7 Ways to Kick Start Your Career While at College ...

I know you’re going to say that there’s enough pressure on you as a student already, but bear with me because there are some very good reasons to listen the ways to kick start your career at college. The job market is a cutthroat world for graduates and non-graduates alike, so if you can get yourself ahead of the game before you leave college, that’s a good thing – right? So, because you’re a clever young lady with ambitions to succeed, here are some ways to kick start your career at college.

1. College Clubs and Societies

It’s never too late to get in on the club scene at college. Even if you are in your final year there is still value. Remember, as a newbie to the employment market you need all the help you can get from your resume and if you haven’t worked at a job, you need a demonstration of some of your skills and attributes. This is one of the ways to kick start your career at college that has benefits from all directions: you get skills to add to your resume; you meet great, like-minded people; you’ll have fun; and you might even find your passion that sends you in the direction of your career choice.

2. Give Yourself an Advantage

If you’ve a passion about a career, it’s hard to convey that passion to a future employer. You can however demonstrate your ambition for it. All experience is invaluable, however you obtain it, so if you have a definite career path in mind, work out what you can do while you are in college to give yourself an advantage over other graduates who will be chasing the same position. As well as pursuing the relevant degree, do extracurricular activities that are related. For example if you want to be a journalist, get on the college paper, write guest articles for online sites, write poetry or short stories, have a notebook where you can jot ideas down for future stories. All of this demonstrates how serious you are about your chosen path.

3. Start Crafting Your Resume Early

There is an art to writing a very good resume. While you’re at college your resume should be a living animal that you change regularly. After 3 or 4 years of studying and partying, you’re going to have to weed out the wheat from the chaff, so write your resume in year one and keep tweaking it and polishing it right up to and after graduation. Remember, everything you add to your resume has to be of value.

4. Networking

I know it’s one of those buzzwords that many people love to hate but you can’t ignore it. Look at it in a positive light and get to doing it. See it as “making potential opportunities for the future,” because you really never know how a contact made in college may help you in your future career. The thing to remember about successful networking is that it is often mutually beneficial for invested parties.

5. Build a Profile

Yes I do mean online but also offline, which I’ll come to in a second. Build a professional online profile. Keep your personal social media accounts separate. There’s nothing wrong with presenting two personas to the world while you’re still living life as a student should. And I know everyone says it, but do take care what you post online, even on your personal accounts. As to your offline profile, that’s a little trickier and really depends on your area of interest and geographical area. If there is a “community” for your area of interest, it is a good idea to be involved in it and get yourself known. This might be seminars, focus groups, think tanks, websites, workshops and the like.

6. Volunteer

This may seem like another old chestnut but the reason it is reeled out again and again is because it works. It is a way of showing commitment and a willingness to work. It teaches team working and all sorts of other skills that are transferable to the world of work. Plus it gives you another reference outside of your education community. Additionally, there’s the feel good factor on a personal level. Never underestimate the power of including volunteering on your resume.

7. Career Choice

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because you haven’t yet decided what you want to do after gradation, you can ignore the ways to kick start your career in college. All of the things mentioned here will help whichever path you eventually choose. If you coast through college thinking these things won’t matter until you decide on your career, that’s wrong and you can soon be derailed. I’m not pressuring you into deciding but do the above and also, take advantage of the employment related services offered by your school. Talk to a careers counselor – that’s what they are there for! Talk to your professors, classmates, club mates, even your dorm/housemates. They will provide ideas and valuable insight into things they think you would be good at.

One last piece of advice I have for you is not to panic. Start the process of kick starting your career in college and you’ll feel loads better just for knowing you’re doing it. You know it makes sense to do something that will make life easier in the long run – doesn’t it?