It is an exciting time. You are about to start college!
If you’re like most students, your focus is on your classes and adjusting to college life, not necessarily your career. But that is a mistake. To be successful, you need to focus on your career from day one.
Here are the five things you should start thinking about as soon your college career begins.
1) It is normal to not know: It happens every year. A week or two after school starts, a new student nervously pops his/her head into my office. It seems everyone knows what they want to do for a career, but they don’t. Is that normal? The good news is that it is very normal. Deciding on a career is a big decision and there are plenty of college students who have no idea how they want to spend the next 50 years of their life. But don’t just stand there, follow #2 and do something about it!
2) Be proactive from day one: Meet with your academic advisor and career services office to clarify career options and to pursue opportunities that can provide some clarity as to whether a particular career is or is not for you.
This can take some time and many students come to realize that initial career objectives are not actually realistic.
3) Look for multiple internships: Internships are essential for career success. They are your opportunity to demonstrate your skills as well as test-drive your career choice. Every student needs to complete at least one,but to be truly competitive, students should complete multiple internships. Most major companies hire their summer internship class in September so talk to your career services team right away to find out how to apply.
4) Join a professional association: Most major professions have a professional association providing support, guidance, and career opportunities. Many of these associations have significantly reduced student rates. Ask your professors for recommendations as to the best professional associations and join one so you can take advantage of their resources and events.
5) Build your network: It is always best to build your professional network before you need it. Set up your LinkedIn profile, engage in professional related discussions on Twitter and LinkedIn and go to industry networking events to meet people and build your professional brand and networking capital.
Chances are that your network will be invaluable when you are out looking for that first job. Good luck!