How do I prepare myself for a career while I’m in college? How do I position myself to get ahead? You may be asking yourself these questions. Over the next few days, I’ll be highlighting some tips for all classes of students:
As a college Freshman, you may find yourself feeling completely lost, overwhelmed by the excitement of the freedom college allows and the newly acquired sense of responsibility. There’s the impending doom of choosing your college major (which will no doubt be changed at least once or twice) and reality that hits home when you find yourself rolling quarters for laundry. Unless you’re lucky enough to have mom do the laundry when you come home for the weekend (all good things come to an end). There are hundreds of activities, clubs, organizations, fraternities and sororities to choose from. All of this hits you in the face as soon as mom and dad drop you off, say their goodbyes and drive off into the sunset.
A common misconception: Freshman have no business attending career fairs. WRONG. Here are some things that you could be doing during your first year in college that will position you for success:
- Research – Research different industries and the opportunities each provides for a college graduate. This is a great way to better understand industries like Retail, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), and Insurance for example.
- Interview – Interview your peers and faculty advisors. Ask them how they got to where they are today and if they could share pointers with you. People love to talk about themselves – especially when they are helping someone.
- Job Shadow – You’re still a little too young (academically) to be considered for most internships, but that shouldn’t stop you. Lots of companies will allow you to “job shadow” with someone, whether it’s for a day, a week, or sometimes longer. February 2 is National Job Shadowing Day (also Groundhog Day – coincidence?). Take advantage of it and get your appointment secured!
- Resume – Just because you’re a Freshman doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a resume (or at least one started). Even if your jobs up to this point include waiting tables, tending bar, or asking “how may I help you?”, it all adds to experience. Chances are, you’ve worked on a team, displayed communication skills, and even served as a leader on a project. Use it. Experience is experience. The resume should be updated at least on a yearly basis.
Check back later this week for some helpful tips to consider as you finish your Freshman year and begin as a Sophomore. Enjoy college, have fun, and make connections!