After college, you have two options. You are either going to be the person who paints the town red to celebrate graduation, then walk into an office after office to face rejection. Or you will be the one who will confidently walk into any office and get a job with confidence and ease. The difference between the two is whether you will take the time to build hands-on skills while in college.
While employers love graduates, they love graduates with work experience more. To start building your career, here are tips you should incorporate in your school activities.
1. Stop procrastinating
The greatest misconception students have is thinking about work experience after college. This inaccurate advice can cost you many opportunities when you need them most. While there is nothing wrong with concentrating on your studies, it is wise to think about experience as well. Learn how businesses in your field function by getting an internship or volunteer opportunity in a company related to your field. For example, if you live in Texas, there are tons of volunteer opportunities in Austin. But if you don’t know where to look, you can partner with an organization that connects students with companies. This way, you will increase your opportunities exponentially while growing your skills, so you are more equipped to enter the job market.
2. Attend professional development seminars
It sounds boring, we know, but professional workshops are vital for anyone who wants to build a career while still in college. A lot of colleges facilitate seminars for students that you can take advantage of. Enroll in orientation and career exploration courses by university departments in your first and second year to familiarize yourself with the degree paths and resources in your department. Next, attend department-sponsored lectures and speaker series throughout the semester. Listen to what speakers and professionals in your field have to say. After college, such events are hard to attend because they are expensive, but in college, they are free.
3. Build your network
Ever heard of the phrase ‘your network is equal to your net worth?” that’s because networking is crucial in the current job market. Take every opportunity to meet and interact with people in your field of interest. Ask for cards, contact information, and ways to keep in touch. Having a bunch of contacts will not help you build your career, but contacting your network will expose you to internships and job opportunities. To start, attend alumni opportunities and interact with people who have been to your university. Alumni often look for mentees, which is perfect if you are looking to learn the ropes and gain experience. Also, create an maintain a LinkedIn account. Post relevant information in your field and things that inspire you. Employers often use LinkedIn to scout for talent, so take it seriously.
It’s not hard to build your career experience while in college, but if you have to start now. By following these easy steps, you will set yourself for success in the future when it’s time to get into the workforce.
For more great college tips, check out the other blogs on College Basics.