Going to college is a decision many students make as an effort to land the best possible job following graduation. Over the course of four years, students hone in on their skills in hopes that they will pay off. Unfortunately, many students don’t take advantage of starting their career planning while still in school and thus get thrown out to the sharks unprepared and unsure after graduation.
So what can college students start doing now to ensure they are ready to begin a career after graduation?
The career center is not just for newcomers and people in their last months of school. Every day this resource will post internships, job opportunities, resume workshops and more to help their students make a proactive effort toward applying themselves after college. Do not wait until three months before graduation to take your first steps inside the career center! Instead, see if you can meet with a career counselor once a quarter or semester to talk about current opportunities and changes in the field you are interested in. This will keep you up-to-date and well-informed which will aid in keeping you focused on life after college.
2. Get Some Work Experience
One of the most prominent things that future employers will look for is whether or not someone has relevant work experience. Internships look amazing on your resume as it shows you are willing to work for little in exchange for priceless knowledge. Look for opportunities that will help you build skills that are essential to succeed at your dream job and take note of accomplishments you have along the way. Being able to sell yourself with credible experience will help tremendously when you start applying for jobs.
Networking is the number one best way to land a position at your dream job, but it takes more than just having a conversation. Before you even step into a networking situation, be sure to have a 100 percent filled out LinkedIn profile, a short and well-edited resume, and a cover letter. These three things will be your tools for not only meeting new people but leaving them with something to remember you by. Network with people who are in the industry and seek out mentorships from people you admire.
4. Examine Other Skills and Hobbies
It turns out that many of the skills and hobbies you may have as a college student can be used for many different positions, including some that may not have been on your radar before. Take the time to make a list of all of your current skills and hobbies. Compare this list to the requirements listed for jobs in different fields. By honing in on what your talents are, you will be surprised by how many jobs need your skills. Also, take this time to build a list of skills that you would like to obtain that most jobs may require.
5. Reflect and Assess
One of the best ways to figure out what kind of career would be best for you is to participate in online surveys and assessments. There are thousands of tests that help determine your personality, ideal career choices and even what city would be best to live in based on your answers. If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a few of these assessments to give you a bit of direction. Also, speaking with a director or advisor will help guide you in your choice.