Published on 23 December 2019 by Kyla R.
Are you currently in college? Maybe you aren’t planning on going to any professional schooling. Do you already have a associates, bachelors, or graduate degree and are interested in what to do next? Or are you still in grade school with a set 8-4 class schedule? Whichever of these you classify as, this post is for you.
I’m currently a student at a four-year university who has changed career goals mid year. What do I know about succeeding in a career? Better yet, how am I qualified in anyway to be giving you tips? Let me tell you something… If I can go through a career change crisis and look poised doing it, so can you.
Tip One: Always be on the lookout for opportunities. When I say this, I don’t mean stand around and do your everyday schedule and just be open to opportunities when they fall into your email or someone mentions it. I mean search for them. Especially if you aren’t in an internship or don’t have a job, don’t just sit around! You could be using your time much more effectively and it will help both you and your resume in the long run.
When I was a freshman, the first thing I did was call up doctor’s offices in my area to see if they offered physician shadowing. This is one of the major criteria necessary to medical school applications. Several places didn’t respond, and typically, I would keep pestering them until they would (you’ve got to show your eagerness somehow), but I was contacted by one place in particular in about a weeks time. They mentioned they didn’t have any job opportunities and connected me with the lady in charge of student affairs. She then set me up on a list of people to email in the future. A few months later, I received an email from the Head of Human Resources at this company. They wanted to invite me in to interview for a Executive Administrative Assistant Intern role. I got lucky! I took up the opportunity and have been working here for a year ever since. I’m only now leaving to the limited room of improvement.
“Networking is an investment in your business. It takes time and when done correctly can yield great results for years to come.”– Diane Helbig
Tip Two: Network! By network, I do mean talking with the individuals around you. But I don’t only mean that. I mean online communities such as LinkedIn, WordPress, you name it! Building your network with people may seem useless now, but in a few years when you are looking for a job (or now!) finding the names to companies you didn’t know of is a lot easier. You may even become close friends with your contacts due to a shared interest or project!
I, for one, love LinkedIn. My university also uses this network named Handshake. It doesn’t seem to have as many opportunities that I like and is limited to people expecting college students. See how you compare with regular applicants! You can apply to jobs on LinkedIn, learn more about companies, and meet new people. I have grown my network an extra thirty people these past few days due to a shared interest!
Tip Three: Focus on your classes above all else. If you’re going to college, it’s likely that you’re wanting to get a degree. For some jobs, BA degrees are required and not just “suggested,” plus they give you more leeway and are an extra accomplishment onto your resume. I let my grades slip freshman year. I can tell you, it’s no fun to try to fix your earlier mistakes. Getting off on the right foot is a lot more relaxing.
Tip Four: Have fun…But not too much fun. I’ve seen my fair share of students who only party or only study. I haven’t seen many of both. You should aim to find a steady in between so that not only are you getting the most out of your professional schooling, but that you are enjoying it as well. This goes for individuals that are done with school as well. Just because you have so many responsibilities, does not mean that you don’t deserve a day off to relax. Just don’t make it so often.
“University can teach you skill and give you opportunity, but it can’t teach you sense, nor give you understanding. Sense and understanding are produced within one’s soul.”-C. Joybell C.
And lastly… Tip Five: Don’t expect too much. I feel like people go into university expecting it to automatically give you a job at the end or give you all the skills you need to be an adult. Guess what? That’s completely wrong. There are people who go straight to work after highschool, if they even go to highschool at all. They get to experience the world first-hand on their own. You? You are still or were sheltered by a school that gives you the support you need as a student. Take this opportunity to breathe and learn more about yourself.
Take the opportunities as you see them. Smile, laugh, cry. Be happy… or not. No one is judging you. But if they are, who cares? It is your life. Remember that even if the moment may feel like the end of the world, in a few minutes, it’ll all be over.