Getting your foot in the door early is the best career move

By: Cole Farquhar, Photographer

Earlier this month, I talked to my friend about what we will both be doing this summer for work. He had brought up that he had an internship opportunity in a distributing and logistics office in Kansas City that was offered through his college's business and marketing department. Later, I talked to another friend who said that he was going back to Chick-fil-A to work for the summer.

No doubt, you’ll notice a pretty stark difference in the choices these two friends of mine are making. Young people my age, it seems, are just not taking advantage of the time they have now and during the summers to gain insight into the fields they are studying. But if they want to get good jobs after graduation, they absolutely should, and it's not as hard to do as some might think.

During my senior year of high school, I got an idea of what I wanted to study: pharmacy. At the same time, I was looking for an after-school job. My aunt, who was a pharmacy technician, suggested I apply to the pharmacy where she worked.

Even though I was nervous, a high schooler, and had no prior experience working in any medical field, the pharmacy was still happy to hire me as a clerk. I didn't meet all the requirements to work as a pharmacy technician during those months, but I still took the job, and as a clerk, I learned a lot about how a pharmacy operated and the field as a whole.

Since then, I have been working as a pharmacy technician, hoping to gain as much experience in a pharmacy as I can so that I’ll be better prepared when I eventually get to pharmacy school.

As much as it sucks to say the boomers are right on this, cold calling a company or office is a great way to find job opportunities or internships in fields you are interested in, and I'm afraid many young people don’t know this or just don’t do it.

While not everyone is in a position to work along with their sports, classes and other responsibilities, I would strongly encourage those who can work to try and find work in a field they are interested in turning into a career, even if it's just an entry-level job such as a receptionist. Even these lower-level jobs will give you great insight into the field you are considering working in for the rest of your professional life. If it turns out you hate it, you could save yourself several years of studying for a degree you may never use. If you love it, then it's a great way to prepare yourself for professional school.

The world is filled with many opportunities for people in college to get their foot in the door of their chosen fields: All they need to do is a bit of searching. Working as a pharm tech this past year has been amazing. I have learned so much and have made invaluable connections with those heavily involved in the field of pharmacy in Kansas.

I have also learned that pharmacy is much more than counting pills — that it is also helping your patients and forming bonds to help them with their medical needs. That's what I have come to love about the profession.

I encourage you this summer to go out and look for opportunities that will help you find your footing in your future career.

PHOTO: Courtesy photo, Unsplash