The best time to start planning for your career is while you’re still in college. This is a time when you’re surrounded by a wide assortment of useful resources that you can tap into. You also have easy access to experienced career advisors who will steer you towards making more informed decisions about a prospective career. It will also help you be better equipped to pursue your dream career upon graduation. Here is some great career advice for students in college.
Actively Seek Work Experience Opportunities
Colleges go out of their way to provide students with a variety of opportunities to get valuable work experience. This may be in the form of volunteering, internships, or work studies. You have to do your part and look for these opportunities. All of these are great ways to get a first-hand look into a prospective field and solidify your career choices. An internship or work-study can help you determine whether or not a certain career is right for you or not. Finding out now can save you a lot of time and heartache later.
Volunteering, internships, and work studies all offer valuable, hands-on experience in your prospective field. These practical experiences help you develop crucial skills that will do much to benefit your future career.
There are several ways to find work experience opportunities during college:
Ask your academic advisors and professors. They are sure to know someone within their network of professionals who may be able to help you. If they don’t know anyone, they can still get referrals from within their network.
Reach out to your school’s alumni. Your college career center can put you in touch with alumni who are always glad to help.
Check your college employment board. Many companies contact colleges directly with job openings. These are often posted up on job employment boards in the college career center.
Attend career fairs. Career fairs offer unique opportunities to students looking for work experience. Not only will you get to hear about interesting openings but you will also meet prospective employers personally. These face-to-face interactions can give you a huge advantage, both in terms of getting an internship as well as future job opportunities.
Looks For Ways to Expand Your Skills and Knowledge
Today, companies look for well-rounded candidates with skills that go beyond academics. The professional world is highly competitive. Expanding your skills and knowledge is key to beating the competition and landing your dream job. While there’s no substitute for getting good grades in your field, look for ways to supplement that learning. Enroll in elective courses that are relevant to your career path.
Start Building Your Network
Networking with other professionals can benefit you in so many different ways. It gives you unique insight into different careers from other working professionals who have already gone down that path. The contacts you make can be of invaluable help after you graduate. They will reach out to you and let you know about job openings in your field. Or they may even refer you to employers looking to fill a position that you are qualified for.
Waiting to start building your network after graduation is a mistake. You’ll get opportunities as a college student that you’ll never be able to get after graduation.
3 ways to start building your network in college:
Establish positive relationships with your professors and other faculty. Doing this is easier than you may think. Get off that last bench in the classroom and move right up in front. Be an active participant in the classroom and during group discussions. Ask questions. Offer your services when a professor asks for volunteers. These little interactions are sure to create a lasting positive impression on your professors. When the time comes, they will be proud to recommend you to interested employers.
Talk with alumni. We said it before, alumni are always happy to help students from their alma mater. They often volunteer to host interactive sessions with current students to offer practical advice about various careers. During these sessions, they answer students’ questions about the job search, interview tips, and what to expect as a working professional. Alumni with whom you’ve taken the trouble to build a relationship may even refer you for openings in their own organization or other companies.
Use social media platforms. Social media platforms make it incredibly easy to network with professionals in any field. And it won’t take up much of your time either. Spending a few minutes once or twice a week to interact with other members can work wonders. Others will notice and remember you, whether you answer or ask questions within the networking group. This can lead to lots of openings and opportunities after you graduate. Remember to update your profile to reflect your current education or work experience. And always keep all interactions positive. You don’t want to be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Visit Your College’s Career Center Regularly
At your college career center, you’ll find a wealth of resources that focus on offering career advice and assistance. Start by using aptitude assessment tests that will help you identify careers that are the best fit for you. Get your resume and cover letter reviewed by experts so you can hone it to perfection. Participate in mock job interviews to boost your confidence and polish your interviewing skills. Check the job postings board regularly for the latest internship opportunities and job placements. Attend workshops conducted by alumni and other professionals in different fields.
The best thing you can do to jumpstart your career after graduation is to implement these career advice tips while you’re still in college.
Want to discover stats and in-depth information about the careers you’re considering? Check out College Raptor’s Career Center!