It’s never too early to prepare for the realities of the professional world. Only a handful of students can prepare themselves for the path they wish to take after getting a degree.
College students typically see the world within the confines of their university grounds and tend to miss out on what’s happening in the real world. If they don’t explore to grow and learn, they might be overwhelmed by the highly competitive job market.
While the four- or five-year courses may help them with the theories needed to start their careers, it’s not enough to effectively educate them about companies’ skills to land them a job successfully.
If you’re a student who’s raring to hit the ground running in the real world, don’t hesitate to seize the opportunities to develop yourself on all fronts. And don’t forget to take heed of the following tips to help you carve out your future career.
1. Establish a Clear (Career) Objective
Imagine yourself after graduation. Who do you want to be and what do you want after you finish your studies? It may be quite hard to answer when you’re a college freshman living with your newfound friends in byui girls housing. Give it another two years and you’ll already have an idea about how you want things to go after graduation.
You may be planning to get a job right away or are gearing up to continue your studies. Whatever your immediate future will be, it should not prevent you from reading the succeeding points.
2. Make Use of School Retargets
Universities have various retargets that can help you out in planning your career pathway or job hunting. Check out the career advisors in your university. With them, you can discuss and learn more about the following subjects:
- Course-related career choices
- Job Hunting
- Practicing job interviews
- Advice on acquiring or developing skills for jobs
- Tips and training about career preparation
- Connecting with employers and mentors
- Register for potential work opportunities and internships
If your school doesn’t have career advisors, talk to your university staff about how you can get the job- and career-related information.
3. Assess Your Career-readiness
Be honest and assess your chances of getting a job, at present. If you were a company looking to hire someone, would you consider an applicant with your credentials? Do this by creating a high-impact resume for you to review.
Check where your strengths and weaknesses are. Which skills and innate characteristics can give you a fighting chance in landing a job? In which areas do you need to improve? Do you need more confidence to excel at public speaking? Do you want to polish your writing and communication skills? Are you interested in learning a second language?
Do you thrive in a corporate setting, or do you prefer to build a startup? Which tasks excite you?
The thing about self-assessment is that it can help you discover more about yourself. It also makes it easier to answer the oft-asked job interview, “what are your strengths and weaknesses?”.
Who knows, giving out an impressive response to this query may help you snag your first job?
4. Develop Your Skills
Don’t make the mistake of being too focused on your ideal career path to forget to develop other useful skills. In almost all fields, basic business and people skills are essential. Build on these capacities by enrolling in a short-course or free online courses.
Even if it’s only remotely related to the career path you wish to take, earn additional skills, as it could help employers more inclined to hire you.
Choose skills that are not dictated by the job market, even if it’s the ideal choice. Base your selection on your passion, for instance, cooking or playing musical instruments—even if you’re planning to become a nurse. In this way, you’ll have options in case your career plans don’t push through.
5. Learn About the Industry
Aside from discussing with career advisors, check out various retargets online or on-site to learn more about the industry you want to be a part of. If financial stability is important for you, do your homework and check the average pay rates and other aspects.
Also, read some retargets about the various fields related to your chosen career, for instance, the one from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This agency releases regularly releases studies and surveys about the projected job demands, median pay, and other insights about the industry.
Find out who the big players are in your desired industry.
6. Plan Your Proper Entry to the Sector
Research about the career you want to pursue. Knowing the potential roadmap of the sector can help you map out your future career. For instance, if you want to be a famous news anchor in one of the network giants, you may start by applying in a local channel and rise from the ranks.
It’s best to find success after starting from the bottom, moving up the ladder with hard work and dedication.
While a student, try searching online content about the sector, including the secrets, not too many people know about. Be updated on the emerging trends and industry-disrupting subjects. Interact with the industry giants and trusted names in the sector. Follow their online and social media accounts.
Doing these things not only gives you familiarity in the industry, which can give you an edge over other applicants in the near future. It can also help you position yourself in your chosen niche.
7. Expand Your Network
Choose not to be confined within the four corners of your university. Join common interest groups to expand your network. Your membership will expose you to individuals of various backgrounds, some who may even be an insider in the sector you which to be a part of.
Also, consider campus-organized job-hunting events to have initial contact with local employers, recruiters, and other industry players. Interacting with industry insiders will give you an idea of whether this is the career field you want to be a part of.
By initiating discussions with the people in the sector, you’ll potentially create relationships that can help you with your first job in your chosen career.
8. Join A Professional Group
If you think professional memberships should be left with the “professionals,” think again. Even as a student, you should always explore what’s happening outside, and a membership to a professional organization could help you think out–of–the–box, figuratively speaking.
