You’ve made the decision to further your education to obtain the career of your dreams. Great! Now is the time to ask yourself, how can I use my college years to prepare for my career? It’s simple! Follow these steps and take ownership of your future!
- Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor: Sit down with your academic advisor and discuss realistic educational and career plans. Examine the linkage between offered courses or majors and your desired career. Discuss special academic services and resources for your major and future career.
- Visit the campus career center: This is a free resource. Career services’ primary function is to assist you with networking, internships and the job search process. Early exposure to career planning is important! There are so many career paths out there and they will help you explore and narrow down what options are best for you. Apply for jobs on campus.
- Assessment Test: Be proactive and learn what your strengths and weakness are. This tool can be a wonderful way to uncover hidden talents in your area of interest. Use what you learn about yourself to develop, improve and fine tune your skill set. Here are three of our favorite free quizzes:
- College is your job!: Use this time to work on presenting yourself as a professional to your professors and faculty. Use positive body language, introduce yourself to people in your school and department. Make it a priority to get to class and turn your assignments in on time. Get involved in class discussions. Schedule meeting times with your Professor and classmates to discuss areas that you find challenging or could use extra help. Keep in mind… Graduation is the pay date!
- Set Professional goals: Make a well informed decision and commit. Write goals down on paper. (This will help you clarify what you want and help you celebrate your progress). Break goals down into smaller tasks and check them off as you achieve them. Execute!
- Volunteer: Talk to peers and professors about volunteer opportunities. Join campus organizations. This will demonstrate your potential to employers that you are vested in your career. You can use these opportunities to build leadership and team building skills. Try applying what you learn in the classroom to a real work base culture.
- Network: Start making connections right away. Connect with everyone of interest, not just professionals in your area of study. Always be prepared! You never know who you may meet.
- Professional Associations: Most professional fields have associations with learning and networking possibilities. Again, this will demonstrate to a potential employer that you are dedicated and committed to your career. Most associations will reduce memberships for students.
- School-Business Partnerships: Most universities and colleges have great working relationships with local businesses and community organizations. Forge a professional relationship with the business school. This often leads to internships and job opportunities.
- Internships: Begin looking for internships during your sophomore year. Interning is a great way to:
- Build real world hands-on experience.
- Network and attend events given and attended by professionals in your field of study.
- Build your resume with relevant work experience.
- Develop time management skills.
- Paid, non-paid, and for-credit internships form a great foundation for your future career. Interning demonstrates your potential as an employee, and, as most employers prefer to hire from within; interning gives you an advantage on other candidates.
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Use your resources wisely and take hold of your Professional Career.