How College Students Can Get a Head Start on Their Careers in 2019
Dear Student, Happy New Year!
With the advent of the new year, each of us is presented with new and exciting opportunities. For you, many of those opportunities will be found on campus.
Now, let’s be honest. The reason you’re in college is to learn new things and to experience as much as you can, so that you’re able to choose the best career path for yourself.
Despite what you might think (or what your friends are doing…), career planning should not be put off until your junior or senior year. Many students who wait until their last years of college to search for a career quickly realize they are underprepared, and should have started earlier. You will have a significant leg up on other students if you start exploring your career options, applying for internships, polishing your LinkedIn profile, and improving your social skills during your first year (rather than your last).
Many of you reading this are probably thinking “but I don’t even know what I want to major in!” And that’s okay. That’s normal. But the best way to figure out what you’re interested in is to be open-minded, learn as much as you can, try things, and see what you enjoy (and what you can’t stand).
Deciding on a career isn’t easy. In fact, it’s one of the toughest decisions you’ll ever make…
So here’s how you can get a head start on your career today:
FIND CLUBS YOU CAN JOIN
No matter what University you’re at, there are extracurricular and professional clubs available that can assist you with your career goals. Your University’s website is a great resource to discover clubs offered on campus. Better yet attend a club fair, where club members are available to answer questions. The benefits of joining a club in college cannot be understated. It’s an opportunity to meet new people, improve your social skills, and learn something new. And, of course, it looks great on your resume, too!
ATTEND CAREER FAIRS ON CAMPUS THIS SEMESTER!
Career fairs are a great way to interact with potential employers, make contacts, learn about different businesses and get an idea of what kind of internships or jobs you’d like to apply to. Even if you aren’t actively applying for jobs, attending a career fair will expose you to recruiters and get you familiar with the application process. Plan on attending as many as you can (even if you’re a freshman!). Experts agree that the BEST way to have a successful start to your career is to have on the job experience and to make in-person connections. So get out there and make those connections! So, before the semester starts, go on your University website and jot down the dates and times of career fairs on campus. Use our FREE downloadable calendar to write all the dates down, today!
GET ORGANIZED ASAP
Choosing a major, finding an internship, and deciding on a career can be an overwhelming process. For that reason, it’s crucial to organize your thoughts, papers, experiences and awards. I recommend having a binder (an old-fashioned 3-ring binder is BEST) specifically for career-related information (contacts, previous experiences, etc.). Or, set up a Google Doc or OneNote file. The key is to have ALL your information in one place that you can EASILY reference and add to. If you are just getting started, write down your tentative career plans and interests as they come to mind. Make a list of companies you would potentially like to work for. And keep a list of all your connections and recommendations here, too. This includes previous employers, a few of your favorite professors (for recommendations), older friends who already have jobs, etc. Having established contacts to reach out to when you’re job-hunting is a huge advantage!
GET REAL WORK EXPERIENCE
One of the BIGGEST mistakes you can make is graduating college with no job experience. The job market is becoming increasingly competitive, so it’s more important now than ever before to set yourself apart by having real-world experience. That does not mean your previous work needs to relate to the job you’re applying for. What it does do, though, is show your potential employer that you are capable of working in a professional environment and that you understand how to handle responsibility. You will inevitably be asked about previous work experience during the interview process, so it’s paramount that you are able to sell yourself using your own personal experiences and employer referrals. Now if you’re struggling to find a paying job, volunteering is another excellent way to bolster your resume and demonstrate that you have what it takes to be a professional.
Now, this might seem like a lot to do…but, luckily for you, I’ve created a FREE downloadable calendar that will help keep you organized in 2019!
Add it to your new career binder so you can keep track of:
Career office seminars
Applications to part-time jobs and internships
Choosing a career might seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. Take the appropriate steps TODAY, and you’ll be setting yourself up for future success.
Here’s to an exciting and fruitful 2019!