As a college student, you have many obligations and your short-term goals can easily be narrowed to finishing assignments, earning a good grade on an exam and excelling in your degree program. It is important to remember why you are going to college – to prepare for a career. Consider these three tips to prepare for your career throughout your college experience.
1. Meet with career services… A lot.
The career services department at your college likely has talented career professionals who are well connected to the local community. The career services employees at many schools are in attendance at local networking events to share the stories of the students at their college and to scope out potential career and internship opportunities.
When meeting with career services, consider completing the following tasks:
- Create career goals
- Resume review
- Cover letter development
- Mock interviewing
- Ask for a list of upcoming career fairs and networking events
The career services department at your college will also likely host workshops, career fairs and other special events that can be of benefit to you while in college. Maintaining a relationship with the career services department and regularly meeting with them should be something all college students do.
2. Beef up your resume.
Relevant experience is important when it comes to finding a job. Just because you are not yet working in your career field doesn’t mean you are unable to gain experience that can be beneficial if added to your resume.
Volunteering is a great way to not only give back to a cause that is important to you, but it can also be a way to utilize skills that you are learning as part of your degree program. You may be surprised how many volunteer opportunities that are available in your area that directly relate to what you’re going to school for.
Your instructors or other college staff members may be able to connect you with volunteer opportunities. Also check out volunteer search websites, such as VolunteerMatch, to find opportunities that match your interests.
Maximize experience with class assignments
As part of your degree program, you may complete applied or service learning projects that directly relate to the career field you are preparing for. Be sure you take as much away from these experiences as possible and include them on your resume.
Applied and service learning projects also provide an opportunity to network with professionals who you may be able to call upon in the future. Keep in contact with those who you work with at the businesses or nonprofit organizations that you collaborate with.
Complete an internship
Internships are another way to bulk up your resume prior to graduation. While some degree programs may require you to complete an internship, even if there are no requirements, seek out opportunities that relate to your career of choice. Internships can look great on your resume and some are even paid.
3. Put yourself out there.
Networking in not only for working professionals. College students should take every opportunity they have to attend networking events. Many colleges offer formal events on campus – some of which focus on specific career fields.
The college experience often lends itself to meeting new people. Take the time to truly get to know your instructors and fellow students – you never know when they will be able to assist you in your career. Stay in contact with those individuals you meet as part of volunteer or applied learning projects.
It can also be of benefit to share your career aspirations with family and friends. You may not realize how well connected the people you already know are with professionals who may be able to assist you.