The transition from high school to college was a whirlwind. There was conflict, there was laughter, and there were tears (both of joy and pain). But you made it! Now the last thing you want to think about is yet another major shift to the next stage of life: your career. We can leave the majority of career launching to the upperclassmen. However, there are steps you can be taking as a college freshman to prepare for job hunting.
Here are five simple strategies to help you prepare for a career while in college:
Start Building Your Experience
For those of us who aren’t sure how to gain experience in our job field yet or how to prepare for a career while in college, visit job fairs and talk to potential employers to see what they are looking for.
- Find a booth that catches your eye. Listen to the job requirements for positions that interest you and take some notes.
- From there, you can plan to incorporate certain classes or internships into your college experience (and resume) to make sure you qualify for that dream job. Employers are always pleased to see that you will go the extra mile to conquer a task, so consider adding school projects to your resume that accurately depict your work ethic and talent!
Take Advantage of Your College Career Center
A university’s career center is one of the most important offices on campus. These centers offer career advice for college students as well as helpful resources:
- Internship and job listings. Schedule an appointment with a career counselor to see what is available in your desired field of work. Even this early in your college experience, it can be beneficial to be introduced to possible employment options. To avoid any future hassle, you can plan a semester’s coursework to qualify you for the part-time job or internship you may have in mind.
- Seminars on resume and interview skills. What good are all your acquired skills if you don’t know how to properly present them to your future employer? Learn how to impress on paper as well as in person with practice-run interviews and resume samples.
Find Great Entry-Level Jobs in Your Area
Develop Your Professional Network
Make yourself known to alumni, professors, career center staff, and professionals within your desired job field. See what they have to say about preparing for a career while in college.
- Many of the adults in your network have already completed their journey to a successful career and may be able to give tips on how to kickstart your career as a college freshman.
- A mentor such as an alumnus or professional in their field can answer career advice questions and offer shadow day opportunities where a student can spend a few hours learning what it takes to be a working member of a company.
Perfect Your Soft Skills
Soft skills are personal attributes that will make you more productive and professional in the workplace. With the development of these social skills, you can become an effective and collaborative worker that would make a great addition to any team:
- Leadership skills as well as your ability to follow others
- Problem solving
- Time management
Learn Workplace Etiquette
Next time you find yourself in a business setting, take note of the environment. How are employees engaging with customers and each other?
- Practice productive conversation by listening closely to others and asking good questions.
- Learn where phones belong in a workspace and where they do not.
- Maintain a professional appearance (helpful for interviews as well).
- Appeal to your audience. Recognizing social cues can be crucial to getting your point across in a place of business. Know when to pause and let others give input, and when to clearly voice your opinions.
When the time comes to apply for your next job, you should be ready for anything. With these five career tips for college freshman, now you can be! With the right tools, your transition to the workforce can be done with ease.
Still have questions? Visit iHire’s Career Advice library for more helpful articles from writing a resume and interview tips, to the secret to salary negotiations.