One of the most important things you can do in college is finding ways to build your career. A career is more than likely the reason you’re there in the first place, right? It might seem challenging, especially in niche fields of interest, but there are many ways to start building your career while still in school. Here are five easy steps to get started.
Let’s go a step further with step two: consider an internship or externship. This can seem obvious, much like networking, but many colleges and schools have opportunities available to students that aren’t taken advantage of.
What is the difference? Externships tend to be shadowing industry specialists or professionals for a shorter time than an internship.
You’ll get valuable insight and networking opportunities still, just on a much smaller time constraint. If you know you can make the most of such an opportunity or have a demanding schedule to abide by, then consider giving this route a chance.
You can always try for an internship later on down the line if you want more exposure to the industry. If you’re going to take that a step further, let’s move on to option three.
Finding an internship or externship that will work with your schedule can be challenging, but there are many options out there that certainly aren’t impossible. Moreover, if you are pressed for time, you can always consider an externship instead of an internship.
This might seem like an obvious tip, but many people fail to do any networking while still in school. In this day and age, getting your name out there is easier than ever, thanks to social media and the ease of establishing an online presence.
Of course, you’re going to want to take your field of interest and end goals in mind before you begin networking. Do your homework!
Do other specialists in your field spend more time on Twitter or Facebook? Do they have their website or portfolio? Do they have customer testimonials? What about meetups, groups, local events, and sponsorships?
Let’s say that you are a marketing major and you want to do some networking. Get out there, shake some hands and schmooze! Taking these things into consideration will provide an excellent place to get started for your field of interest.
You won’t regret building your image and network straight off the cuff.
If internships and externships aren’t quite doing it for you, why not consider taking leadership training, participating in an appropriate student group, or studying abroad?
All of these options can help you expand networking contacts and be impressive things to put on your resume in lieu of any job experience.
Leadership training shows initiative and a desire to take charge. In contrast, student groups and studying abroad show that you, the professional, are serious about your career, adaptable, and have experience already in many regards.
It is always worth keeping in mind that these tasks can be very time-consuming. Learn how to manage your time to get the most out of it and avoid burning yourself out.
Carrying on, option four is more of getting yourself out there and adding valuable experience to your resume. That being, of course, volunteering! Numerous organizations and individuals out there are in desperate need of volunteers in all career fields.
Even if you cannot find one in your field, volunteer service always looks good on a resume and is an excellent opportunity to meet new people and form contacts both in and outside of your expertise. You may even find yourself with unique passions and interests in your endeavors.
Make use of your school’s postings and affiliations to find something that will work for you and use your experiences to get a running start into your career.
The last tip might seem a bit off-topic from the rest of these steps, but it is still an important one. One of the most important things you can do, actually – buff and clean your social media presence.
There’s nothing more devastating in the job search to do all of the above only for a post five years ago to haunt you when a potential employer Googles you.
Keep your online presence either separate from your professional one or curate it carefully. Utilize it to network and find more opportunities – make social media work for you in every way possible.
Building your career while in school can be challenging, but it is entirely doable! Use every ounce of time you have responsibly, take advantage of your schools’ resources, take every chance to network, and you’ll walk out looking golden to potential future employers.
Having experience or extra class activities will put you first when it comes to selection processes. Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for people with initiative, that go after their goals and don’t waste time. So, follow some of these tips and get ready to enter the job market with the right foot forward.