Talent officer gives tips to college graduates
Essential Early Career Advice From A Talent Management Guru
Courtney Hagen has worked for a number of top brands in her career, including Russell Reynolds, PepsiCo, LVMH, and the private equity firm Littlejohn, where she is currently the Chief Talent Officer. But pursuing a career in managing and developing talent was far from what Courtney was thinking as a senior at Wellesley college many years ago, majoring in English and Political Science and strongly considering a career in law. I recently invited Courtney onto our From the Dorm Room to the Board Room podcast to chat about her career trajectory and advice she has for young professionals entering the workforce. The following short excerpt from that interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Andy Molinsky: What misconceptions do you think college students have when entering the professional world?
Courtney Hagen: I think one of the misconceptions is that your first job is going to make or break you. It can be an amazing experience. It can be something that sets you on a course for the rest of your career, but it can also be a place that you go into thinking, “Okay, I’m going to learn something; I’m going to make connections; and I may decide that it’s not exactly the right fit for me.”
Molinsky: Say more about fit. Is that something you really can know once you’ve started working?
Hagen: It’s very difficult to determine that when you’re coming out of school. You probably don’t know yet if you’re going to be happier and more successful in a small company or a big company – or what kind of organizational culture will fit you the best and where you can really flourish.
Hagen: One of the most important questions is something people actually rarely ask – and that’s what specifically you are going to be doing at a particular job –and in a particular role. Not the company or brand but the actual job. Even if you love the idea of working for company X, if you don’t like what you’re doing, you’re not going to be happy there.
Hagen: That’s where collegiate research skills come in really hand. Go read Glassdoor reviews, read about people’s interviews, and what were they asked in the interviews. That can give you some insight into specific roles Also use your school’s network. Talk to people who are very recent graduates, people who are actually doing the roles you’re considering.