By Marcie Waters
From Harry Potter, one can undoubtedly learn many life lessons (“Wit beyond measure is a man’s greatest treasure.”), but did you ever realize the great career advice J.K. Rowling indirectly provides in her magical series? Through Ron, Harry, and Hermione’s seven years at Hogwarts, they pick up skills and practices that are crucial when looking for and starting a new job. Consider these tips:
1. Get experience before committing to a career path.
Harry definitely got a lot of experience fighting the dark arts before deciding to become an auror. You can gain experience in an industry by interning, volunteering, or joining a student org or professional organization. Conducting an informational interview with a professional in the industry you’re interested in can also help you to gain an idea of what the field is like. It’s beneficial to have a grasp on an industry, so you can be sure you will like the industry you’re in before accepting a full time job in it.
2. Networking. Networking. Networking.
Harry gained many connections throughout his time at Hogwarts by getting to know his professors and fellow students. He even attended networking events, like Professor Slughorn’s “Slug Club” dinners of outstanding students. Anyone can be a potential networking connection, but you can get started by reaching out to professors, alumni, and supervisors. Attend LSCS events like the career fairs, mock interviews, and employer panels to meet professionals. You can also utilize LinkedIn and Twitter to network online with professionals.
3. Work hard.
Hard work does not go unnoticed. Take it from Hermione, who worked hard at Hogwarts; she was recognized by her peers and superiors many times for being the “brightest witch of her age”. Supervisors and professors will be more likely to give you a recommendation if they see you working hard. By working hard, you are also likely to get more done and could have more completed projects in your portfolio.
4. Do not be afraid to fail, but learn from it.
When Ron was learning charms, he failed to correctly execute the “Wingardium leviosa” spell. He learned from his errors though, and was able to successfully use the spell to rescue Hermione from the troll in the girl’s bathroom. Failure is inevitable, but as long as you keep an open mind and learn from the mistakes that you make, you can improve your skills. These situations are not only great learning experiences, but also make for great examples to talk about in future job interviews to show how you problem solve and overcome challenges.
5. Teach yourself.
When Harry, Ron, and Hermione were dissatisfied with how little they were learning in Defense Against the Dark Arts, they formed Dumbledore’s Army to teach themselves and others how to fight the dark arts. If you are in a situation where you feel like you don’t know as much as you should, do some research. There are many online resources that can teach you about an industry, how to use software, or offer advice on strategies. Of course, don’t hesitate to ask coworkers and supervisors questions, but you can also impress them with knowledge you’ve acquired on your own.
6. Meet with a career advisor.
Fifth-year Hogwarts students meet with a professor to discuss their career plans to prepare for their N.E.W.T.s. Harry met with Professor McGonagall to discuss his plans for becoming an auror. If you’re unsure how to make your dream career a reality, visit Career Services to discuss what the next steps should be in your career path. LSCS can also review resumes and cover letters, conduct mock interviews, and discuss job search strategies.
With these tips, you are now ready to face the Dark Lord (or at least your first job).