It is often said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Nothing motivates a student more than the prospect of becoming what they have always dreamt of being, especially if that ambition has clawed at them since childhood.
One of the major qualities of unmotivated students is their presumption that their careers officially begin after they complete college and hitting that “apply” button. Wise students will, however, discern that the transition process begins as soon as they begin following their interests, even before college.
Unlike high school students, a college student has real opportunities (though mostly unpaid) to interact with the workforce and get a feel of what their future careers feel like and hold for them.
You don’t want to be a part of that frustrated number, which is desperately haggling for career opportunities after they leave college and contributing to the unemployment levels of a country.
Here then are key tips to keep in mind if you want to get a head start in your career and make an easy transition from student to working adult.
Start Interacting Early with Professionals in Your Field
Even at the point of joining college, you may not be completely sure of the career path that you have chosen. Some days will feel like a pressure cooker, especially if you are in a tough course or a challenging school. Before going much further only to be frustrated, you have to be 100% sure that you have made the right decision.
The best way to do this is to interact with professionals in your field, especially ones in your school alumni network. Start this process as early as possible. Ask the tough questions, such as “Is it worth the effort?”. Query everything, from the working conditions in the industry to the potential pay packages. You may want to be an entrepreneur even as a trained professional ultimately. Does your career provide room for this?
There are other ways to interact with such professionals, for example, you could call into offices and schedule visits with these folks. Here, you can get a practical feel of the work environment and whether it is for you or not.
Treat Every Job as a Career Builder
Most students don’t think much about those summer or holiday jobs that they take on to make a little extra income. With a positive attitude, however, a wealth of opportunities can be generated with such employment.
Even in a specialist career, employers are often looking for other skills to complement what you have already trained for in college. These include balancing ledgers, technical skills such as hardware repairs and network troubleshooting, artistry, etc. With these holiday jobs, you have a great opportunity to learn some new skills outside of class.
For example, if writing is one of your talents, you could submit some of your articles to a paper writing service, and they could use your skills as an essay writer for students from other countries who don’t possess the same skills.
Learn a New Skill or Hone Your Talents Outside of Class
Remember that famous proverb “Cast your bread upon many waters?” It is the real-world application of the above saying. Taking up a hobby or purposing to learn a new skill is one of the best ways to get jumpstarted on your career.
Not only does it make you appear proactive, but you can find something to fall back when times are tough in the economy, and jobs are unavailable. You may even discover an extreme passion that will ultimately earn you more income than just any other thing that you trained for in school.
Attend as Many Career Forums as Possible
One of the best ways to network with professionals in your industry and keep ahead of trends is to attend career fairs and forums. You can start building professional networks early with other students and like-minded persons, and you may even chance upon an internship opportunity at the company of your dreams.
Challenge Yourself with Multiple Personal Projects
It is one of the least applied methods of getting a fast move into your career. It is also singly the best way of achieving this feat. Students might be afraid of tackling personal projects, especially those in their careers, because of the fear that they don’t have enough knowledge to pull this off.
However, this personal challenge will teach you numerous skills such as research and practical skills related to your industry, especially if you’re working towards a career in the sciences. It will also demonstrate to a potential employer that you are self-motivated, are truly passionate about your field, and can work without any supervision. Hey, you might also end up becoming a budding entrepreneur in your own right.
Always remember that employers are always looking for that extra element that sets you apart from the rest of the pack. Applying all the above tips will make your resume look polished, and you will be steadily ahead of the pack even if you haven’t graduated from the most prestigious schools.