A Message to All College Students: It’s Time to Start Planning Your Career!
Your decision to make a commitment to a particular career is not something you can think of on a whim. It’s an entire process that takes a lot of exploring, contemplating, and planning. Career planning is something you should start doing as early as possible. When you’re at college, you can’t allow yourself to take random courses without a clear vision of the way they contribute towards your future.
So how exactly do you plan an entire career? Do you take a calendar and start thinking of different activities that will drive you towards a particular goal? Well, you might start doing that, but you’ll soon get bored. You’re still a college student, after all, so it’s okay to take a more relaxed approach towards the overall process. The important thing is to start planning. We’ll show you how.
Start Doing Volunteer Work
What’s your idea for the best way of spending your free time? It probably doesn’t involve working for free, does it? Well, you’ll need to shift your mindset a bit, since volunteering is one of the most important aspects of career planning.
Let’s say you like a particular profession and you would really love to direct your own career on that path. How do you know it’s the right option for you? Maybe you won’t find yourself in that working environment? You need to check, and the best way to do that is by volunteering.
Start by thinking of few possible careers you can see yourself in. Then, start exploring them by getting engaged in different volunteering activities, one by one. As soon as you start volunteering, you’ll realize how addictive it can be. You’ll love spending your time helping people and organizations. Plus, you’ll build a strong network of connections that will help you get a job after graduation.
Your potential employers will want to know how well you would fit into their company. They will be interested in the skills you possess, and value you can bring into their organization. The first step towards becoming a good candidate for a job is self-assessment. Are you aware of your own talents, skills, and value?
Take a list. Identify your personal strengths, best skills, and flaws. Be honest with yourself here. Then, start by fixing the flaws. Maybe you’re not that good in handling computers or you just hate academic writing. It’s nothing you can’t improve. Start by working on the weaknesses, and continue by enhancing the strengths. Then, you can move on to learning some new skills that will prepare you for interviews.
Take Advantage of the College Career Center
You know that little office on campus is extremely important for your future career development, but you still avoid visiting it? That’s a shame. You’re paying a lot of money for your college education, so it’s simply wrong not to use its full potential.
The first thing you can learn at the career center is how to complete a resume. That’s a skill you’ll definitely need for career success. Plus, you’ll get access to research materials and useful lectures that will make you more confident during the job hunting process. The career center also offers self-assessment tests that will make the previous tip from our guide easier to implement into practice.
The greatest benefit you’ll gain through the career center is a collection of alumni contacts. These people have already made a successful transition from college life to a successful profession. They can serve as good examples, but they can also help you get a job in future.
Make Your Education Pay Off
Each course you take is important when you view the whole picture. You think that the creative writing classes have nothing to do with your goal to become a successful businessman? You’re wrong! These so-called soft skills are extremely important in any career. Thus, you need to take those courses that have universal value.
Since you have the opportunity to choose from a versatile list of elective courses, you should always opt for the ones that will help you gain valuable knowledge and skills in terms of your career development. Most students make a serious mistake: they ask around about the easiest course and they take that one. Don’t do that! Your higher education pays off only if you’re smart in the way you build it.
People change. Sometimes you get really passionate about an idea, but then you realize it’s not what you were meant to do. You might find yourself torn between the many opportunities you have. As you gain more experience in life and you keep learning new things, you might realize that the initial career vision you had is no longer the one that suits your personality. It’s okay to change your mind.
Remember: you’re still in college, after all. It’s important to have a path and follow it, but sometimes that path puts you on a crossroad. In such case, you’ll need to listen to your intuition. What do you really, really want to do? That’s where you should direct your vision!
Maria is a writer, educator and reading enthusiast. She leads an educational portal for students, Essays.ScholarAdvisor and writes about education, blogging, writing and social media. Maria is passionate to share her own experiences, knowledge, and thoughts with others.