15 Career Tips for College Students
Your college education can provide an invaluable foundation for your career, giving you the essentials needed to succeed on the job. Some of the tools you acquire during your college years can serve you well later on, but only if you understand how best to take advantage of them. The following 15 career tips are for college students that have their career success in mind.
1. Get working. The jobs you hold while in college can benefit you later on. Employers want students that are experienced, especially those that have served as interns related to their field.
2. Get networking. Every professor, instructor and college staff member you meet is a potential ally in your quest to find work later on. Remember this: you want to respect each faculty member, knowing that one or more might provide an invaluable recommendation down the line. Get networking!
3. Visit your career center. Every college has a career center. You should visit yours and familiarize yourself with what is offered. Resume writing assistance, interview preparation and job advice are just a few of the many features of such centers. Visit your center, introduce yourself and return with regularity.
4. Write up your resume. Get started working on your resume early. You will refine it as you go, adding new lines of achievements each year. Ask your career center for help, if needed.
5. Get a LinkedIn account. Hard copy resumes are still needed, but not a few of your contacts will be online. Open a LinkedIn account and populate your profile with your resume and other interesting tidbits about yourself and what you offer employers.
6. Pay it forward. You can help the career aspirations of another student through your networking efforts. Know that as you help others and gain a reputation for being a highly effectual and cooperative networker, others will come to your aid during your time of need too.
7. Maintain your reputation. Quite easily, a comment you make online or a picture posted can come back to bite you. Own what you post and get rid of incriminating information. If you’re tagged on Facebook for something you regret, get that tagging removed.
8. Look at your career realistically. You may be a year or two away from finishing college, but there is something to consider as you look ahead: very few jobs last forever. Even if you are secure in your work, you may tire of the job and desire to move on. Keep your options open and expect change. Embrace it too.
9. Employers want dedication and brains. So, you graduated college with a 3.9 GPA? Your brains are just half of the equation — employers want to know that you have a solid work ethic and can contribute immediately to the company. Be flexible, be adventurous and never rely on your past academic success alone.
10. Know what you want. What you want out of a career is what you want. This shouldn’t be based on other people’s expectations or unrealistic goals. You’ll be spending the next 40 to 50 years working. Do what you love and the rest will take care of itself.
11. Ask for help. You aren’t in this alone. If you need help, ask for it. If someone asks you for help and you’re able to do so, then just do it.
12. Expect to make adjustments. At some point you may return to college to obtain an advanced degree or gain training in a new field. This is more common today then you might think and is something that you should keep in mind. If you still have money left in your college savings account, keep those funds handy just in case.
13. Look beyond your comfort zone. You may have grown up in Smalltown, USA or in a big city. It is easy to stay in your zone, but know that much more is out there than what you may be exposed to. Keep yourself open to new opportunities including different places to work and live.
14. Consider that promotion or job change. You may start out working for a company in one department and discover that there are other jobs available to you within the company elsewhere. Be open to making a lateral move and weigh the responsibilities that a promotion can entail. Challenge yourself, but also be true to your wants and needs.
15. Modify as you go. Your career aspirations can change. Count on it. Today’s 50-something workers got started before the digital age. Chances are the unknowable “next greatest thing” will emerge during your career. Adjust your career plans accordingly to keep pace.
Many of the skills you learn while in college can come in handy when you enter the workforce. Social interaction. Networking. Organization. Communication. By the time you finish college you will want to exude confidence in each of these areas, to demonstrate to employers that you are the ideal candidate for the job.