Whether you are in undergrad or grad school, it is important to begin thinking ahead when it comes to your career. Many of us are still trying to figure out what kind of career we want to have and many of us will learn (later in life) that the career we start out with may not be the one we end up with. With that in mind, you should remain in a habit of always working towards your future in a way that will set you up for success regardless of the obstacles you may face. The best time to begin preparing for your career is before you even get the job!
We talked a few weeks back about the things you need once you already entered in to the workforce: how to utilize your mentor’s time, how to control your career reputation, how to get the raise you deserve and the steps to transition your career. Let’s take a step back for those who are still pursuing their degrees or trades and look at what you all can do to become a part of the workforce on solid ground.
1. Jot it Down!
By now, you have secured a major and have a general idea of what field you want to focus on. Like most goals, it is a great first step to begin writing down what you what in terms of skillset and roles. Another smart thing to do is start at the end. Write down what you would like your end goal to be; for example “I want to be the editor of a major magazine” therefore my list would include all the steps I would need to take to get there.
This list can be a researched list or “off the top of your head” list in its roughest form because it will help spark some great ideas. Whether you will be an entrepreneur or an employee, creatively thinking about your next steps is always key. Having a little “hustle” in your spirit will set you a part from the pack.
2. Work Experience
When I was in college, I had a summer internships and a work/study jobs throughout the year. It may suck but even if you are entering the workforce as an entry-level employee, hiring managers still want to see that you have some basic skills under your belt. Some of these skills include:
- Familiarity with Microsoft Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.);
- Good Communication skills;
- Good Writing skills; and
- Good Customer Service skills
Internships (unpaid or paid), on-campus jobs or board level roles in extracurricular activities will show hiring managers your dedication to preparing for your future.
You will find throughout Womeneur.com how much we value networking. Collaborating with liked mind people will provide more than business cards or contacts in your phone; it will provide you with opportunity and a greater mindset to achieve success. In many institutions, various programs provide the standard networking cocktails sessions, speeches and luncheons throughout the year; go to at least 5 during the school year and try to meet 5 new people.
Other opportunities for networking include going to office hours and getting to know your professors and Teacher’s Aid (TAs). These people are a wealth of information. Begin to create your personal executive board; these are the people you can call on when you need informal or formal career advice, direction and inspiration.
4. Research the Requirements
How many times have you said to yourself “I would love to work for that company or that person?” For me, it has been many times! If you admire a company’s mission or a person’s career path, do a little research on them. Check out their website, Facebook or LinkedIn and find out what makes them unique, what kind of candidates are they looking for, what states, cities or countries are they looked in, what jobs are available and what are the required skills needed to apply for that job.
The desire to work for a company like Nike is fun but knowing what it takes to click the “Apply” button will show that you are taking control of your career early on.
GPAs and school reputation are great things to carry with you in an interview and throughout school but remember that there are more things that will make you a well-rounded candidate. Career planningbefore you get the career can help you to counteract things like a poor job market. Use these tips to begin or continue on a journey of success.