One common misconception among college students is that your professional experience starts after college. This incorrect student career advice can and will cost future opportunities. It’s really sad that four to eight years working towards their degrees, just to end up managing the night shift at McDonald’s.
“You should be acquiring skills that will help you get started with your career” – Alice C. Stewart
Even if you held down a full-time internship in college, there’s something about being at that office every day—and knowing you’ll be there for the long haul—that’s a bit different. And a bit more challenging. Don’t’ let this happen to you. Start working towards your entry-level career early in the game.
The common misconception among college students. Here are some important things to do now that will help you step onto a career path and become happily self-supporting after you graduate.
• Look for opportunities before you graduate – Start looking for opportunities before you finish your graduation. Don’t automatically default to those stereotypical “college student”. Look for work related to your major goals. For example, journalism students could benefit from working in a print production plant. This provides an inside look at how the business functions. Accounting students may want to work as a receptionist at the local tax office. Art history majors could volunteer or do an internship at a local gallery.
• Take advise from your seniors, teachers – You don’t need to be pals with your seniors or teachers, just worthy of inclusion in their network will be helpful. That means talking to them after class about courses, research projects, and internships that can help you achieve your post-graduate goals. Your efforts will pay off in more personalized letters of recommendation and maybe even introduction s to potential employers.
• Make a strong knowledge base – Students learn multiple skills in college. Some are related to your career; others may seem less useful. Open your mind to those so-called “useless” skills. They may come in handy one day. But don’t stop there. The key is expansion. Expand your skills and knowledge. Companies look for team members with the ability to work in diverse settings. Look for courses that complement your major.
• Campus and college placement office – Don’t assume that your campus and college placement office caters only to accounting and engineering majors that employers recruit on campus. No matter what your major, you should visit your career center to learn how to write a résumé and cover letter, research potential employers, ace an interview, and network effectively.
• Up to date with current tech and affairs – While some entry-level careers are more competitive than others, all jobs require work and preparation. Staying current on technology and industry trends gives you an advantage over other applicants. Most students are more up-to-date with technology than seasoned professionals, giving them the upper hand. Those same students however, show a lack of knowledge of industry trends. Visit your college library and read professional journals each month. Consider this piece of student career advice: learning new technology or updating your software version knowledge is just as important as industry trends.
• Internship – Nowadays, an internship is your audition for your first job after graduation. Sixty-three percent of graduating seniors have had at least one internship and seven of 10 interns are offered full-time jobs by their employers, according to internships.com, which matches students to employers.
• Do conduct research – Back in the day, graduate students assisted professors with research projects. Today, undergraduates do research so they can get into graduate school and do more research. In a survey, it is found that the critical thinking and problem-solving skills that you gain from doing research could convince employers that you’ll succeed in the workplace.
• Earn a valuable credential – “Credentialing is the next big thing,”. Ask professors, college career counselors, and employers that you meet at campus job fairs which credentials have value in your field. If you want to work in finance, for example, you could earn the Bloomberg certification, which shows that you know how to use that company’s news and data terminal.
• Command on language and a second language – Bilingual college graduates stand out, and your college years are the perfect time for foreign language immersion. If you study abroad, try to lodge with a local family so you’ll be able to practice what you’ve learned in class.
• Get a part-time job – Research shows that you’ll gain experience and employer recommendations that will help you get a full-time position after you graduate. You’ll also make money, which means you won’t have to borrow as much for college.