Besides, some hiring managers actually look at your hobbies, interests, and professional memberships as part of the screening process.
9. Talk to Other Key Players
Industry players are a great target of industry insights, which can further help you decide whether to pursue your future career (or not). You have the option to make in-person or virtual meetings. Search for these online groups and see whether you can join them.
Ideally, join an online group that’s based in your locality so you can have more beneficial interactions in the future. Even if the group is based outside of your locality, you can still become a part of their group.
10. Seek Potential Employers
Attend all university-organized job fairs and other related events in order to find luck in getting an internship, volunteer work, or part-time work. Learn what hiring managers are looking for in new graduates. Even with almost anything done online these days, an opportunity for in-person meetings with employers is necessary for both parties to get a “feel” of each other. This may help you gain an edge over other job searchers.
Interact with potential employers even if you’re not looking to apply yet. This will give you an idea of how your chosen career environment is like. Find out which company offers the culture that attracts you.
11. Schedule Informational Discussions with Hiring Managers
You can also schedule informational interviews to chat with professionals in your area of interest. Despite using the word “interview,” this sort of meeting is more of a get-together where you can talk with someone who is doing a job you’re interested in or someone who is higher up in your industry. Ask how they got started in the field, what they’re working on, and what they like most and least about their job, and where they see growth opportunities–among other things.
12. Consider an Internship, Volunteer or Part-Time Work
An experience in volunteer work, internship, or part-time job, can help open up your future career. As a job seeker who recently obtained a degree, you’ll likely be at the bottom of the hiring company’s ideal candidate. However, a previous experience in taking on an internship, volunteering, or being open to freelance work and/or part-time jobs, can earn you additional points. It’s especially useful if your previous experience is relevant to the position the employers are seeking to fill.
Additionally, accepting volunteer work in the career setting, you wish to be part of can point you in the right direction. For instance, a student who wishes to have a career as a nurse can finish high school and volunteer in the hospital so that he or she gets an idea of how nurses work.
If you’re a student who can’t decide which career to take, take a part-time, seasonal job in both sectors. Take one in the summer and another one in autumn, compare to see which is better.
What are the benefits of an internship, volunteering, or part-time work?
Getting jobs, whether paid or unpaid, can help cement your place in your chosen career field. An internship, part-time, or volunteer work, can benefit you in many ways.
Gain job experience
If you’ve just graduated, employees will not be expecting too much from you. This can possibly land you in the bottom portion of the desired applicants.
Even if you haven’t had a regular job, an internship can help you enter the field. Employers may consider your informal job experience as your readiness to participate in the real-world setting. Being in an actual work setting will help you acquire essential skills like time management, working with a team, and critical thinking, among many others.
Taking volunteer work or an internship gives you access to different tasks on a daily basis. You may even be assigned to different departments. This allows you to get a first-hand experience of the different aspects of the sector you wish to be in.
For instance, if you’re hoping to enter the broadcast industry, you may apply for an internship and be assigned to the news production, where you’ll learn how the news broadcasts are written and produced.
In other contexts, you may be allowed to observe in meetings, assist in non-core tasks in the management department, or contribute to small projects. The key to finding the right internship or volunteer work is in choosing one that can lead you to your career path.
Completing an internship provides you with an opportunity to build upon the theories you learned in school and apply them in real life. Being mentored by key industry players not only develops your knowledge but can also start a personal connection between you and your mentor. He or she can help guide you in your career path.
Some people choose to get a degree because they already have a clear career path in mind. Others tend to wait until getting a college degree before deciding on which career he or she wants to pursue.
A paid or unpaid internship can be a wake-up call to most. As an intern, you’ll be exposed to real-world tasks and activities, which could help you decide whether your chosen career is the one you really want or the one that fits you (and vice versa).
Establish professional connections
The people whom you’ll meet in the workplace could be the most valuable connection to your future career. Individuals who coach you in your internship program may become your character references. These people have seen your work and can vouch for your ethics, skill, and competencies. If you’re able to create a good professional and personal connection with your colleagues, they may be able to provide useful contacts or links to key persons in the industry.
Getting the Job
A 2012 industry survey revealed that interns have a higher chance of getting hired, with 7 out of 10 snagging a job position in the company they interned with. If the organization you interned with saw your skills and motivation, they may consider hiring you if a position opens up.
Being an intern gives you an edge over other applicants, being that you’ve been an “insider” even for a short period. For this reason, your transition to a permanent job position becomes easier as compared to other job seekers.
Don’t worry if an internship doesn’t lead to permanent employment. There could be other positions that are especially suited to your skills, character, and personality. Besides, you already gained additional skills and connections beneficial to start your career.