Lara Renee (2013) is a writer and fundraising professional based in Los Angeles. As a Biola alumna with a degree in English and a minor in sociology, every step in her career has been motivated by a desire to unite her three greatest loves: love for God, love for others and love for writing. In that spirit, she authors articles for faith-based magazines, explores faith questions on her personal blog and writes for various nonprofits through her work as a copywriter for a fundraising agency.
Students often sit in the tension of what it looks like to trust God and, at the same time, take action. Renee was once in that same spot. Here are three tips she learned on her journey to enter her desired career field through stewarding her opportunities, trusting God and taking initiative.
1. Connect with Your Professors.
One of the biggest benefits Biola students have is accessibility to professors due to small class sizes. Many professors have years of experience in their field and have built a robust network. Renee’s professors connected her to multiple magazines that she ended up writing for.
“I even wish that I had taken more advantage of those connections and nurtured them more,” said Renee.
Not only do professors have wisdom to share, but they often have professional relationships that could lead you to future opportunities.
2. Your First Job Does Not Have to Be Your Dream Job
The first few years after college can be a mixed bag. You may not get your dream job or even enter your desired career field immediately after graduation. Renee did freelance work and had a job at a tutoring center, even though she had no desire to teach.
“I was doing freelance writing on the side but I was definitely in a job outside of my field,” Renee said.
Still, every job has value. Today, Renee works as a writer at an ad agency that partners with non-profit organizations to deliver and create their external communication, primarily for donors. Her first job at the current agency, however, was on the mperations team. When she saw an opportunity to possibly step into a writing position, she took the initiative and applied.
“I found out the woman that wrote for many of our faith-based clients was transitioning out, so I approached the creative director,” said Renee. “One thing led to another and the door opened for me to join the creative team as a writer.”
3. Surrender Your Career Journey to God
Renee’s story reminds us that above all, we need to trust God with our careers.
“If you are pursuing a God-honoring desire in your life then it is completely okay to take the steps to make that happen,” said Renee. “Put yourself out there. Approach the people you need to approach. Get godly wisdom from people in your life, and trust God every step of the way.”
Some of Renee’s friends are doing something completely different than what they thought they would do after college but are excited about their trajectory. Sometimes, the Lord leads us down paths we would never expect.
“Sometimes we get obsessed with the idea of arriving at success or arriving at our goals,” said Renee. “Goals are great, we should pursue them. In my own career, I have realized that we will never arrive. Even when we reach a certain milestone or point of success in our journey, that is not the end. It isn’t about reaching the point or moment of success. It is about God’s work on you throughout all of it.”
To find out more about Lara and read more of her work, visit her blog at lararenee.com.
Lisa Reimann is the social media ambassador for the Career Center. For more information, email Lisa at email@example.com.