… it all became ‘real’ to him! Afterwards, he took an interest in the material and raised his GPA. The next summer, the company invited him back as well, and it all finally clicked for him.”
However, not all stories have such simple resolutions. “It may be possible that your talents lie elsewhere… If I as an employer see that, I would be doing you a disservice by hiring you.” Miller said that many students, realizing that they can’t handle their current major, usually transfer to the closest major to theirs that requires less work. It could possibly be the best move, as long as these people find their passion.
There are also cases where someone’s passion is in a different field altogether. “How can you know that this is what you want to do… if this is all you know?” asks Miller. “You need to try different things.” This is perhaps the simplest advice that he gave to the audience, but also the best. How can you know that you want to be an artist, a writer, or a scientist if you haven’t tried anything else? It might be that one day you wake up and realize that you have a job that you hate, and that would be highly unfortunate. “Evaluate yourself,” he said.
Finally, for the people who do want to get hired, Miller gave the audience one acronym that summarized all that he looks for in employees: WHIM. In order: Work Ethic, Humility, Integrity, and Maturity. These may appear fairly obvious and slightly derivative of the book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, which is a recommended book for you to read, but all of it holds true. Good work ethic is one hundred percent a necessary quality for prospective employees to have, and it is a a good idea to give concrete examples to your interviewer. Humility also holds important, as an employee must be willing to learn from his or her mentors. Integrity is a gauge of how trustworthy an employee is, even just as a person! Lastly, but no less importantly is maturity; no one wants to hire someone unprofessional.
As the colloquium ended, Miller received much applause from the crowd. “Look at yourself,” he noted as the crowds left.
The colloquium was the result of collaboration between Dr. Paul Dine and Mr. Miller. The event was hosted by the Albert Dorman Honors College.