Guest Blog: Keeping an Open Mind to New Opportunities

–Written by Jacqueline F. Hills–

As a Purdue graduate just under five years in the work force, I reflect on how my career path has brought me back to Boilermaker Nation.

During my time at Purdue, I did everything to supplement my Purdue degree with additional experience on and off campus.  I was fortunate enough to find a job on campus with the Purdue Football Program that encompassed the majority of my on campus activities for four years at Purdue.  The job was a combination of consistency and convenience, as well as a great opportunity in events, leadership, and recruitment.  I spent the majority of my other time volunteering at events in sports industry in the Midwest.  Upon graduation from Purdue, I believed with my degree and vast experience of on campus and off campus, I would be a strong candidate for the job of my choice.

As graduation approached, I had developed an extremely poignant stance on what position, at what level, and in what industry I wanted to work.  Unfortunately, that created very limited available opportunities.  I spent the majority of the summer after graduation looking for that specific opportunity.  By the end of the summer the opportunity still had not come across my door step, but a graduate assistantship at a small, non – Big Ten School came into sight.  I had never thought I would go straight into grad school after my bachelor’s degree nor thought I’d go to any school of less or even equal high profile as Purdue.  Little did I realize being at a smaller school for grad school meant staff had to rely on their graduate students for a great deal of work since they were stretched so thin with budgets and staffing.  I was able to walk out of that school with a master’s degree under my belt, as well as great hands on field experience.

After receiving my master’s degree, I again thought I would be a great candidate for the next job of my choice.  I ended up moving to Nashville just waiting for the perfect job in the sports industry to fall on my door mat.  An opportunity came up in Columbus, OH.  It was in the strength and conditioning side of the sports industry which was not my most passionate component of the industry and it meant moving back to “the north” and cold weather.  In the end, the position turned out to provide new, uncharted depth to my resume.  I was able to gain valuable start-up and financial business experience.

Two years into gaining that new business experience, it came the time to find new challenges.  I had every intention to stay in a management role and just transition to a regional role.  Unfortunately, the company was a solid two years out in creating that tier of management.  The position to return to Boilermaker Nation came into sight, although it meant leaving management and leaving the sports industry.  Turns out the position has given me the opportunity to fine tune my project management and communication skills.

As you can see the majority of my work experience has come from me looking in one direction and landing in another.  I am thankful for the opportunities that have come my way even if they weren’t exactly the path I hoped and envisioned to be on in my future.  Keeping an open mind has lent me to build the resume I have today, and something I hope you can learn to capitalize on in the future as well!


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