March 09, 2018

5 things you should take advantage of while you're in college to help expand your career

There is certainly one thing I wish I had done more of- I wish I had taken more advantage of ALL of the things College had to offer to help expand my career. The tools and resources that I took for granted haunted me the second I found myself without a job (a month after graduating), and no idea of how or where find the job that was going to kick-off my career.

And it wasn't that I didn't have the experience, I worked all throughout my college career so I had some experience on my resume, but somehow it all felt so little, next to all of the requirements these jobs were asking from me.

I was lost, broke and feeling like I was hitting rock-bottom.

We all know how expensive college can be, and we also know that for a moment it feels like everything is all fun and games until 4 years fly by and you're suddenly finishing finals and holding tight to that diploma. Oh yea, those four years do fly.

Next thing you know you're going nuts searching for the "perfect job" that the four years, loans debt and your diploma promised you- but there's nothing out there.

Did you know: It can take 3 to 6 months after graduating for graduates to find their first job offer.

Be aware that most of the jobs out there for recent graduates are entry-level jobs. A diploma is a requirement but is NOT the only requirement.

College might not fully prepare you for the professional world, but one thing it does: it provides resources that can help expand your career. These are the things every student should take advantage of while in College to help expand their career and better their chances at their life after College.

You should also read: 9 Things Employers Want You To Learn In College

5 Things To Take Advantage Of In College That Will Help Your Career

1. Internships

If there is one thing you should know is this- Recommendations and past experiences will get you the job you want or stop you from getting the job. Taking the time to land a good internship while you're in college/grad-school is extremely important. It's not a must, but it is an extra step ahead of the rest of those that do not have any work experience after College.

Having good recommendations from past employers will help secure the job. Employers want to hire people they can trust, a good recommendation from an internship will convince your future employer you're the person to hire.

Remember ...

 Don't just land a good internship, do an awesome job at your internship.

2. Academic Advisors/ Professors

There was one person that literally held my hand throughout my college career aside from family and friends and that was my academic advisor. I honestly feel like I would have lost my mind if I didn't have his help during those four years. He was there to not only celebrate my wins with me but also remind me why I was in school in the first place.  He helped me re-think my career path and goals whenever I felt like I needed to make a change or an adjustment.

An academic advisor is there to do just that, walk you through your four years and pull you back in line when you're letting the partying and games take over. They are there to assist you with your career goals and help you identify the first steps to make after graduation.

If you are not able to meet with your advisor as often or don't have one, I suggest taking advantage of the office hours your professors provide and obtain as much guidance as possible. It's good to take advantage of an academic advisor as well as a professor. Combining the knowledge and guidance received from both of them can put you on a great start with a great career path in hand.

TIP: Visit the professors that teach your required classes as well as your favorite classes. Also, visit the professors that run a club or organization under your department, they will provide better guidance when it comes to what classes to take and what to get involved with.

3. Career Services/ Career Center

Just as an Academic Advisor, the Career Center is there to make your college life easier. The career center is the office that hosts your College job fairs, assists you in choosing an appropriate program as well as the place where you can find your Academic Advisor. 

Things the Career Center offers;
  • Academic Advisors
  • Career Exploration
  • Help with Resume and Cover letter
  • On-Campus job listings
  • Internships 
  • Interview Prep
  • Tutors
  • On-campus events
Look around you Career Center for flyers and newsletters, as this is another way to stay up to date with any events, volunteering work opportunities, job openings and the whole school in general. 

5 things you should be taking advantage of in college to help expand your career

4. Programs/ Extra-Curricular

Believe it or not, extra-curricular activities help expand your career and can help you identify your career goals.

Extracurricular activities are everything that falls under the umbrella of clubs, sports or organizations that sparks your interest, as well as volunteering work.  These activities will help you meet people (network), participate in events, help develop skills (such as leadership, organization, etc) or just help you figure out what you want in life.

I wish I had taken the time to be more involved in the school. Between school and life, I have little time to participate in the things school had to offer. Many times I felt left out and when it came down to it, and so did my Resume.

5. Career Fairs

Career fairs provide students the ability to see the types of opportunities that are out there, both on-campus and off-campus. You will be able to learn what employers are looking for as well as able to see the options that are available to you.

When you attend a College Career Fair, you are able to not only learn about the opportunities but also network with future employers. Some will have the option of having on the spot interviewers or give you the opportunity to schedule an interview outside of the event.

These types of events do not only offer post-graduation jobs but also internships, summer jobs, as well as part-time positions.

Even if you don't secure an interview or see a position that sparks your interest at the moment, attending your college Career Fair will let you have first row seats to learn more about the current job market. What employers are looking for. The type of companies, and positions available for your interest/major and so much more.

Remember ...

College does not prepare you for the real world, but it does provide you with the tools and opportunities that every college student should take advantage of.

Don't forget to enjoy your time in College, those are in fact the best years of your life. But, stay on track and take advantage of ALL that College has to offer. At the end of the day, you're already paying for it.

Let's recap the things to take advantage of in College to help expand your career.

  1. Internships
  2.  Academic Advisors/ Professors
  3. Career Center
  4. Programs/ extracurriculars
  5. Career Fairs

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5 things every college student should take advantage of to help expand their career5 things every college student should take advantage of to help expand their career

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