It is crazy that it has been over a year now since I graduated college and entered the “real world”. From low responsibilities to working all day, there definitely is a difference between the two lifestyles. Although life could be looser in college even though there are exams to study for, there are other elements in life that must be prepared for in college.
Although the general opinion is that careers are started after college, they can also begin during the years in college. College students should begin to plan their career outlook during the typical four years of college. Before the major steps, a field and course of study needs to be determined to move forward.
As I was once a college student, there were steps that I had to take in order to advance my career. Unlike many students coming out of college, I was lucky enough to get a full time offer right after graduation. With all of that being said, here are my top three ways to build your career in college.
- Find an internship
Yes, internships are probably the most beneficial things you can do in college to get a head start on your career. Whether they are unpaid or paid, internships will earn you valuable experience that you can’t get in the classroom.
Why are you earning valuable experience? Internships allows a student to work in a real life job environment and for most internships, work on projects that cannot be done in the classroom. Another aspect on internships is that it allows students to network. Networking can be done at the company you are interviewing for or even on interviews that potential interns go on.
Although there are splits between paid and unpaid internships, anything to slap on the resume is a career booster. When choosing an internship, make sure it will be a useful one and not just a coffee runner ;).
2. Create a LinkedIn page
LinkedIn has become a top social network over the years as it primarily focuses on career growth and networking. Having a LinkedIn page for a young college student allows them to network without wasting time at in person events.
As social networking has become a thing with the internet booming, every young professional should have a LinkedIn page. Freshman through Senior year, one should be created during college. On LinkedIn, college students can share projects being done in school, internships that are being completed, and potentially meet recruiters. Think of it as having a place to openly share your resume with others.
3. Volunteer work
Volunteering is such an underrated thing that a student can do to potentially build their career during college. If you are part of a collegiate organization, there will be at least one time where you will have to volunteer for something.
Not only is volunteering good for yourself, but it is also good for building a career. Like the other two points above, having volunteer work on a resume can go a long way for someone. I have personally thrown some volunteer work on my resume and during the entry level job search, it has been asked about in each interview. Volunteering shows that you are proactively doing something for your community or whatever it may be.
Along with volunteering, it could be a low key path to networking with others. For the most part, most volunteer work doesn’t always just include young people as it is open for all ages. No matter if you are at a non profit organization or a school, there are new people to be met and potentially new opportunities that could help out career wise.
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Thinking about what your career may be can be very stressful on a college student while trying to maintain grades as well. If there are some pieces of advice from myself to a college student, please take the above steps in consideration.
These can be extremely useful as they were for me when it was time to find a real job after graduation. But the most important thing to do in college is to have fun!