Your Academic Journey
Keep Your Career in Mind
People go to college for many reasons, but most often it’s to jump-start their career. For generations, people have used college as the ticket to a better future, in terms of more money and a higher quality of life. After all, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a person with a bachelor’s degree can earn as much as a $1 million more over a lifetime than someone with just a high school diploma.
Make the most of your college years and take every advantage to prepare yourself for your future career.
- Talk to your instructors
Your professors are experts in their field. Ask them for advice on how to break into a specific industry. Get their perspective on trends and job growth areas. They might offer excellent ideas on where to find a job. Plus, establishing a positive relationship with your professors could help you later when you need a reference.
- Get advice from the campus career center
Your school will likely have an office dedicated to helping students find jobs. These are typically called career services centers or placement offices. They specialize in matching students to employers. Ask them about companies who hire from your school. Talk to them about your interests and how your skills match the job market. Ask if they have a jobs database that you can research. Don’t put this off. Meet with the career center early in your college career (and often).
- Take advantage of internships
One of the best ways to learn about a career field is through an internship. Businesses and organizations frequently pursue college interns for part-time work. Some college majors require an internship as part of their curriculum. If you can, work as an intern for at least one semester. Internships help you gain experience and build your network. Some internships are even paid.
- Join clubs on campus
Get involved. By joining student organizations or clubs, you can expand your network and meet potential future colleagues. Plus, future employers will like that you did more than just go to class.
- Research careers
There are vast online resources to learn more about careers. For example, visit CareerOneStop for employment trends by state and occupation. Also, college campuses are filled with people with diverse interests and career aspirations. Talk to them and learn more about what they do and why.
- Get involved with trade or professional associations
Joining a professional association, or its student chapter, is a great way to position yourself for future career success. These associations offer additional learning opportunities through research studies and industry best practices. They also help you network and establish contacts in your career field. Many professional associations offer student memberships, which may be discounted. Also, many colleges host guest speakers or professional groups specific to an area of study. Watch for these opportunities and sign up.
- Establish yourself online
To make the most of LinkedIn, you’ll need an up-to-date, easy-to-read profile that reflects your professional interests and education. Oftentimes your online profile is one of the first impressions you’ll make on prospective employers. Employers will look at your social media pages. Be sure your social media pages don’t include anything that could hurt your chances of landing the job you want.